Feb 28, 2019

Mrs. Mona Abdel Karim, Director General of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), presented a working paper entitled (Innovation in the field of persons with disabilities) in National Creativity Conference.  Emirates Creative Society organized the conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City.

Mrs. Mona stated in her working paper that rehabilitating, educating, and training persons with disabilities depends mainly on development.  The wise leadership of United Arab Emirates has realized that persons with disabilities have talents and creativity that should receive special care in order to develop.

The Director General of SCHS talked about the rights, which persons with disabilities enjoy in the UAE in general and in Sharjah Emirate in particular. These rights helped to develop and enhance persons with disabilities capabilities after issuing Federal Law No. (29) Of 2006 and its amendments in 2009 on the rights of people with disabilities, which His Highness Sheikh Khalifah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has ratified.

She said, “Article 20 of the law provides for the development and exploitation of persons with disabilities creative, artistic, and intellectual capabilities to enrich the society.  In addition, the government should guarantee the provision of literary and cultural materials in all available forms, including electronic texts, sign language, and Braille.  Persons with disabilities must benefit from programs, media, theater, and artistic performances as well as all cultural activities”.  

Mona explained that since the early 80s, the Emirate of Sharjah has been supporting people with disabilities through Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, and Emirates Association of the Visually Impaired. Everyone knows that His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jameela bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Vice President of Supreme Council for Family Affairs & Director General of SCHS, are the most supportive to person with disabilities. They formed the Association for the Empowerment of Women with Disabilities, which managed to empower and develop women with disabilities’ talents.

Mrs. Mona has confirmed that these initiatives contributed to raising people’s awareness of the importance of supporting persons with disabilities.  Thus, it gave them an opportunity to explore their talents since early childhood.  This requires the efforts of both, public and private sectors, beginning from youth and arts centers, societies, and special clubs.  Moreover, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, local authorities responsible for culture development in schools are the primary sponsors of talents.

She said, “Developing persons with disabilities talents requires many aspects such as providing a location to train them and explore their talents on the hands of professional trainers with great experience in exploring talents besides participating in community events, conferences, and forums that spotlight on these talents. Mass media has a vital role in highlighting these talents as well.

The working paper (Innovation in the field of persons with disabilities) included a number of recommendations to develop persons with disabilities talents and capabilities.  The most important of which were providing opportunities to highlight their talents and work to attract these talents in programs and competitions and searching for national cadres that have the capacity to train and meet the needs of people with disabilities, as well as creating an environment that is supportive and funded from various resources. Mass Media must highlight the talents of persons with disabilities and provide enough opportunities for them to work in this filed.

Ms. Mona Abdul Karim provided a detailed explanation about Arts for All Centre, which is an affiliate of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.  The establishment of this center is a natural result for SCHS’s enormous efforts to develop the talents of persons with disabilities since its early days.  Therefore, the establishment of Arts for All Centre is not a separate idea that is limited or isolated from its surroundings.  It is rather a clear indication that Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services has realized that arts are not restricted to one segment of the society since the beginning of its work.

On the other hand, Ms. Mona has pointed out that Mime Sharjah Band is the first for Pantomime art in United Arab Emirates.  It consists talented actors with hearing impairment.  The band headquarters is in Arts for All Centre.  The band gives performances in United Arab Emirates, the gulf region, and countries from around the world.

As for (Soloist) project, it seeks to develop persons with disabilities musical and signing talents. In the first stage, the project targeted (Alia Ali Abdel Kader) who plays the piano and (Ibrahim Abdullah Al Hammadi) who plays the oud. He also sings.  The project aims to develop their artistic capabilities and prepare them for internal and external competitions through an intensive training program that continues throughout the year.

Ms. Mona Abdul Karim talked about Arts for All Centre painting workshop, which targeted the artist Moza Abdullah in her beginnings.  The workshop aims at introducing its members to modern and contemporary skills and trends of different art schools and the development of members capabilities to formulate an integrated art work through training on the distinction of colors and raw materials, how to use them, their implications, modern drawing methods, and creating an independent artistic vision.

As for the most important projects and artistic programs established and supported by SCHS, there are the program of Art for All (Morning Shift). It offers a wide range of workshops in various areas of arts to teach children from the age of 5 to 12 years various artistic skills.

The Art for All program (Night Shift) offers a variety of art workshops in handcrafts for children from the age of 4 to 10 years, while talented persons with disabilities meet with famous Emirati artists in Art for All Centre Cultural Salon.  They would discuss means of cooperation, friendship, and futuristic art projects.

Mrs. Mona has pointed out that the free studio offers the opportunity for independent artists with disabilities to do arts by providing creative space throughout the year. The academic program for persons with disabilities from the Sharjah Art Foundation aims to organize workshops and programs throughout the year for persons with all types of disabilities from the age of 4 to 18 years on the hands of specialized professional artists.  They aim to encourage people with disabilities to develop communication skills and imagination. This would motivate persons with disabilities to do arts.

The Acting Skills and Team Performance Lab aims to train actors with visual impairment to control their instruments as actors, especially their physical, acoustic and emotional skills.  This would enable them to act the characters, which they are presenting on stage very well. Sharjah Museums Department of Services and Programs aims to motivate children with disabilities and their families to practice diverse kinds of art, especially those related to Emirati heritage.

To conclude, Mrs. Mona has indicated that ATIC Art Therapy program aims to enhance behavioral skills and develop self-confidence through non-verbal communication using coloring, fine arts techniques and enjoyable motor techniques for children with disabilities.