THE task of giving space and opportunity for children with special needs to get religious education should involve the whole community.
And that was exactly the thought behind the Jom Dhuha! Perdana Anak Autisme programme that was organised by the Foundation of Quranic Education for Special Needs Children (also known as Faqeh Foundation) together with Akademi Remaja Islam Autisma (ARISMA) recently.
Held in conjunction with the National Autism Awareness Month, the programme saw student volunteers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, International Islamic University Malaysia and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) come together at the Al-Ridhuan Mosque in Hulu Kelang, Selangor to help ignite spiritual awareness among children with autism aged between five to 15. Led by USIM’s Friends of Faqeh group, they implemented a specially tailored religious education module called Jom Dhuha!.
In the programme, which was funded by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), the volunteers helped the special needs children with performing ablution and prayer, and recitation of zikir and doa. The kids were also exposed to left brain-right brain stimulation exercises that accompanied the chanting of the zikir.
USIM’s Friends of Faqeh chairman Muhammad Faqirrul Mohd Zailan viewed such programmes as giving an extra boost to the self-development and character of undergraduates who took part.
“Volunteerism like this can enhance the value of humanity and help us to learn to contribute to the community more, especially to people with disabilities,” he said.
MAIS human development manager Mohd Romzi Abdullah Sani, commended the programme spearheaded by the Muslim NGOs.
“The cooperation among NGOs from various backgrounds will be able to enhance the understanding of the issues that plague people with disabilities. This will lead to more efforts put in to give people with special needs the chance to take part in religious education,” he said in his keynote address at the opening of the programme.