This has made our day…
In most countries, signs pointing out wheelchair ramps say “disabled access”. In the UAE, however, they say “people of determination”.
The new term was launched in April 2017 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, as part of his national strategy for empowering people with disabilities.
“Disability is in fact the inability to make progress and achievements. The achievements that people of determination have made in various spheres over the past years are proof that determination and strong will can do the impossible and encourage people to counter challenges and difficult circumstances while firmly achieving their goals,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Ever since, signs referring to “people of determination” have been popping up all over public areas in the UAE (you also might see places offering “free entry for people of determination”).
And they haven’t gone unnoticed. BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, who was shot and paralysed on the job in 2004, recently shared a photo of one of the signs at Abu Dhabi Airport with his Twitter followers:
Brilliant. Love this. As spotted by a friend going thru Abu Dhabi airport: pic.twitter.com/qrwvzZtk2Q
— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) January 5, 2018
The tweet received more than 5,000 retweets and 15,000 likes, sparking a whole conversation about the UAE’s fresh take on inclusive language.
That is brilliant! Always cringed while living and working in the GCC with their use of the word “disabled” and even on 2 occasions “crippled” in malls and airports- this is the way forward for the whole world
— harry crompton (@harryinbahrain) January 5, 2018
I live in UAE and can vouch that this is more than just PR. Efforts made to involve and integrate in workforce too, as well as society generally. Warms heart to see
— Shuja Ali (@shujaali) January 7, 2018
This is a great use of language! I loved the carriages of trains in India, marked for the ‘differently abled’ too. Don’t see this with frequency in the UK!
— Elizabeth M-I (@one_advocation) January 7, 2018
Love this. Excellent starting point for looking at renaming & reframing this. As a disabled person I don’t enjoy the usual label & assumptions that go with it.
— Christina Garvey (@stinagarvey) January 7, 2018
Just as a heads up, most disabled people don’t have a problem with being called disabled people. Speaking as one of them. I LOVE People of Determination though!
— Emily Beech🥄 (@idle_albatross) January 6, 2018
Last year, the Dubai government also installed the new signs on seven of the city’s beaches, including Al Mamzar Beach Park, Al Mamzar Corniche, Jumeirah 3 and Umm Suqeim 1 and 2.
Dubai Municipality also plans to introduce more ramps around the city, better parking facilities, and even special playground equipment for wheelchair-bound children.