Some 1,000 individuals and 150 volunteers participated in WeWalk 2019, an annual charity walkathon organised by TECOM Group on Friday, in support of autism.
The walkathon was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination in Dubai.
TECOM Group aims to raise awareness and promote the integration of people of determination (persons with disabilities) into society, in line with the UAE’s objectives of the Year of Tolerance. All proceeds from the initiative this year will go to Dubai Autism Centre, the non-profit organisation that serves children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the UAE.
Held at Dubai Design District, d3, WeWalk 2019 drew the participation of the community including adults and children with autism, their friends and families, as well as senior officials and representatives of various government and non-governmental organisations, educators and athletes.
On the sidelines of the two-kilometre walkathon, the agenda featured a line-up of fun-filled family activities, a talent show by children from Emirates Autism Society, EAS, a sign language performance by the students of Pomegranate Institute and a group drumming session by EAS’s own band, Kharsha Group.
Speaking on the occasion, Muna Al Muhairbi, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at TECOM Group, said, "Inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, TECOM Group is committed to contributing to shaping an inclusive society. Through WeWalk, we seek to empower people of determination, including adults and children with autism. We thank the event’s partners and hope that their invaluable contributions will inspire other businesses to give back to the community through similar initiatives."
Reem Al Hajri, Project Manager at Emirates Autism Society and mother of one of the participants with autism, said she felt fortunate to participate in an initiative that brought the community together to support the different needs of individuals with autism.
Commending TECOM Group for its role in educating the public about autism, Mona Ibrahim, Occupational Therapy Manager at Dubai Autism Centre, said, "Part of Dubai Autism Centre’s mission is to enhance awareness, sensitivity and a sense of responsibility towards individuals with ASD among the community. On behalf of the Centre, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to every participant and volunteer who turned up to join the WeWalk 2019 edition in support of our cause. The initiative has provided a real opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals with autism and to build an inclusive society."