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Helping The Mentally Challenged Children Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 5361 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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In 1971 Mr. Imdad Siddiqui envisioned the creation of a school with the sole purpose of helping the mentally challenged children and helping them fit in along with the rest of the world. He envisioned a future where normal and special children will work together and help build a future which is made for all with countless opportunities and blessings coming all the way even for the special children. His vision to create a school for these children stem from his desire to see them move on and succeed in the world like everyone else and he worked tirelessly for the achievement of such purpose. Through hard work and dedication he was able to build this school from scratch and it has been more than 40 years since the school’s inception and little by little the school has benefited these children and helped them stand on their own feet and become independent. Though not all have been able to move on in life but there have been many who now hold their own jobs and earn a living for themselves and they always come back and thank this school for it helped them do what their parents could not.

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At a time when there were no Departments at the Government level for Special persons (set up in 1985) and no visible efforts for the recognition of disabled population, the Markaz was set up as a special initiative at Karimabad where it still stands today and where there are still very few or no schools for special children. Its founder, Mr. Imdad Siddiqui, began this noble endeavour with strength of only 5 students. To date, Markaz-e-Umeed has helped more than 10,000 poor, innocent Special Students get Special education & training over the past 40 years. They believe their prized asset is the pool of Markaz supported Special students who are today trained and live a near normal life without becoming a burden on their families and on the country.

Mr. Zeeshan Siddiqui, the current Director of Markaz-e-Umeed, is now carrying on work of his father by providing improved facilities to the currently enrolled children in the school by committing to creating an ambiance for nurturing innovation, creativity and excellence in the students by supporting interdisciplinary research and development for the benefit of society. For this purpose, they have employed dedicated and committed staff members who provide their services out of the need to help these special children thrive in their academic and as well as professional lives.

They are striving to provide free hospital based facilities regardless of the children’s ability or disability. They have created a powerful and important paradigm to help empower the children in their daily lives. Today the school caters to the needs of over 140 special children, those who suffer mental and physical disabilities.

2011 brought unique accomplishments to Markaz-e-Umeed providing a set of new opportunities and possibilities for the teachers and students alike, motivating the team to move forward with renewed pace and energy. Their basic purpose is to maximize awareness about the students’ dignity and wellbeing in the society.

Mission Statement

Markaz’s mission is to guarantee the dignity of the people with developmental disabilities and to promote their personal achievements based on their dreams, desires and abilities.

Vision Statement

Markaz’s vision is to empower persons with developmental disabilities to exercise greater control of their lives, change community systems to ensure greater integration into the community, and provide person-directed supports to enable them to live in the least restrictive and most integrated environments possible.

Campus Facilities

Their core facility is quality education which is free of cost for special children. The environment within the campus is peaceful and calm which ensures that these children are not aroused negatively. With spacious lawn filled with greenery, there are swings and different props that help the children take part in activities like hurdle race and musical race. Within the classroom are attractive paintings and comfortable chairs with teachers who pay attention to the needs of all the children individually providing them the proper guidance needed to acquire skills necessary to succeed in their life.

Good transportation facilities are provided all around the year to teacher and students which is free of cost. The drivers are committed and passionate about their work and drop the children safely at their home.

Markaz-e-Umeed recently renovated its large hall with additional facilities such as state of the art computers, multimedia and spacious cupboards to facilitate management personnel and help their team in organizing presentations and seminars for corporate guests and visitors hence creating awareness and making a profound impact which result in increased donations. Also, independent work stations have been set up for marketing and HR team and separate room adjacent to the hall have been refurbished to facilitate management personnel to supervise campaign activities. This block has been reconstructed in such a way that all steps of campaign from their beginning to implementation and completion will be fulfilled in an organized manner.

Current Status

Markaz is a Registered and Tax exempted organization.

Donations & Fundings

Donors have been supporting the education expenses and awareness efforts for Markaz’s Mission. All Donations received are from private sector and individual donors and utilized solely for special children’s education. However, the frequency of donations is not consistent.

The most prominent donors are the following:

English Biscuit Manufacturers (Pvt.) Ltd.

National Investment Trust

Engro Vopak Terminal Ltd.

Soneri Bank Ltd.

Pakistan State oil.

