"The conference supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a role model for involving people with disabilities by providing them with all the necessary services to strengthen their position as an effective element in society."
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has inaugurated the 1st Annual Conference for People with Disabilities, organised by DEWA under the theme 'Inspiring Stories and Challenges.' HE Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar, Director General of the Community Development Authority (CDA), was present during the inauguration.
The conference was attended by a delegation that included senior managers from CDA, people with disabilities, officials from the government and private institutions, as well as Executive Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents, and senior staff from DEWA.
The conference supports DEWA's strategy to empower people with disabilities and contribute to integrating them into society as individuals who are capable of innovation and creativity. A number of people with disabilities shared their inspiring stories in overcoming disabilities. The conference also highlighted a number of innovations for inclusion of people with disabilities in society, and discussed difficulties facing people with disabilities in the work environment.
In his opening speech, Al Tayer noted that the 1st Annual Conference for People with Disabilities, which is organised by DEWA, supports the attention that Dubai Government gives to people with disabilities, who play a prominent role in building and developing society.
"The conference supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a role model for involving people with disabilities by providing them with all the necessary services to strengthen their position as an effective element in society. The conference also supports the 'My Community... A City for Everyone' initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a fully disability-friendly city by 2020, and the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, to make Dubai an inclusive city for people with disabilities," said Al Tayer"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, once observed that, "The job of government is to achieve happiness for people. Indeed, our daily work is all about achieving happiness for people." According to this vision, which aims to achieve everyone's happiness, the role of government departments and organisations in Dubai and the UAE is not limited to performing the duties and responsibilities assigned to them. Rather, they are all active contributors supporting the social development of society as a whole. Dubai Government departments and organisations work closely with the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to ensure the full rights of people with disabilities, and provide all the necessary measures to empower them and include them in society. DEWA's social initiatives have always been an integral part of its strategy to serve the public. For over five decades, DEWA has contributed to the social, economic, and environmental growth of Dubai. This was achieved by several prominent initiatives and programmes in social development, which has contributed to the leading position DEWA enjoys today," added Al Tayer.
"DEWA is committed to its responsibility to society to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 to build a 'cohesive society and preserved identity' and the Dubai Plan 2021 for Dubai to be a city of happy, creative, and empowered people who live in an inclusive and cohesive society. This conference is part of DEWA's efforts to provide people with disabilities with effective programmes and initiatives that are launched according to well thought-out plans and strategies that are compatible with best international standards and practices, and DEWA's corporate social responsibility strategy. DEWA is committed to enhancing the social empowerment of people with disabilities by providing them with a competent and flexible environment that enables them to unlock their potential and prove their capabilities, while helping them to fully integrate into society. DEWA has developed well-formulated policies and procedures for serving customers with disabilities. One such initiative is Ash'ir, which enables people with hearing impairments to communicate directly with call centre staff via instant visual communication technologies, using sign language as a means of dialogue. DEWA was the first government organisation in the UAE to launch this service. We have also revamped our website and smart app to be easily accessible by people with disabilities. DEWA's website has achieved 92% in its compatibility with the international W3C web standards, according to the evaluation done by the Smart Dubai Government Establishment," added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer noted that DEWA launched the Absher initiative to support and care for its staff with disabilities. It includes a dedicated team of HR specialists and a hotline to assist them with their paperwork. DEWA also launched the Omniyati initiative to accomplish the wishes of its staff whose disabilities prevented them from fulfilling those wishes, and has done so for ten of its staff. DEWA also supports the Sanad smart cards to provide services and amenities for people with disabilities. These include valet-parking at all DEWA branches, providing wheelchairs, Maraheb services, and priority to be served.
"DEWA works closely with several government and private organisations to provide world-class service infrastructure that allows people with disabilities to easily access facilities and use services. We also provide supportive social services, and enhance social awareness to further integrate people with disabilities into society. DEWA participated in the AccessAbilities Expo, where it showed some of its services dedicated to individuals with disabilities. The AccessAbilities Expo contributed greatly to Dubai's reputation for caring for people with disabilities. DEWA also supports many specialised centres such as Rashid Centre for the Disabled, Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, and Dubai Autism Centre. In recognition of its efforts in this area, DEWA won the Princess Haya Award for Special Education, which was established by Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to raise the standard of services provided for the care and rehabilitation of individuals with special needs. DEWA also received the MVO8000 global certification in social responsibility, becoming the first government organisation in Dubai to receive this global recognition. DEWA has achieved an advanced level in applying ISO26000 in corporate social responsibility. Society's satisfaction with DEWA is 87%, and customer satisfaction is 95.7%," noted Al Tayer.
"At DEWA, we look at people with disabilities as active contributors to the growth and development of society. We work to include people with disabilities in their social environment as individuals who are capable of producing and innovating. We are confident that this annual conference will support efforts to empower people with disabilities, and will contribute to finding new means to overcome obstacles to full integrate them into society. The inspiring stories and experiences that you will hear from the disability challengers will motivate us and strengthen our commitment. As His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once observed, 'The only real disability is weak determination and willpower,'" concluded Al Tayer.
Al Tayer and Julfar gave trophies to the speakers at the conference, who included Majid Al Osaimi, President of the Asian Paralympic Committee, Vice President of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation, and Executive Director at the Dubai Club for the Disabled, Raul Krauthausen from Germany, Dr Muna Al Hammadi, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Human Sciences of Zayed University, and Mohammed Khamis, winner of several gold, silver, and bronze medals in many international championships.
Al Tayer also honoured government, federal and local agencies and private organisations that participated in the exhibition organised during the 1st Annual Conference for People with Disabilities. This included projects and products for students with disabilities, and a number of distinguished services to people with disabilities. The list included the Ministry for Community Development, Zayed Agriculture Centre for Development and Rehabilitation, Rashid Centre for the Disabled, Dubai Autism Centre, Ajman Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled, and the Moeen Centre for Assistive Technology.
During the conference, DEWA presented a video about its services to help people with disabilities, and another video about its Omniyati initiative to fulfil the wishes of employees with disabilities.
The 1st Annual Conference for People with Disabilities included a session, call 'Story of Will,' by Majid Al Osaimi. Khamis gave a presentation on 'Reaching the Top.' Dr Al Hammadi talked about difficulties facing people with disabilities in the work environment. Raul Krauthausen talked about 'Disability Mainstreaming: Innovations for Inclusion from Germany.'
"DEWA gives priority to employees and customers with disabilities by launching programmes and initiatives that adhere to best international practices and standards. This reflects DEWA's commitment to its Corporate Social Responsibility, and further integrating people with disabilities in society. DEWA is also committed to employing people with disabilities in the positions that suit them according to the employment procedures and criteria. A dedicated team in the HR department provides support to employees with special needs through the Absher initiative, which DEWA launched to help its employees with special needs," said Dr. Yousef Al Akraf, Executive Vice President of Business Support and Human Resources at DEWA.