Abu Dhabi, UAE: Employers must give disabled people a chance and allow them to make a full contribution to society, a conference has heard.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director general of Abu Dhabi Education Council, said disabled people deserved praise and respect.
“People with special needs are heroes and champions,” Dr Al Qubaisi told the first day of the ABILITIESme conference yesterday. “Every day they achieve.
“We should support them all the time. We should encourage them in order for them to overcome the challenges and difficulties they face.
“The value of special-needs people is very important. There is no distinction or difference between any individuals in society. They will be part of our journey of excellence.”
She urged all employers across the UAE to give disabled people the chance to prove their worth.
“We want to reiterate to those with special needs that you are members of society, you are the future of our society,” Dr Al Qubaisi said. “We realise most of you are innovative, creative and excellent.
“You are the role model that we follow. I ask all establishments and sectors, public and private, to open the gates to train them and provide them with jobs. Give them the opportunity to contribute to building this country.”
She said thousands of special needs pupils had been integrated into schools.
Dr Al Qubaisi said while “the UAE is considered a leader in the world in providing support for people with special needs”, there was still much work to be done.
“Every student has the right to education,” she said. “This is a right we should support. Support at all stages. All efforts exerted are not enough yet.”
Adec has a 10-year plan to integrate and develop special needs pupils, including better resources and access to education.
The two-day conference at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre aims to integrate people with disabilities and special needs into mainstream society.
The event began with a speech by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
Sheikh Nahyan said everyone must be treated equally, be socially included and be given the same access and opportunities in health, education and work.
“We are all responsible for supporting the complete integration of people with special needs in our communities,” he said.
“We must ensure them equal treatment and opportunities in schools, the workplace, sports arenas and in all aspects of life.
“We are responsible for defending their rights and to support institutions and bodies that seek to make positive change in the community, in a way that ensures the rights and powers of people with special needs.
“As you know, the UAE has had many remarkable achievements in ensuring the welfare of people with special needs. Achievements such as these are essential for the UAE’s continuity.”
Habib Al Beloushi, of the UAE Disabled Society and Paralympic Committee, plays wheelchair basketball. He was at the conference’s exhibition to learn about advanced wheelchairs.
Mr Al Beloushi, 40, feels the UAE is becoming more receptive to those with disabilities.
“Conferences like this are very important,” he said.
© The National
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