Rests of the donors are listed in the table below:


Donor’s Name

Supporting Areas


Adamjee Foundation



Agriauto Industries Ltd



Ahmed Jaffer & Co (Pvt.) Ltd



Arif Habib Investment Ltd



Asian Energy Venture



Bank Alfalah Ltd



EFU General Insurance Ltd



EFU Life Assuance Ltd



ENI Pakistan Ltd



First Capital Equities



Freedom Enterprise



General Tyre and Rubber Co Of Pakistan



GSK Pakistan Ltd



Golden food Industries



Hamdard lab Waqf Pakistan



Hilton Pharma Pvt Ltd



Hommie and Jamshed Nusserwanjee Chraitable Trust



Hospital Supply Corporation



Human Resource Solution International



IGI Insurance Ltd



Jaffer Brothers Pvt Ltd



Japan metal Industries



Lucky Traders



Mukhtar Chemicals



Nelson Paints



Pakistan Beverages ltd



Pakistan International Container terminal



Pakistan Pharmaceutical products Pvt Ltd



Paradise International Pvt Ltd



Quadri Brothers



Raaziq International Pvt Ltd



Rehman Industried Pvt Ltd



Ranyal Textiles



Siddiqson Tin Plate Ltd



Swift Travels Pvt Ltd



Technology Links



Thal Engineering



UBL Funds Managers



Waterlink Pakistan Pvt Ltd



Zain Enterprises



Muller & Phipps Pakistan Ltd/ Cow & Gate



Ali Gohar & Co. Ltd



Mr. Byram D. Avari (Chairman – Avari Group)



Mr. Sharahbeel – Centre Stage Productions


Size of Operations

Since its inception Markaz-e-Umeed has been operating as a single Unit in its locality. The main focus has been mostly on the quality of work. Number of beneficiaries comprises of teachers, assistants, students and menial staff (ref: attached financial statements). Markaz has a number of projects under consideration and currently awaits support from donors to realize future projects.

Markaz’s Services

Free education including textbooks and uniforms for students

Free transportation for all students to and from Markaz-e-Umeed

Training and development for deserving students

Health and nutritional support for all students

Detailed guidance and counseling for parents

Interaction with other NGOs for increased awareness, information enhancement and understanding to further promote children and individuals with special needs.

Regular awareness and fundraising campaigns to promote Markaz’s cause.

Past Achievements & Activities

Two Students participated in Special Olympics in 1991 in Minnesota, USA and both won gold medals in athletics event.

Several Teachers & Parents Training Programs organized over the past 40 Years.

Setup Vocational Training Centre in 1971. Markaz has organized various skill development activities special needs students such as candlemaking, gardening, shoemaking etc.

Various awareness raising campaigns sponsored by corporate organizations successfully executed with significant results such as:

Children Helping Children: approached 100 schools asking school children to donate in cash or kind for their special needs friends at Markaz. The Campaign was sponsored by ENGROVOPAK Terminal Ltd.

I Own Children: A similar activity organized to raise awareness about special needs children and individuals, how social attitudes effect them and their importance in society.

Essay & Arts Competition 2010: Essay & Arts Competition 2010, an awareness campaign for young students at different schools reaching 200,000 children and their families with our awareness message. The theme for this initiative was based on ‘disability is not inability’. In response 25,000 art entries received at Markaz through the participation of 250 schools, an overwhelming achievement in bringing Markaz-e-Umeed to a more visible level among the masses. Markaz-e-Umeed received a great deal of acknowledgment for this activity from the education sector throughout Karachi.

Disability Awareness Exhibitions:

World Disability Day: Markaz organized first of it’s kind exhibition on 3rd December, 2010 showcasing the above mentioned collection of 25,000 art entries at Expo center to commemorate the special day for people around the world suffering from mental or physical disabilities.

Umeed Ke Rang: a mega scale disability awareness exhibition held on April 27th, 2011 at the same venue showcasing 25,000 art entries. This unique effort has earned Markaz phenomenal acknowledgment and appreciation from corporate sector, educational sector and general public.

Present Activities

1 year on campus job training for talented students. Afterwards referred to other suitable places for employment. 16 special children (6 girls and 10 boys) from the school have been supported through this training and employment help program.

On-going campaigns and co-ordination with Donor segment to further strengthen sustainability for the Markaz’s services along with necessary resources.

Events to create special awareness to continue raising the level of understanding and enlightening the people about the rights and importance of special needs children.

To acknowledge social activism in Pakistan an event namely Social Expo 2012 was organized at Expo Center, Karachi on March 3rd 2012. The aim of the event was to bring prominent NGOs and Institutions and providing them a platform to showcase their cause and on the spot services and information about themselves with a synergized mission to support an overall positive image of Pakistan as a socially progressing nation.

A special Guinness world record was also launched amidst Social Expo 2012 to commemorate 23rd March 2012 to serve as a unique activity bringing together people from all walks of life.

