RIYADH: SHARIF M. TAHA
Published — Monday 10 December 2012
Last update 15 December 2012 4:04 pm
Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Board of Trustees of the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research (PSCDR), has announced the launch of a charity endowment program aimed to provide financial support to the PSCDR to expand its activities and scientific research programs.
Prince Sultan, who was addressing a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the PSCDR, welcomed Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, and the other dignitaries who attended the celebrations Saturday night.
He expressed his heart-felt congratulations on the success of the surgical operation and recovery of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Prince Sultan recalled the PSCDR’s birth 20 years ago when he presented a “young” idea to the Crown Prince, which for some people seemed impossible to materialize at that time. However, the Crown Prince gave the idea his full enthusiasm and attention, as well as his financial support and far-sighted vision, as the idea matured to a successful reality. “Today, we are celebrating the passage of 20 years of achievements as we also honor and appreciate those who sided with us and supported the idea until it became a reality,” he pointed out.
He added that it was not easy to convince people about the importance of establishing a center for science and research for disability. Moreover, it was even more difficult to approach individuals for funding, especially since there was no similar example to follow or refer to.
However, the helping hand came from the leadership of the country, governmental institutions, the private sector, and a handful of citizens, as well as charitable organizations and banks, he said.
Prince Sultan said they believed from the very beginning in the center’s slogan, “science to benefit people” and they were therefore determined to harness the efforts of all PSCDR’s academics and researchers in the service of benefiting the disabled community and their families.
He said the PSCDR maintains a number of leading initiatives, such as the early disability detection program, which saved some 900 babies from disability. According to him, the other prominent programs servicing the disability cause include, the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Program for Advanced Research in Disability in cooperation with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC). In addition, the Simplified Access Program established in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Transport, and the Supreme Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) is another valuable initiative.
Furthermore, Prince Sultan commended a number of ministries for their role in assisting and empowering disabled people in the Saudi community, including the Ministry of Labor for establishing a program that aims to qualify disabled people to be able to assume employment opportunities. As well as the Ministry of Social Affairs for creating a program for the assessment of daytime care centers for the disabled and the Ministries of Education and Higher Education for launching a program for learning difficulties and autism.
Two other programs were recognized for their important contribution for the disability cause. One of these initiatives is the program for economic integration, which enables disabled people to own businesses. While the other is the national health and stress survey in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, KFSH&RC and King Saud University (KSU).
Prince Sultan said they were not only celebrating achievements made by the PSCDR but also the achievements of a pious nation that provided stability and peace of mind to all those who want to work for a noble cause. He said they were also honoring Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who adopted the disability cause, practically, not only theoretically.
Referring to those who generously served this cause, Prince Sultan mentioned late King Fahad bin Abdulaziz, Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz in addition to many other individuals and organizations in the public and private sector.
He said, today also marks the celebration of new initiatives, which will change the lives of disabled. The charity endowment program is amongst the most significant new initiatives as it aims to provide financial support to the PSCDR for the expansion of its activities and scientific research programs, to save children from disability and make the lives of disabled people easier.
The PSCDR has become a key research center in the world in areas related to genetic code, stem cell treatment, computer and robotics research, and bio-electronic chips.
Prince Sultan highlighted that the PSCDR set up constructive partnerships with all medical and scientific institutions in the Kingdom, including the Ministry of Health, KACST, KFSH&RC, in a bid to carry out genetic diagnosis for healthy newborn babies.
Enumerating the activities of the PSCDR, Prince Sultan said the PSCDR has so far organized three conferences in cooperation with the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) and other agencies, more than 200 events (scientific symposia and lectures) and signed more than 64 strategic deals with local, regional and international agencies.