Under the banner of “Give Them Hope to Live Life to the Fullest”, Paris – Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD) hosted the children of the Special Care Center – Abu Dhabi (SCC) during an open day at the university’s Al Reem Island campus. The children were joined by PSUAD students, staff, and faculty in a bid to offer them moral support, contribute to their integration in society, and provide them with love and care, as PSUAD marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The celebration featured numerous programs and activities aiming to further the connection of disabled persons to the community and help overcome the obstacles hindering their integration. The event sought to raise awareness on the contributions they can make to their community by harnessing their ideas, capacities, and creativity, by reinforcing their self-confidence, and honing their talents and potentials.
Prof. Eric Fouache, PSUAD Vice-Chancellor, said, “PSUAD believes in the right of all people, including those with disabilities, to access the highest levels of education and in the importance of reinforcing the enrolment of disabled persons in schools and universities to further their education. We are keen on nurturing them and investing their potentials and capacities to become active members of the community.
“PSUAD gives prime attention to persons with disabilities, as they are capable of contributing to the development of the country. We are determined to provide them with care and support at various stages of their life and to partner with relevant NGOs to offer them academic and moral support.”
Prof. Fouache underlined the university’s mission in delivering its services and dedicating its capacities to serve all segments of the community, in order to provide all students with the best and most distinguished educational opportunities. She noted PSUAD’s keenness to support the integration of disabled persons and help them pursue their studies at all levels, given the university’s faith in the potentialities of each and every individual.
He affirmed that the Emirati society is naturally nurturing. Disabled persons have the right to live a full life with fellow members of the community and to enjoy the wealth and prosperity witnessed across all areas of development. “It is our duty to create a favorable educational and healthcare environment for persons with disabilities to allow them to live a dignified life and guarantee a bright future for them. Persons with disabilities enjoy significant support from the UAE leadership to allow them to overcome challenges and play an active role as productive members of the community,” she observed.
Eisa Al Raeesi, Head of the PSUAD Cultural and Student Life Department, remarked that PSUAD welcomes all partnerships that foster persons with disabilities and supports the various care and rehabilitation centers, especially public and private institutions that promote the wellbeing of disabled persons. PSUAD offers a wide range of services, programs, and initiatives to allow disabled persons to access equal opportunities that foreground their talents and fulfill their aspirations in all areas of life on a par with their peers. PSUAD also strives to promote the educational, social, mental, and physical wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
Al Raeesi noted that the university’s operational strategy includes numerous plans, programs, and events that help create a favorable environment for students with special needs to pursue their studies, engage in activities, and interact with various administrations and departments. He observed that the PSUAD administration keeps informed on the situation and health conditions of all students enrolled at the university to offer them the care they need throughout their stay and provide them with the required support and facilities.
Qamar Al Sharif, SCC director of activities and programs, thanked PSUAD administrators and students for hosting the children. She lauded the deep sense of community engagement that they expressed towards persons with disabilities and the limitless support offered by PSUAD to the SCC and its children.
Al Sharif noted that 64 children attend the center. PSUAD students have already visited SCC headquarters and spent a day with the children where they delivered toys, sweets and gifts, as part of PSUAD’s community activities. “The children’s visit to PSUAD today helped them feel accepted, supported, and appreciated by everyone in the community,” she said.
PSUAD students joined the children in marking the happy occasion, with songs and child-friendly games, and discussed with SCC supervisors the care of children with disabilities. Students then distributed candy, coloring books and crayons, and balloons and T-shirts printed with the PSUAD logo as gifts to the children. The entertainment program featured football and volleyball matches, running contests, singing, a play performed by the children, and an exhibition of the children’s drawings and crafts.
PSUAD student Dana Oulabi said, “The idea behind the event is to make the children feel happy and supported. As PSUAD students, we have engaged in many humanitarian activities and visited disabled children in numerous centers. We have also conducted awareness and advocacy campaigns. We plan on conducting many more humanitarian and social activities in the future.”
Mohamed Sassi, also a PSUAD student, affirmed that the PSUAD campus witnessed, yesterday, wide-scale student participation and substantial faculty and staff engagement in the events with children. PSUAD students’ celebration of disabled children was inspired by their dedication to voluntary action and to raising awareness on the need to integrate disabled children in the community and to offer them all forms of financial and moral support, he said.
The Special Care Center is a nonprofit based in Abu Dhabi and has been offering educational and therapy services to Abu Dhabi’s children with special needs for more than 20 years. SCC is operating at maximum capacity and has launched the “Donate a Brick” campaign to raise funds for the construction of a specialized school campus at Al Bahia to cater to 400 disabled children.