Children’s Achievements

Waseem Baari

With eyes full of hope, Waseem Baari, came to Markaz-e-Umeed and graduated 2 years ago.

Sport Events and Physical Activities

It has always been the aim of Markaz-e-umeed to provide an environment to the disabled children where they can bring their creative side forward. These children are not like normal children intellectually, however, they are highly creative and talented in Arts, music and sports. The well trained teachers at Markaz-e-umeed try to focus on the unique abilities and talents of the students and let them do what they are good at. The teachers move them towards their own area of interest and keep on motivating them so that they do not grow tired of it. Sports and games are generally liked by all the children as it helps the children to remain active and healthy by participating in football, hurdle race, musical chair, basket ball etc. they are also encouraged to take part in hand and eye coordination activities such as basket ball, aiming the target etc. when we visited Markaz-e-umeed, we played various games with the students such as hurdle race and musical chairs and found them highly enthusiastic and participative. They enjoyed the physical activities and were very sharp in observation. They also took part in “Olympics”. Two Students participated in Special Olympics in 1991 in Minnesota, USA and both won gold medals in athletics event. This shows that the children of Markaz-e-umeed shine in every field and this is mainly due to the efforts of the great team of Markaz-e-umeed. Following are some of the social activities and events that Markaz-e-umeed had organized or taken part in:

1. I Own Children: A similar activity organized to raise awareness about special needs children and individuals, how social attitudes effect them and their importance in society.

2. ‘Children helping Children’ campaign:

The purpose of this activity was to instill among children from normal schools the importance of those who do not enjoy the same opportunities of life. Markaz-e-umeed approached 100 schools asking school children to donate in cash or kind for their special needs friends at Markaz. Through this motion we were able to raise a profound level of consciousness among normal children thus linking them with children having special needs. In response many students from privileged schools contributed for Markaz’s cause and visited our special needs children. Art competition and essay writing competitions based on the theme ‘Disability is not inability’ and ‘Special and normal children are alike, were held and the exhibition of the paintings was organized in Expo center. A prize distribution ceremony was also held to award the winners. This activity was aimed at creating social awareness among the normal children about disability and how they can make a positive contribution towards the disable children. They projected their views through their drawings and motivational essays. The normal children did various activities for the disabled children. Many well known schools participated in the event and activities. The campaign was sponsored by Engrovopak Terminal Ltd.

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3. Moulin Rouge, Bombay Dreams and now Tom, Dick & Harry:

Theatre plays organized at arts council in April 2010, January 2011 and currently January 2012 in collaboration with Shah Sharahbeel, the renowned director of Moulin Rouge, Bombay Dreams and Tom, Dick and Harry. Markaz has maintained its association with theatrical plays of Center Stage Productions. This great support from Mr. Sharahbeel is helping Markaz spread more and more about it’s mission to diverse audiences. Center Stage Productions gave Markaz a great opportunity to present and promote it’s cause on the same platform to a diverse audience. Children of Markaz gave special performances for the audience as well which have been appreciated very much. The children of Markaz were given a chance to showcase their talent and creativity in Arts, music and physical activities. The children amazed the audience with their unique abilities and kept them entertained by their performances between the plays. This opportunity greatly benefited Markaz in reaching all corners of Karachi and connecting with great supporters and friends.

4. Essay & Arts Competition 2010:

It is an awareness campaign for young students at different schools reaching 200,000 children and their families with the awareness message. The theme for this initiative was based on ‘disability is not inability’. In response 25,000 art entries received at Markaz through the participation of 250 schools, an overwhelming achievement in bringing Markaz-e-Umeed to a more visible level among the masses. Markaz-e-Umeed received a great deal of acknowledgment for this activity from the education sector throughout Karachi.

A massive promotional campaign, whose main purpose was to reach out to normal children, and measure their understanding about those who suffer from disabilities and do not enjoy the opportunities available to normal kids. This initiative was well liked by Cow & Gate and eventually sponsored by the brand. Students from all academic categories participated with great Spirit and enthusiasm by means of creating the most innovative and eye-catching artwork as well as expressive essays. Markaz has awarded certificates to all participants from Karachi schools.

Markaz-e-umeed aims at bringing out the creative side of the children. They firmly believe in the maxim “Disability is not inability”. These children are not intellectually adept but they are very talented and creative. Therefore, the teachers at Markaz-e-umeed concentrate on enhancing and developing creativity and the ability to use their senses to the optimum level. They divert them towards areas where they are interested and can do well such as Arts and music. They are also encouraged to write and read. The mentors have to make sure that the children remain focused and interested in whatever they do as these children tend to lose interest quickly.


