The UAE celebrates the 45th Arab Deaf Week between 20-27 April 2020, in cooperation with all the providers of deaf services in the UAE, and in response to the call of the Arab Federation of Organizations Working with the Deaf. This year’s celebration comes under the title “The Right of Deaf to Get Married and Support by Community Institutions).
This week supports the deaf people and their staff, as it is a comprehensive week which introduces the community members to deaf and ways of preventing people from being deaf; introduction to deaf people, their abilities and means of education and rehabilitation, communication channels whether linguistic, speech and advisory with their peers or community members as well as directing the various media to highlight their basic health, education, psychological, social, economic and rehabilitation rights. It also aims to enable deaf, deaf and people with hearing disabilities to play an active and positive role in the overall and sustainable process of social and economic development.
During the Arab Deaf Week, the Ministry will organize several awareness activities which focus on important information and facts, remote and online lectures and workshops; such as “Taalul Live” through the ministry’s Instagram account with sign language to introduce the community members with the importance and constituents of deaf marriage; another sign language remote workshop for Zayed University students, online sign language course for children and awareness publications through the ministry’s account on social media to introduce the community members with these categories, and increase their awareness on the priorities and needs of the deaf people in the society.
On this occasion, Wafa Hamad Bin Sulaiman, Director of Welfare and Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination, said: “The general principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, joined by the UAE, supports the rights of the deaf people in the emirati community, by taking full advantage of the community services and facilities equal to their peers ensuring that these services respond to their needs with no discrimination against them in all matters related to marriage, family, parenthood and relationships, the rights of youth generations to get married and establish a family; their rights to know more information about reproductive health and family planning in proportion to their age and ways of communication, and to provide the necessary means to enable them to exercise these rights.
She added that the celebration of this week comes amid Coronavirus-COVID 19 pandemic affecting the world, stressing the keenness of the UAE leadership in providing the people of determination special importance under these circumstances and priority in the screening tests through sending testing teams to their homes.
She explained that the ministry's celebrations of deaf week this year come in line with the principles of social distancing recommended by the World Health Organization, as well as remote education, where we will be focusing on providing information and community awareness through social media, online lectures and remote training in various visual and audio media, which contributes to the success of this week's activities and events.
The Director of Welfare & Rehabilitation Department for People of Determination elaborated that the Ministry of Community Development is keen to support all issued related to the deaf as well as their parents and staff, noting that the ministry's decision to license the Emirates Deaf Association to represent the voice for deaf people in the UAE and defends their rights, in addition to representing the deaf in the Advisory Council of People of Determination through a deaf member; this is a good indication of the keenness of our wise leadership to involve people of determination as well as their parents in setting up policies and strategies, and ensure their roles in this council maintains their rights and needs.
The Ministry of Community Development is keen to provide comprehensive information, services and assistance to the deaf and their families at an early age. The provided services to the deaf whether about marriage, family building and other health, educational and operational areas, are among the initiatives included in the national policy to empower people of determination; the social protection and family empowerment pillar aim for active family participation in the provision of rehabilitation services, in addition to the goal of adjusting social security policies to take into account the needs of the people of determination, organizing support programs for families, caregivers and care providers, training, counselling, rehabilitation, sign language training.
It is worth mentioning to know that the Arab Deaf Week is celebrated in the Arab world each year, with new open ideas and initiatives which the deaf people of the UAE in particular especially in the education, sports and social fields. The week supports their successful experiences and increase the awareness of the community members of these categories and their needs to be active members towards comprehensive inclusion in the community.