Al-Waagah raising funds to expand

The Al-Waagah Institute for the Deaf needs funds to purchase the old Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital in Petunia Street, Bridgetown.

The Al-Waagah Institute for the Deaf needs funds to purchase the old Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital as they plan to expand.

The non-profit organisation, currently based in Gleemor Road, Belgravia, has been a madressa for the deaf since 1995.

Al-Waagah is in the process of acquiring the old Sarah Fox hospital as its new home in Petunia Street, Bridgetown. The hospital closed in August 2018 (“Sarah Fox contract ends,” Athlone News, August 8, 2018).

The facility will provide for both secular and Islamic instruction, starting with a creche for both deaf and hearing children. The centre will also provide adult basic education and training classes to both deaf and hearing adults, according to Al-Waagah’s treasurer Farinaaz Samaai.

There would also be a computer lab, offering computer courses to the surrounding community, and a wellness centre, she said. A skills-development lab would offer courses in sewing, carpentry, electrical work, catering, and basic business financial management.

To date, the NPO had raised R600 000 in donations from the community to put down a deposit on the building, but it still needed R4.2million by the end of this month.

“Currently we have 85 children in the madressa, but it will increase to 200 when we start the creche. Our mission statement is to be an advocacy institute promoting the rights of the deaf and exterminating marginalisation,” Ms Samaai said.

Wiedaad Gallie, from Surrey Estate, whose sister, Madeniah Gallie, is deaf, receives electricity money, food parcels, and donations from Al-Waagah. And through Al-Waagah, her sister was able to go on Umrah in 2019.

“They have sewing classes which we all attend and they are always doing things to help the community. They do need more space, and if they have it they will be able to help more people,” she said.