- Pakistani woman, Faiza Abdulaziz is making a significant impact in Saudi Arabia by establishing the Independent Learning Center (ILC) in Jeddah.
- Dedicated to aiding special needs children, the non-profit ILC offers programs for various conditions in multiple languages.
- Faiza recognises the struggles of Pakistani expatriates and established the center in 2013, offering therapies and training. She has expanded her services in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, promoting women’s empowerment and educating families about available health benefits and insurance coverage.
A remarkable Pakistani woman is on a mission to transform the lives of special children in Saudi Arabia. Faiza Abdulaziz is an expat, originally from Karachi and has founded the Independent Learning Center (ILC) in Jeddah.
The facility is designed to empower individuals with special abilities, enabling them to independently navigate their way through societal communications.
The non-profit entity was established by Faiza in order to help those children with special needs and accommodates children from the local and diaspora communities. The center offers various programs that deal in hyperactive children, autism and development delays. These programs are offered in English, Urdu and Arabic.
Pakistani Woman Faiza Abdul Aziz is a Miracle Worker for Expats in Saudi
Faiza Abdulaziz has been living in Saudi Arabia since the 1970’s and is no stranger to the difficulties faced by Pakistanis living in Saudia away from their home country without any familial support. Faiza began working in the field in 2007 and also underwent training in order to engage with the specially abled children.
Being an expat herself, Faiza received numerous requests from many expatriate families, predominantly Pakistani laborers. They were facing immense difficulties in catering to their special needs children and were unable to fulfil their requirements in Saudi local facilities. Their problems were mainly due to expensive doctor fees, language obstacles, communication barriers and a poor standard of living.
Keeping this in mind, Faiza decided to do something that would benefit the Pakistani labor class that was away from the homeland. In 2010, she began by providing private evening training sessions at a very nominal rate of upto 300 Saudi Riyal per month.
“In 2013, recognizing the need for different therapies for these children and training for their parents to make changes at home, I started an Independent Learning Center.”
Faiza’s centre currently has 42 registered children and she is hoping to expand her setup in the near future. After Saudi’s Vision 2030 was created, Faiza was able to receive her own license and gain control of her institution entirely. She believes Saudi’s introduction of the Vision 2030 has led to women empowerment in the Kingdom and increased opportunities for women in the country.
Apart from providing various therapies for the children enrolled in her centre, Faiza and her team also create awareness about different health benefits available to expats in the country.
“One significant advancement is that since 2019, due to government policies, insurance companies in the kingdom now cover some therapies and autism-related expenses, but many families are unaware of these benefits, so we educate them about their insurance coverage to alleviate payment concerns.”
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