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OPINION: The UAE’s Compassion For People Of Determination Knows No Bounds

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“He can’t talk and tell us, and we find that frustrating and painful, leaving us feeling helpless not being able to fully truly empathise with him, but we do our best.”

Mama Delphine Watson recently shared on Instagram the heart-wrenching story of what it’s like to see her son Rio suffer from an epileptic seizure. As a baby, Rio was diagnosed with a rare congenital disease that affects his ability to speak and walk.

 

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Now, 18-year-old Rio speaks using sign language and often suffers from terrible seizures. The Watson family is always trying to spread awareness about people of special needs – especially children – and their empowerment through inclusion in fitness activities.

As residents of Dubai, their efforts could not have found a better launch pad; under the UAE’s national policy, people with disabilities are referred to as ‘People of Determination’. This is to empower them and recognize their achievements in different fields.

 

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The Dubai royal family sets examples at every turn to normalize the inclusion of people of determination in all walks of life.

Last month, during the famous Dubai Run on Sheikh Zayed Road, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum was seen pushing the running chair of Rio at the forefront of the 10 km race.

 

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Such an interaction was not the first of its kind.

Less than a week ago, the UAE witnessed a heartfelt video of Fazza going out of his way to greet a person of determination. He made good talk with his new friend and embraced him – the video quickly went viral with social media users highly praising Fazza’s sweet and caring gesture.

The UAE Government has ensured that People of Determination are not left out of any opportunities because of their special needs.

The UAE Cabinet has firmly put into place many policies including ‘People of Determination Protection from Abuse Policy’ allowing them to thrive within a safe community. Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 implements their right to a dignified life that allows them new opportunities.

In 2017, the UAE Government launched a national policy for empowering people of determination which aims to create an inclusive society for them and their families, through services and facilities that accommodate their needs.

In January 2022, the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit (DATIS) that works towards better tourism for People of Determination will hold its second session. It will discuss the challenges faced by people of determination and subsequently the fulfillment of their requirements by the improvement of legislation, laws, infrastructure and services to ensure their rights to discover the world comfortably.

There are also a variety of initiatives including education, employment, rehabilitation, and retreats in order to secure their care and inclusion.

 

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The UAE truly has set an example of true compassion by safeguarding the rights and solidly empowering all people with disabilities. This is our take on the famous quote – you can easily judge the character of a country by how it treats its citizens with special needs. Kudos to the UAE!

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