The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for Responsible Business, in partnership with the Community Development Authority (CDA), successfully organised an awareness event entitled ‘Empowering People with Disabilities in the Workplace’ at its head office on Tuesday.
This was the second session that was organised in partnership with the Community Development Authority and reflects the importance of this topic and its relevance to businesses.
The event was held in the presence of Sheikha Dr. Alia Al Qassimi, Director – Social Programmes & Inclusion Department, CDA, who gave the keynote speech on the efforts of her organisation to create more opportunities for disabled employees.
Held in Arabic, the event highlighted the role of Government entities for empowering people with disabilities in the workplace as part of Dubai’s vision to be a disabled-friendly city by 2020.
Mr. Essa Al Zaabi, Senior Vice President, Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber, said in his welcome address: “Being employed is crucial for the wellbeing of people with disabilities. Employment is a great asset for any person’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing and it is important that people with disabilities are given chances to excel in the workplace.
“The sad truth is that people with disabilities face widespread barriers to accessing employment and services, yet many of these barriers are avoidable and can be overcome. This event hopes to highlight some of these barriers and the active role being played by the Government to reduce these barriers and create more awareness about the benefits and skills people with disabilities can give to a workplace,” said Mr. Al Zaabi.
In her keynote speech, Sheikha Dr. Alia spoke about her organisation’s Elkayt Programme that plays a major role in empowering people with disabilities. She stressed on the importance of coordinating efforts and initiatives among all stakeholders in order to achieve making Dubai a disabled-friendly city.
She said: ‘‘Government entities are key players in empowering this important section of the society and their role is not only limited to providing suitable work environments but also to put up appropriate solutions to the challenges faced by the disabled people and their employers and to introduce positive models for potential work environments that would allow people with disabilities to be successful in their workplace,’’ said Al Qassimi.
‘‘We are delighted to cooperate with Dubai Chamber in raising awareness about placing people with disabilities in the workplace, amongst a wide spectrum of the community, especially from the private sector and to pass on our expertise in the field by showcasing the best possible ways to benefit from these peoples’ abilities, making them productive members of the society, and give them the chances to contribute to the development process of the emirate.
“Only by utilising everyone’s ability Dubai can become a place for achieving limitless excellence by all sections of the society as wanted by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,’’ she added.
Other speakers included, Badriya Mohammed Hassan Al-Ali, Coordinator for the Higher Committee for Rights of People with Disabilities Strategy Management & Governance Sector, The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai; Dr. Naji Al Mahdi, Chief of Qualifications and Awards at the National Institute for Vocational Education; Essa Almulla, CEO of Emirates National Developmental Programme; and Layla Al Ghafeiri, Visual Impairment Specialist, Tamkeen: Vocational Programme for Persons with Visual Disability.
Following a question and answer session, a panel discussion was held featuring Rashid Al Marizouqi and Mohammed Rashed Al Ghafli of the CDA and Ahmed Butti of Dubai Airports, who shared their success stories and challenges in the workplace.
The Centre for Responsible Business was established by Dubai Chamber in 2004 to support and promote corporate social responsibility, sustainability and corporate governance good practices.