The UAE is in the middle of a sea change, and it hopes to become a holistically disability-friendly city by 2020…
A new National Strategy to Empower People With Disabilities has just been launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE.
So what does that mean? Well, first things first there will be an advisory board that ensures decisions made across the government prioritise the needs and rights of the disabled.
Sheikh Mohammed said the strategy was launching in order to turn the UAE into a more “inclusive society”, using “policies and services” to make that happen.
The strategy also states that every service-related organisation in the government should have a dedicated person on the team to facilitate the best possible customer service to those with disabilities in the UAE.
There will be six pillars to the policy, and we’ll find out more about how each of these works as the plan unfolds – the areas of work are health and rehabilitation, education, employment, mobility, social protection and family empowerment as well as social, sport and public life.
DUBAI A COMMUNITY FOR EVERYONE
In 2013, Dubai’s Crown Prince, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched the My Community Dubai programme (you can read all about that here). That programme’s plan is to make Dubai a fully disability-friendly city (from access to employment opportunities) by 2020.
The UAE also has a Disability Act, which became federal law in 2006 and protects the rights of people with disabilities. They are also signees of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The My Community Dubai initiative focuses heavily on rehabilitation and employment, and here’s UAE Ministry of Health employee Kaltham Obaid Bakheet talking about why staying in the workforce after an accident that left her paralysed was so important:
Private companies are getting on board too, Emirates NBD has just launched its ‘Careers Network’ as part of its #TogetherLimitless campaign – they have placed 17 people with cognitive disabilities in paid work since November 2016, and now have 20 companies on board so hope to help more candidates find jobs soon.
We look forward to watching all of these programmes progress.