Gaining independence on 2nd December 1971, United Arab Emirates (UAE), previously known as The Trucial States, promised an active union, bonded by unity, peace, and diversity. As a matter of fact, in a new index that ranks emerging governments for their competitiveness based on their strengths, UAE has been ranked third globally, in logistics, business environments, and digital readiness.
As the ruler of Dubai, His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, “Our main goal in the UAE is to create hope, life, and happiness for everyone” and that is the aim of an initiative that has been kickstarted by Special Olympics UAE, or SOUAE. This is a multilateral organisation, which supports athletes with intellectual disabilities, with the help of millions of volunteers and coaches each year.
The main purpose of this campaign is to help, and encourage people of determination to learn, and interact better. Through unified sports, inclusive youth leadership, and year-round whole-school engagement activities, the comprehensive program’s three-part approach offers schools ample opportunities for inclusion.
SOUAE Signs an MOU with Expo 2020
In late 2021, Special Olympics UAE signed a memorandum of understanding with Expo 2020. The Sports, Fitness and Wellbeing Hub hosted the signing ceremony, as well as being accessible to the People of Determination, encouraging them to engage in physical activities. Talal Al Hashemi, the national director of Special Olympics UAE, and Mohammed AL , the chief technology officer of Expo 2020 Dubai, both signed the contract.
By being a part of this program, they will be participating in numerous activities such as:
- Cycling team, crossing all 192 pavilions
- Fitness-based classes given by instructors
- Have access to the multi-purpose gym, sports, and fitness studio
- Chance to participate in the Special Olympics UAE Unified Arts Project called ‘Flowers of Hope’ which is the first ever display of public artwork created in collaboration with People of Determination. Along with flowers being made from decorated palm fronds that 58 artists and their families painted, the flowers also symbolise the seven emirates of the UAE. This idea was coined by a renowned Emirati artist and designer Azza Al Quabiasi. How cool is that?
The Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Her Excellency, Shamma Al Marzui, also tweeted about the schools that participated, and won in the United School Champion (USC).
Advantages of USC
This thorough program will not only give you an experience of a lifetime but will also equip you with skills such as emotional intelligence, time management, adaptability, and ethics. You are working and striving towards a bigger and better goal, promoting inclusion, and bringing a socially interactive environment for the People of Determination.
Moreover, campaigns and initiatives such as these have also proved to be a milestone achieved. Dynamism such as this will also further promote conformity, consistency, and cooperation between citizens, regardless of their abilities. Slowly but steadily, implementation of smart and efficient activities will help intellectually challenged people to see obstacles as opportunities and so, contribute to the betterment of not only themselves, but also the government.
The crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, endorsed new social benefits, worth 44 billion dirhams, for the intellectually challenged citizens of the Emirate. The new ruling applies to People of Determination under 60 who have physical or mental disabilities that necessitate support from others. The decision covers the costs of providing shadow teachers, caregivers, personal assistants, and sign language interpreters. It also covers the costs of institutes such as kindergarten, schools, university programs, and training and rehabilitation centers.
How Else Has UAE Helped Pave a Way for the People of Determination?
Along with participating in fully planned campaigns such as USC, there are numerous other ways UAE has supported and brought these people and their plight to light. Some of the strategies include:
- Every person who is mentally and intellectually challenged is entitled to a pink card, which is issued by the Ministry of Community Development (MOCD).
- UAE Disability Act of 2006. By defending the rights of independent thinkers (persons with disabilities), the UAE guarantees equality to people of determination through its laws, as well as through its policies and programs for economic and social development.
- The People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy of the United Arab Emirates forbids any abuse or neglect of people of determination in any form. Depriving people of their fundamental right to care, rehabilitation, medical attention, recreation, or community integration represents abuse and neglect.
- New social benefits worth 44 billion dirhams, sanctioned by the crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
- Setting up a national policy which lays its foundation on 6 pillars: Health and rehabilitation, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment, outreach, social protection, and family empowerment, and finally, public life, culture, and sports.
How Can This Strategy Help Third World Countries?
UAE started out on its mission to be one of the leading countries in the world, and so it is! The UAE is ranked in the top 30 on the list of the “most-networked countries” by the World Economic Forum, ahead of all other Arab countries as well as nations like Italy, and Turkey. In 2019, AT Kearney ranked the UAE as one of the top 25 best places in the world to deliver business services to multinational companies.
Third world countries are nations which are defined and recognized by their high poverty rate, lack of resources, and a financially unstable economy. Strategies such as The United School Championship are of the utmost importance when it comes to third world countries such as Pakistan, India, and other located in the East.
Campaigns such as these not only spread awareness, but also help nurture a bully-free environment for the intellectually challenged, creating harmony and acceptance between residents. As for the economic aspect, if these trainings are taught to teachers in third world countries, not only will the teachers learn and implement, but they will also start to change the dynamics the society looks down upon such people.
Surprisingly, with the capacity to serve about 35,000 disabled students, the Special Education Department has successfully established 302 special education institutions at the primary, secondary, and collegiate levels, in Pakistan. However, the lack of training, and skills prove to be a major obstacle on the road to success.
Citizens know that the tool of knowledge and education must be used. However, the how and why are major crossword puzzles which need to be solved rationally, to create a sense of conformity among the community.
UAE has provided People of Determination with abundant opportunities to change, learn, and grow. 110,000 people who are intellectually challenged have been presented with not only a window of opportunity but have also been equipped by the resources they need to get out of the window to create a world that suits them and their needs best. UAE has recognized that great potential lies within the people of determination, which has been sidetracked for way too long now. UAE has extended its hand of friendship towards them, the question is, when will you?