Making a difference to the differently-abled - GulfToday

Making a difference to the differently-abled


The UAE has nearly 20 developmental achievements that support and empower people of determination. WAM

Those who can move or walk normally, who have all their limbs intact, do not know how blessed they are. Only those who are physically challenged or differently-abled know the anguish, the pain, the discomfort they feel every time they try to make a move. And this is every day. Being on a wheelchair or crutches due to some strange quirk of fate – whether in an accident or an explosion – can be a nightmarish experience.

Those living in conflict zones, who have suffered a damaged or broken limb as they were caught in the crossfire, literally, are particularly affected. Every movement entails a lot of effort, vexing not just the person with disability but also on those attending on him.

However, it is the treatment of the differently-abled in some countries that is worrying. In Japan, people with disabilities, especially cognitive impairments, can still suffer from stigma and – unlike in many advanced Western countries – their families share the shame.

Thousands of people with a host of disabilities are locked away in Zimbabwe, both in homes and institutions, due to widespread fears they bring bad luck or practise witchcraft, says one report.  According to a report in a national newsmagazine, India has over 26 million differently-abled citizens. This segment of the population has struggled for suitable infrastructure, care and support from the government and society even when things were normal, so one can only imagine the problems they must be facing due to the pandemic.

Congo is home to millions of people with disabilities. Many of them face human rights abuses and discrimination, often limiting their access to education and employment.

In this respect, the UAE is miles ahead. The UAE observed the International Day of People with Disabilities, IDPD, on December 3.

The theme this year is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”.

The UAE has nearly 20 developmental achievements that support and empower people of determination, as part of the nation’s commitment to adopting Article No. 11 (situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities, CRPD. The UAE’s leadership and government have protected and empowered people of determination, including from the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic. The country provides them with health, education and food services, as well as for their other needs, and prioritises them in terms of services and health, such as enabling them to perform home medical tests and offering remote education and assessment services. The number of people of determination in the UAE totals 25,590, including 14,262 citizens and 11,328 residents.

The ministry’s 20 achievements this year include the launch of a remote learning and rehabilitation system in public and private centres and the adoption of the “People of Determination Education Plan Platform” that benefited 765 students, which is an e-platform aimed at drafting individual educational goals for students at people of determination centres.

The ministry also launched a series of initiatives during the past period, such as: “Thank you our Frontline Defenders” and “My Family with Me” smart application.

The ministry has provided psychological, social and rehabilitation support to the people of determination remotely and supporting initiatives and guidelines that strengthen and support the efforts of teachers and parents in distance rehabilitation remotely such as the “Home Schooling Guide for people with intellectual disabilities and autism”, the “Remote Intervention Guide for Children with disabilities and Developmental Delays in Early Childhood Stages”, in addition to an integrated programme for parents. It has supported the people of determination mentally through “Mashagel” project for rehabilitation and remote employment. The people of determination also achieved a new innovation “mask holder”.

It’s this care and concern for the differently-abled that puts the UAE on a lofty pedestal.

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