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18 July 2024

Over 1,000 people participate in Walk for Inclusion


Attended by Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, ‘’Walk for Inclusion'' took place on Hudayriat Island during the weekend. Over a thousand residents, families, and friends of People of Determination came together to mark and highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance in society.

The event was organised by Special Olympics UAE in partnership with the Department of Community Development and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education (MRC-NECC), managed by the New England Center for Children.

The family-friendly evening included a 3km group walk, starting from the Abu Dhabi cycling track and going through Al Hudayriat Heritage Walk. Families, friends, and supporters of People of Determination walked together to raise awareness and educate society on the best ways to utilize their skills and integrate everyone socially.

The walk also included several activities, provided by the community partners throughout the event to engage support groups and People of Determination and their families. Activities included photo booth and board games, sport activations, basic health checks for participants, and parents’ awareness talks by specialists. The walk also includes an awarding session for all participants and strategic partners in appreciation for their support.

Talal Al Hashemi, National Director, Special Olympics UAE, said: "We were delighted to see the huge participation from the community in this event, as the numbers exceeded last year's. With their special abilities and unique interests, People of Determination make such an impressive contribution to society. We are very keen to empower our athletes and ensure their inclusion through sports and other social activities."

He continued: "We would like to thank the Department of Community Development and the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education - managed by the New England Center for Children, for their outstanding contribution to this year's edition of the walk. We also extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all partners and volunteers organizing this event logistically. We hope this excellent community participation continues its spirit across society to leverage integration and inclusion everywhere.

Dr. Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at the Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi, said: "Our participation in this community event highlights the importance of all initiatives that fall under the umbrella of Abu Dhabi's strategy for People of Determination, to empower and integrate them into society. We are on a mission to transform the Emirate of Abu Dhabi into an enabling city for People of Determination. They are an integral part of society."

He also confirmed that the Department collaborates with various partners, such as Special Olympics UAE and Mohammed Bin Rashed Center for Special Education, Operated by New England Center for Children (MRC-NECC), to ensure the inclusion of People of Determination in various fields, and to raise the quality of their lives in society.

Dr Pam Olsen, Director at MRC-NECC, said: “The Mohammed Bin Rashed Center for Special Education Operated by New England Center for Children (MRC-NECC) is proud of our continued work and collaboration with Special Olympics UAE and the Department of Community Development for our 2nd Walk for Inclusion! It has been amazing to see the Abu Dhabi community gather together to support the inclusion of all people across the Emirate. We look forward to watching this movement grow one step at a time.”

Special Olympics UAE works alongside UAE partners, including private sector companies, sports and healthcare institutions, community facilities and schools, to increase the support of People of Determination with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many events and initiatives are carried out throughout the year to support People of Determination, their families, and caregivers.