Markaz organized first of its kind exhibition on 3rd December, 2010 showcasing the above mentioned collection of 25,000 art entries at Expo center to commemorate the special day for people around the world suffering from mental or physical disabilities.

Now for the 2nd time, World Disability Day was celebrated at Markaz-e-Umeed on December 3, 2012.

The event was open for everyone. Different schools took part in the cause, which includes Cather High School, Urdu University and etc.

The event started off at 10 a.m. with the recitation of Holy Quran followed by welcome speech by student of Charter High School. The speech emphasized on why people think disability is a curse. He advised the physically-challenged to resist being objects of pity.

Children of play group with the help of their teachers sang national anthem and national songs like ‘Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan’ and ‘Jazba Junoon’ .All the disabled children along with their parents sat quietly on their respective seats. Their faces were painted with green and white Pakistani flag which showed their patriotism towards their country.

“It took almost three months to make them learn dance steps, many of them have the ability to pick up things really fast but they cannot retain that for a very long time”, said a teacher at Markaz-e-Umeed.”But I am happy the way all children performed today in front of 200 people, all they work hard of three months paid off, “she added further excitedly.

All the disabled children clapped and laughed when their fellow students performed on a song ‘Thori si lift karado’ .Their faces were filled with joy when their teachers asked them to dance along.

“It is so nice to see when the youth willfully volunteer to help children who are mentally and physically challenged. But approximately 20% of our younger generation think about disabled people it is our responsibility to help them as they are a part of our society we should not make them feel alienated from this society”, said Darakshan from the audience.

The event ended with round of applause by the audience who thoroughly enjoyed the performances presented by the disabled children.


A mega scale disability awareness exhibition held on April 27th, 2011 at the expo center showcasing 25,000 art entries collected through the above mentioned competition. The event was sponsored by Cow n Gate. Many schools participated such as The City School (All Karachi campuses), Educators (All Karachi Campuses), Falcon house Grammar School ( Campus I till IX) , Karachi Public School, Gulistan S.A. L. School, Happy Home School (O Levels & main campus), Metropolitan Academy (All campuses), Nasra school (Korangi & Malir Campuses). This unique effort has earned Markaz phenomenal acknowledgment and appreciation from corporate sector, educational sector and general public.

7. Including the Excluded: An exclusive seminar on the dignity, rights and welfare of special needs persons, including children. The event was sponsored by Avari group Chairman at Beach Luxury Hotel. The aim was to create awareness among the normal people about the rights of the special people and make the normal people realize that it is their primary duty and obligation to ensure that the rights of the special people are safeguarded and they should be allowed to come at par with the normal people as they are a very important part of our society.

8. Youth impact

Another mega event by Markaz-e-umeed on 18th July 2012 at the expo center. This event was organized to create social awareness among the youth and their duty towards humanity. The event had the following objectives:

I. FUN FOR EVERYONE: How often do you get the chance to set a world record?

II. MAKE AN IMPACT: Every rupees raised through sponsorship efforts will go towards impacting vulnerable young special children of Markaz-e-umeed.

c. BUILD COMMUNITY: World record attempt will spread a positive message to the world about Pakistan; belief that the youth of our communities are difference makers.

9. Social Expo:

Social expo, one of the biggest events held in the expo center on march 23, 2012, was a major success. Youth groups from various universities participated in it. These youth groups included “Salvation”, “Impossible”, “Karachi Youth Forum”, “United Youth Forum” etc. The social expo was organized for the youth groups to set up their stalls and activities for the disabled people. The children enjoyed themselves and took part in various activities. Social expo, through the help of the youth groups, provided a platform to the disabled children to showcase their talents and creativity to a larger audience and also created awareness among people that “Disability is not Inability”.

9. Youth War

Markaz-E-Umeed for Special Needs Children is organizing Youth War with Salvation from 17th to 20th December from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm with a fun filled and informative training session with Mehran Khan Durrani (MKD), motivational speaker and trainer from School of Leadership (SOL). This event will provide an amazing opportunity to get sponsored in an exciting experiential learning event “Youth War” initiative FNA (Faithful National Agenda) which will assist in acquiring training & leadership including activities and games via workshop facilitated by Salvation, and then implement that training to serve humanity.

This is an Event by Markaz-e-umeed which includes motivational training and then implementing it to serve special natives, further provides networking, learning, exposure, sports i.e.; cricket/football,/basketball /minute to win games etc and a lot of fun.

