Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has funded the opening of a pottery workshop for the blind in Muscat.
The new facility at the Omar Bin Al Khattab Institute for the Blind in Al Khoudh will help students who wish to learn pottery as a career or a hobby.
External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi cut the ribbon to open the new premises at an official ceremony with guest of honour, Janab Al Sayyida Dr Sharifa bint Khalid bin Qais Al Said, one of the country’s leading disability campaigners.
He said: “I am delighted that PDO has been able to back such a worthwhile project which will open up a new world of possibilities for the blind.
“One key aim of our social investment funding is to support disadvantaged people and communities by helping them to help themselves. This new workshop will provide a fantastic opportunity for visually impaired people to have fun, learn and also make a living or forge a career in pottery if they wish.”
And Moza Al Kindi, Deputy Director of the Omar bin Khattab Institute for the Blind, said: “We thank PDO for their valuable support to open up this workshop at our premises.
“We are committed to the educational and training needs of the visually impaired and raising their economic and social status by integrating them within mainstream society.
“This workshop will enable blind people to learn a new skill which they can use to generate a new income – or just enjoy for its own sake.”
PDO will work with the Institute to provide sales and marketing support so that those making pottery items can sell them to the public.
The Company has long been supportive of the blind in Oman. In 2007, it funded a fully equipped computer laboratory also at the Institute, which serves the educational needs of all of Oman’s blind people. The project included the installation of the most up-to-date hardware and software, such as text-to-speech technology displaying Arabic text in Braille, Braille printers and other tools which allow access to, and the exchange of, computerised information by the blind.
In 2013, PDO also donated 10 Braille Sense Notetakers to students, who graduated from the Institute to Sultan Qaboos University. The computerised devices, which are equipped with Braille keyboards, sound recorders and Internet access, help users both in their studies and leisure activities.
PDO has also partnered with Al Noor Association for the Blind, paying for buses to transport its members to meetings and social functions. It also offers support to the association through its Baader staff volunteering initiative, which allows employees to devote their time and expertise to non-governmental organisations and charities.