▶ Or­gan­i­sa­tion calls for a change in at­ti­tude and more job op­por­tu­ni­ties


A cam­paign has been launched to em­power peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties across the UAE.

Com­pa­nies are be­ing chal­lenged to change their at­ti­tude to­wards “peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion” and make them part of the work­force.

Zayed Higher Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Peo­ple of De­ter­mi­na­tion pro­vides train­ing, sup­port and so­cial ser­vices for 1,500 young Emi­ratis with spe­cial needs and learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties in Abu Dhabi.

It said the drive launched yes­ter­day is the legacy of the Spe­cial Olympics World Games in March.

As part of its cam­paign a cafe staffed by peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties will open, while a new pro­posal to be put for­ward to the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil will guar­an­tee their right to work.

ZHO chair­man Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed said the coun­try has made great strides “in mov­ing peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion to the stage of em­pow­er­ment and in­te­gra­tion with their peers in so­ci­ety, to en­sure a de­cent fu­ture and a life with full rights”.

A short film show­ing the achieve­ments of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, at the Spe­cial Olympics and in day to day life, is part of the cam­paign, which is spon­sored by CNN.

Fatma Al Jas­sim, 23, a Zayed

Univer­sity stu­dent with cere­bral palsy, ad­vises the gov­ern­ment on dis­abil­ity.

“We don’t want em­ploy­ment for the sake of em­ploy­ment but to move for­ward from that,” she said.

“We need com­pa­nies to open their minds and foster peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion as equals. We are not look­ing for spe­cial treat­ment. We are look­ing for op­por­tu­nity.

“Ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment are in­ter­linked and if peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion get the proper skill sets, they will find em­ploy­ment.”

The Bee Cafe will soon open at the Zayed Higher Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cam­pus, next to Mafraq Hos­pi­tal.

It is named af­ter ZHO’s logo – a bee – and the new cam­paign “Bee the Change”. It will train peo­ple on how to run a busi­ness and in prac­ti­cal skills.

“The pur­pose of the cam­paign is to show that the legacy of the Spe­cial Olympics con­tin­ues,” said ZHO gen­eral sec­re­tary Ab­dulla Al Hu­maidan.

“It ad­dresses im­por­tant as­pects for so­ci­ety to change and ac­cept peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion.”

His or­gan­i­sa­tion is urg­ing em­ploy­ers – par­tic­u­larly in the pri­vate sec­tor and not just gov­ern­ment – to em­ploy peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“Since the World Games, we have re­cruited 120 peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion in the pri­vate sec­tor,” Mr Al Hu­maidan said.

Of­fi­cials stressed they do not want to see com­pa­nies forced to take on peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, with a legally-im­posed quota for ex­am­ple, but hired will­ingly by em­ploy­ers.

“We are de­vel­op­ing skilled peo­ple and based on that we will al­lo­cate the right job for them,” Mr Al Hu­maidan said.

“We have a plan for the em­ploy­ment of peo­ple of de­ter­mi­na­tion which will be sub­mit­ted to the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil and will be an­nounced soon,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chair­man of the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment.

Of­fi­cials stressed they do not want to see com­pa­nies forced to take on peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties

Khush­num Bhan­dari for The Na­tional

Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed, chair­man of the Zayed Higher Or­gan­i­sa­tion, at the cam­paign launch

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