COMPANIES TOLD TO WORK BETTER WITH THE DISABLED
▶ 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
Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed, chairman of the Zayed Higher Organisation, at the campaign launch