Dubai centre offers horticulture course for people of determination

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Dubai - The vocational training course will teach students about growing fruits and vegetables in an indoor arena, data taking, harvesting, invoicing and packaging.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 25 Jun 2021, 9:27 PM

A special needs centre for adults in Dubai is set to introduce a comprehensive vocational training programme in horticulture to promote healthy eating among people of determination, and hone their skills to take it up as a career.

The Special Needs Future Development Centre (SNF) has partnered with UAE company Organik Roots that aims to provide nutritious microgreens for the UAE community, as well as create entrepreneurial skills for people with cognitive disabilities, for this initiative.

Around 10 students from the centre will be taking part in the horticulture vocational training course that will teach them about growing fruits and vegetables in an indoor arena, data taking, harvesting, invoicing and packaging.

Safia Bari, director of the centre, said: “The SNF management, and a positive approach from the special needs’ parent community has instilled in us the required confidence to go ahead with our dream project aimed at building a sustainable and inclusive working environment for PoDs. This course will be a hands-on training at the SNF centre where microgreens will be planted in a temperature-controlled environment, with the help of UV lighting.”

“SNF along with its students have started their journey of promoting healthy eating through this programme. We aim to develop the skillset of our adults with special needs, so that we can advance vocational skills of horticulture, at the same time enhancing the possibility of developing their abilities to take this up as a career/business model,” she said.

“To achieve quality assurance, we have designed automated systems in our greenhouse that minimises the manual work from staff and enhances the quality and consistency of the greens for our customers. The innovative monitoring systems that enable timely reporting, as well as safety standards of the greenhouse, make it a perfect therapeutic environment for PoDs, which is indeed the bottomline for Organik Roots,” Bari added.

According to her, the course will also serve as a therapy for PoDs, as horticulture therapy involves the use of plants and related activities, as tools to promote healing and rehabilitate them. “The general purpose of horticultural therapy is to improve a person’s physical and mental well-being, which is what we aim to do, alongside also giving them valuable skills that can help them in their career,” she said.

During the course, Bari said candidates will be trained across different levels as per the ASDAN modules (that provide programmes and qualifications for learners with special educational needs and disabilities) after which they will be certified.

The centre already has a staff of special educators as well as therapists, including staff from vocational training unit, daily living skills unit, and social skills, who will be involved in training students for the course. “The staff will have undergone training from individuals who are experts at growing microgreens in a greenhouse,” she said.

SNF centre, which features individualised learning programmes and vocational training, with the inclusion of electronic teaching aids to develop determined young adults professionally is now open for admissions for 2021-22. Some of the other services offered by the centre, which is also the oldest centre for young adults with special needs in Dubai, include vocational and computer trainings, speech therapy, physiotherapy, work placement, extracurricular activities and ASDAN certification.

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