Responding to public demand, Sharjah Water Festival has requested Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign to allocate a separate tent exclusively for breastfeeding mothers during the festival from 12-21 December, it was revealed in a media statement today.
“This move will be widely welcomed by visitors, as it has been a frequently requested feature prior to the event,” the statement said.
The tent is expected to cater to a high volume of women from all walks of life, considering that the festival mainly caters to young visitors and their parents. The fact that women were enquiring about a breastfeeding tent is seen as a clear signal that mothers in Sharjah are now more aware of the benefits of baby-friendly public places – courtesy of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign’s energetic awareness drive through public lectures, workshops, site visits, conferences and certification ceremonies.
Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Committee Director of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign explained the rationale behind this decision: “We all know that a well-fed baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby means a happy mother – which in turn makes a happy family. Therefore by enabling mothers to breastfeed in comfort, privacy and dignity, we are ensuring that the festival will be a pleasant outing for the entire family. We have made remarkable progress in making Sharjah’s public places more baby-friendly, but that is not restricted to indoor places like malls; it also extends to outdoor activities like festivals, as our special tent demonstrates.”
The festival organisers expressed their gratitude to the campaign for spreading awareness and cultivating a family-friendly environment for visitors of all ages. This could help boost attendance levels, since mothers can now access full convenience, comfort and privacy – factors which were previously obstacles to attending public events with their babies.
It is anticipated that the campaign will participate in more festivals and public events in future, as part of its strategy to expand its operations to a wider audience in Sharjah and beyond.
The Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign was initiated in March 2012 under the generous patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Budoor bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), President of the Campaign and Honorary President of the Breastfeeding Friends Association.
The campaign encompasses four initiatives: Breastfeeding-Friendly Nurseries, Mother and Baby-Friendly Public Places, Mother-Friendly Workplaces and Baby-Friendly Health Facilities. The Campaign is sponsored by Sharjah Islamic Bank.