Sharjah’s move for differently-abled emulative - GulfToday

Sharjah’s move for differently-abled emulative


Sharjah Ladies Club has launched a new ‘Beach Floating Wheelchair’ service for elderly women and women with disabilities. (Image: Supplied))

Few countries really take proper care of the differently-abled and the elderly. One report published two years ago says 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.

In countries such as Japan, the differently-abled are looked upon as a social stigma. Five years ago, 19 people with disabilities were stabbed to death in their sleep in that country.

Thankfully, the UAE has no such issues. In fact, it is a sparkling beacon of trendsetting service for those with disabilities. The world should emulate its example.

In a new manifestation of this caring attitude, Sharjah Ladies Club has launched a new ‘Beach Floating Wheelchair’ service for elderly women and women with disabilities. A first of its kind in the emirate specifically catering for women, the service is set to accommodate members’ needs. Offering a floating wheelchair enables easy beach access and ensures a safe swimming experience in a private environment.

The Club’s beach has been kitted out with special ramps to ease movement to the beach. To maintain the safety of the targeted group, the service will include all necessary precautions needed, while caretakers are required to be present at all times.

It is all part of the intrinsic ethic of the country which toplines inclusivity, while also creating a safe and supportive environment for all women.

Director-General Khawla Al Serkal said: “Our unwavering position as a safe environment for our members underpins all the work that we do at Sharjah Ladies Club. By creating an environment that encourages diversity and inclusion, we hope to offer the elderly and women with disabilities the support they need at all our facilities.”

There has been an ongoing collaboration between Sharjah Ladies Club and various organisations that have supported the campaign. These have included entities such as Al Hamriya Municipality, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Dubai Community Development, Mothers of People of Determination Association “Hemmah”, the Sharjah Age-Friendly City, and the Sharjah Social Services Department.

This move must be warming the cockles of their hearts. If there is one thing the differently-abled face in some countries it is sheer apathy and neglect from carers. This is not the case here. The people who look after those with disabilities do it with plenty of care and enthusiasm.

The SLC’s mission is to provide world-class facilities and services, with a particular focus on creating an environment that offers female patrons a unique and high-quality experience in a modern setting, creating a haven of relaxation, empowerment, and wellbeing for all.

The floating wheelchairs will be available as a complimentary service with prior reservation at any time for the elderly and people with disabilities. This will improve the customer experience since they will be able to enjoy the Club service smoothly and access the beach easily. To fulfil the experience with maximum safety, it is required to have a caregiver with the visitor at all times to prevent any unforeseen risks.

Last year, in September, the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi announced the launch of the Comprehensive Strategy for People of Determination 2020-2024, with the participation of over 28 local and federal government entities.

The strategy addresses People of Determination’s needs at all stages of life, including health, rehabilitation, education, employment, social care and social security, apart from social engagement, sports, culture and tourism.

All this goes to show that those with special needs are not treated as social outcasts but are very much part of normal society here. Inclusiveness is key to their all-encompassing welfare, which the UAE carries out with great gusto.

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