Program includes certification on the fulfillment of the tasks, Value of the certificate will help an individual for serving purpose, employment specially in NGO sectors and trainings in future.

Brief program design:

1st day consists of Motivational/leadership and team building experiential learning training.

2nd and 3rd day based on implementing the training skills

4th day is regarding certifications, appreciations and gifts.

Sports event Youth War at Markaz e umeed, is a healthy and productive academic session for children. Youth War will bring special needs children and different youth groups in head to head competition to eradicate difference based on Disability and finding new way for celebrating abilities. Youth has the strength to change the perception of the people. Youth has the ability to come forward and contribute for the welfare of the disabled and mentally challenged people. the training sessions in Youth War aims at providing the opportunity to the youth to help the disabled children as they are an important part of the society.

Other events and activities


Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world, regardless of who they are and where they are. World Humanitarian Day is a global celebration of people helping people.

“I Was Here” campaign- This year’s campaign “I Was Here” is about making your mark by doing something good, somewhere, for someone else


Mother’s day celebrated at Markaz-e-umeed to tribute to all the mothers who have special kids and the challenge for them to groom them up.

Staff of Markaz-e-Umeed

The teachers and support staff at The Markaz-e-Umeed are a very dedicated and a multi-faceted team which work very dedicatedly to help empower each and every child to succeed. The teachers at markaz- e- umeed are highly trained and have a background in special education. Their current teaching team has worked cohesively at Markaz for a number of years and is skilled at placing students in the appropriate classes to realize the full potential of both the child and the class. In addition, their team is knowledgeable in choosing outside activities and programs to complement the academic curriculum. Professional resource references for children with learning disabilities are also made available to families of Markaz students through the expertise of their staff.

Umeed Research & Training Centre

The foundation stone of Umeed Research & Training Center was laid down by Ex. Governor Fakharuddin G. Ibrahim in the year 1991 and since then this centre has been performing its duties. Various researches have been made in the centre regarding new teaching methodologies and how to provide training to the mentally retarded children as their needs are much different from those of a normal child.

Most of the students who come in markaz-e-umeed are mentally retarded they are physically old but their minds are yet that of a 5-6 year old child so therefore they have huge difficulty in understanding academic education so the faculty focuses more on arts and creative education but if the see that a child is being able to perform in academics then they help them in providing higher academic education, they also provide information to their parents & guardians. They are still continuing to find new and better ways to help them in improving their students lives and in providing hope to their families, they also provide guidance to those children parents who are not admitted in markaz-e-umeed.

Their Facebook page has been recently launched through which they are able to communicate with other Special needs organizations & Schools all over the world, this is helping them in improving themselves through interaction with others and finding different teaching methods.

The Curriculum of the MR children

The MR children do not like an atmosphere where they feel pressure. Atmosphere should be made according to the mental level of the children and taking into consideration the level of their understanding, the curriculum has been formed in such a way that these children should not be a burden on others. Hence the Curriculum is designed in such a way that it can be changed whenever required according to the ability of the child.

Training Methodologies

Training provided to the children at Markaz-e-Umeed:

Speech & Language Therapy

Speech Therapy’s basic focus is on the receptive language, or in understanding the words spoken to you, also improving the expressive language, or the ability to use words to express yourself. It also deals with producing words, such as articulation, pitch, fluency, and volume. Speech problem is a common problem for many special children. They start talking very late and they cannot speak clearly and the person listening to them cannot understand any thing. They speak very little and only say few words from a big sentence, as they cannot utter full sentences. Special needs children are unable to store the words in their memory. The memory for storing of the words is increased through special attention, which is given to reduce the defect in their speech. Markaz-e-Umeed gives special attention to all of their students, to improve their speech pattern and language.

Behavior Therapy

Some of the special needs children have an incomplete understanding and therefore, they learn bad habits due to not getting proper or any attention from their parents. Therefore they can beat up anybody, break things and learn abuse. They are very rigid and have great anger. Such bad habits pose great problems for the family, neighbors and relatives. If they were given attention by the parent from the very beginning, they would not exhibit these habits. But the parents do not pay attention to their child due to unawareness and carelessness, but when the situation is out of control, they try to admit the child and in such a case some of the institutions for training of such children refuse their admission.

When such children are admitted in Markaz-e-Umeed such bad habits of the child are eradicated because these habits pose great problems to the training of the child. This year Markaz-e-Umeed was able to eliminated bad habits of 20 children.

Play Therapy

Games are thought of as a great source of health and this is also applicable to special needs children. Games for special needs children are as necessary as for normal children. This gives physical health, social life and mental growth. The games


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