Dima Foundation Newsletter 3 (2010)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DIMA Foundation – Newsletter #3 August 2010

Wed 11th August 2010

This is the third of a series of annual newsletters to thank you for your continued support and provide you with an update on what has been happening with the DIMA Foundation – a school for children with Special Needs and Learning Difficulties in Najaf, Iraq.

2010 Update

The Dima Foundation school opened in September 2007 and has continued to grow and expand steadily ever since. There are now 72 regular pupils with 6 teachers, 2 teaching assistants and 1 porter working at the school.

In November 2009 the school was registered with the UK Charity commission enabling both our charity and all UK contributors to benefit from Gift Aid allowance. We also hope that this registration will enable the Dima Foundation to develop with further sponsorship and future collaborations with other charities and schools aimed at children with special needs.

While the school was initially aimed at children with Down’s Syndrome, applications to the school have been over-whelming as the Dima Foundation is still the first and only institution aimed exclusively at the education of disabled children in Iraq. Although the school is based in Najaf, children have been enrolled from all over the country with some families moving from Baghdad and Basra in order to register their children at the school. The pupils have a range of disabilities: 21 children have Down’s Syndrome, 28 children have a range of speech, hearing and visual impairments, 9 children have cerebral palsy, 8 children have learning difficulties, and 6 children are wheelchair-users with quadriplegia.

The children are now taught in a total of 4 primary school classes, composed of 3 classes in year 1, and 1 class in year 2. All children are assessed on entry to the school and are placed in the class most suitable to their educational needs and their medical condition. This year, one of the teachers completed a speech therapy training course which has proven invaluable for those pupils with difficulties in speech.

As the students continue to progress, a new 3rd year primary school class will be opened this year with a newly appointed teacher.

The current curriculum consists mainly of reading and arithmetic, however many children have displayed particular interest and enjoyment of arts and crafts. As a result the teachers are very keen to develop this particular aspect of the school in the coming year with an investment in more equipment and a classroom dedicated to arts and crafts.


Pupil profile

As part of our annual newsletter, we aim to provide an insight into the pupils at the Dima Foundation school.

Abbas Ali Faisal

Abbas was born on 3rd January 2002 and is 8 years old and has learning difficulties. He was initially enrolled in a state primary school where he unfortunately had problems integrating with the other children. He was transferred to the Dima Foundation school 2 years ago and has been given dedicated teaching in speech. His speech is now improving steadily and he graduated from the first to second school year this term.

Ali Shoom Dirhaim

Ali was born on 18th August 1998 and is 12 years old. He was born with neurological impairment resulting in paralysis of his lower limbs. He is wheelchair-bound and also has severe weakness of his upper limbs. When he joined the Dima Foundation school his health was extremely poor and he was unable to read or write. He has since received specialist medical care provided by the visiting school doctor and his condition has improved greatly. He can now read and write and has never missed a day of school. This year he successfully graduated from the first to second primary school year.

Regular contributors

We appreciate all your support and would like to thank all those who continue to contribute to the Dima Foundation especially our fellow trustees and contributors Ferrie Al-Chalabi and Scott Darling, and our regular contributors, Wissal and Kadem Al-Lamee, Reham Al-Mausawe, Steve and Alice Catling, Dan and Kate Childs, Benjamin Fenby, Shamce Hassan, Harry and Marion Ludgate, and Aisha Khan. We would also like to thank Dr. Faisal Motashar and the student members of the Islamic Society at The Grammar School at Leeds for their regular fund-raising activities and contributions to our charity.

Local and Regional Sponsorship

Kufa University in Iraq continues to support the school with both training for the teachers and financial investment.


Our website continues to be regularly updated with new information and photos at :


Second-hand toy and book contributions

The teachers at the school are extremely keen to improve the quality and number of toys and books at the school. We are therefore planning to send a shipment of used books and toys to the school in the coming year and would very much appreciate your help with this project. If you have any used but good quality children’s toys and books that you are willing to donate, please contact us at:


Upcoming Events

For the most up to date information on ways to get involved with the DIMA Foundation, log onto the website:


As always, many thanks for all your support to date and we look forward to letting you know all the continued news of future progress and developments of the DIMA Foundation in the coming years.

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