Jun 2, 2022

On Wednesday and Thursday 1-2 June 2022, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), organized the “MATP” movement activities program for severe disabilities and cerebral palsy in cooperation with the UAE Special Olympics. The event took place at the Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped.  Her Excellency Mona Abdel Karim Al Yafei, SCHS Director, and Ms. Fatima Mohammed, Director of Projects and Strategy at the UAE Special Olympics His Excellency Ahmed Salem Al-Mazloum Al-Suwaidi attended the event. Executive Director of Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, and Mr. Saeed Al-Ajel, a sports expert in the Sharjah Sports Council was present as well.

The first day of the program included a workshop entitled "Inclusion in Sports". Dr. Nadera Al-Borno, a professor at the American University of Sharjah, presented the workshop in the auditorium of Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped. More than 18 sports teachers in SCHS and 12 trainers of centers and clubs for people with disabilities in the country attended the event.

The workshop discussed the meaning and importance of training, inclusive sports participation and inclusion for people with disabilities. In addition to providing advice on how to make this possible for children and youth with intellectual disabilities and their inclusion in local communities.

It also aimed to prepare sports coaches in the country and train them to integrate persons with disabilities to participate in future sporting events and tournaments.

On the second day, 48 male and female players with disabilities from SCHS participated in the program. The program is suitable for severe intellectual, motor disabilities, and cerebral palsy.

The program, which sports teachers has been implementing during sports lessons in SCHS for three years, aims to integrate students with disabilities into sports activities. The program provides participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to be ready and able to participate in the official competitions of the Special Olympics and compete with other players.

Ms. Mona Abdul-Karim Al-Yafei, SCHS Director, confirmed that the “MATP” motor activities program targets athletes with disabilities who are unable to participate in official sports competitions due to their limited skills or functional abilities. The motor activity training program helps prepare athletes with severe and multiple disabilities and those with Severe intellectual disability to practice special sports activities commensurate with their abilities.

She said, “The principle of the "MATP" program can be summarized in providing training of motor activities that specialize in what suits each player and his abilities, and deals with the mental or physical challenges he faces. The program does not exclude any players due to the type of disability. It rather provides specialized training, for each player, depending on the situation”.

She explained that the most prominent feature of this program is that it provides training of motor activities in a manner compatible with the official sports practiced in the Special Olympics. Therefore, special training programs designed accordingly. So that the player's mastery of these training programs makes him, with time; acquire the basic skills to participate in sports within the Special Olympics.

Al Yafei pointed out the great importance that Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services attaches to people with severe and multiple disabilities since early childhood.  SCHS seeks to integrate them into daily life through activities, trips, visits and other events, and to provide accessibility to all activities, believing that this is a right of theirs. It provides them with a full range of services such as physical and occupational therapy, speech and language, family counseling and other services that suit each case and its needs. In addition to developing and implementing training plans throughout the year.

She also referred to the SCHS's center for severe disabilities, which SCHS established in the academic year 2011-2012, in response to the demands of parents and in an effort to provide the best services to the category of people with severe and multiple disabilities over the age of 16 years.

She talked about the importance of motor therapy provided to people with severe and multiple disabilities through individual sessions for students with challenges in motor functions. Here, goals are set in cooperation with a physiotherapist, explaining that students receive these services inside or outside the gym to improve these skills. The most important of which are (Walking, throwing, jumping, and aiming).

Al-Yafei confirmed that SCHS supports and rehabilitates people with severe and multiple disabilities by providing comprehensive and extended services for them from the early intervention stage in the Early Intervention Center, until the youth stage. SCHS plans to establish a more modern and well-equipped center to serve students with severe and multiple disabilities, where the work team puts in mind the core objectives of the rehabilitation process, which is to achieve the largest possible degree of participation, independence, integration and self-determination.

Fatima Mohammed, Director of Projects and Strategy at the UAE Special Olympics, said, "Today we are proud of our presence in the Emirate of Sharjah, one of the UAE Special Olympics stations for the MATP movement activities program, which is one of the training programs for people with severe disabilities. The program aims to improve their mood and increase their physical flexibility”.

“The UAE Special Olympics is proud of its cooperation with Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped and the Sharjah Sports Council. We find great cooperation and support in hosting events, and this cooperation leads to more service for people with disabilities”, added Fatima Mohammed.

His Excellency Ahmed Salem Al-Mazloum, Executive Director of Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, said that the club hosting of the MATP Sports Activities Program stems from the club’s social responsibility to participate in organizing events that contribute to the rehabilitation and integration of people with severe disabilities. Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services organized this program in cooperation with the Special Olympics. This would make them gain the basic skills to participate in future official sports. This reflect the visions and directions of the advocate for the disabled, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in empowering the Knights of Will through leading institutions. Foremost of which is the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. SCHS contributed to empowering and integrating people with disabilities in various cultural, sports and social fields.

Al Mazloum added that the Emirate of Sharjah lunches many initiatives represented by Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. This is customary by the smiling emirate. Sharjah had the honor of organizing the largest international events and championships in the fields of sports for people with disabilities. This confirm the pioneering and humanitarian role of the Emirate of Sharjah as a friendly city for people with disabilities.  At the end of the program, SCHS honored students and gave medals to the participating players.