Tripoli, 1 October:
A new school for children with Down’s Syndrome has been opened by the Libyan Red Crescent in Gharyan.
The school is the only one of its kind in the region and has received dozens of applications by parents of Down’s children in Gharyan and the surrounding area.
Songs and dances were performed by children at the opening ceremony on Saturday, which was attended by numerous local and foreign dignitaries including the deputy head of the Gharyan Local Council, the head of the council’s education department, the Belarussian ambassador and the Ukrainian chargé d’affaires.
Libyan children across the country returned to school yesterday for the start of the new academic year.
Tliga Barakat, who heads the Libyan Red Crescent in Gharyan, said that the school had received mored than 40 applications from parents of Down’s children in Gharyan alone.
The school will initially operate just one class of around 20 children, but those in charge hope to expand capacity quickly. Specialist female teachers have volunteered to work at the school across a range of disciplines including speech therapy and behavioral sciences as well as more traditional arts and sciences.
“I was very happy to be involved in this honourable mission”, Belarusian Ambassador Anatoly Stepus told the Libya Herald.
“We met with the children, their parents and several local NGOs and it was a very warm atmosphere with food and dancing”.
Neither Belarus nor Ukraine are directly involved with the school, but attended after receiving invitations from the Libyan Red Crescent.
“We have developed quite extensive experience on dealing with Down’s Syndrome in Ukraine, and we are thinking more broadly as to how we can support Libya in these kinds of areas”, said Ukrainian chargé d’affaires Andriy Marchenko. [/restrict]