Step inside Rashid Center for the Determined Ones in Dubai and you’ll immediately feel at home. Colorful artworks abound, children’s laughter and rhymes echo in the classrooms, and you’re given an arms-wide welcome. A sense of graciousness ensues, instilled in the staff and children by Mariam Othman Yousef, the guiding light whose integrative and empowering vision translates in every corner.
“I’m very proud of the students at the center, especially the ones with success stories who have made good progress here, and have also been offered jobs at banks and other organizations,” Mariam shares. “It gives me immense joy to see my students doing well and achieving their targets.”
What was founded as a therapy center by Mariam in 1994, has transformed into a full-fledged facility for students with special needs, one that ensures that their skills are honed with a mix of cultural, sports and environmental activities.
Mariam holds that love, compassion and patience are essential to excel in her profession. “My vision for the next five years is for the center to be equipped with the latest technology and expert staff, especially locals, who are willing to take on jobs as therapists,” she notes.
Situations such as determining the students’ progress, looking into financial matters, and admitting children on compassionate grounds are everyday-stories at the center. “The Government of Dubai has provided the special needs sector with a lot of facilities and I consider myself lucky that we’re in this part of the world, and can provide our children with the best of everything.”
Photography by Aasiya Jagadeesh