Dozens of children with disabilities received free dental healthcare in Pinang, Tangerang, in an event organized by the local branch of the Indonesian Dentists Association (PDGI) and the Indonesian Optometrists Association (Perhati).
Tangerang Mayor Wahidin Halim said on Saturday the program was part of a campaign to promote equality for children with disabilities.
“Children with special needs should not be treated differently than children without. They have the same rights and we have to treat them equally,” Wahidin said.
He donated 10 wheelchairs and pledged to pave the road leading to the SLB Yanaiz special needs school, where the program was held, to provide easy access to students.
The free health check was part of the celebration of the 18th anniversary of Tangerang municipality and the 64th anniversary of the PDGI. The PDGI also donated dental hygiene supplies to the disabled students.
Eye check-ups on the students found that a large number of them suffered from eye problems.
“We found that 50 percent of the students need prescription glasses, which we will donate,” the chairman of the local branch of Perhati, Hendarto, said.
SLB Yanaiz was built in 2008 through a donation from the Japanese government. The school caters to children who are physically impaired, mute and deaf and autistic.
Most of the students, who come from poor families, attend the school for free. For those who can afford it, the monthly tuition fee is between Rp 5,000 and Rp 10,000 each month.
Nani Istiati, the school principal, was grateful for the charity program at her school. “We hope similar programs can reach many other schools for children with disabilities.”
— JP/ Multa Fidrus