Dubai: As the UAE turns 45, Emiratis working with Dubai Municipality are taking pride in the way various segments of the community have grown and got empowered along with the country.
During the 45th UAE National Day celebrations at the civic body on Monday, employees representing the young and the old, the women and the disabled shared with Gulf News their gratitude towards the leaders and the nation for the all-encompassing development they have all experienced in the community.
Naseeb Obaid, a senior draftsman with the survey department who is affected with polio said some decades ago, there was little attention given to the people with disabilities.
“But now, things have changed and the whole attitude of the community has changed. The country, especially Dubai, has developed a lot in terms of accessibility and services for the disabled,” said Obaid who won the UAE’s first silver medal in wheelchair race in Sydney Paralympics in 2000.
Obaid Mohammad Saif Al Gharbi Al Zaabi, another senior draftsman with the same department with deformities in his hands said: “I have a decent job, I drive a car, I am married and have seven children. I used to be an athlete and became a coach later. I am happy and proud to be the coach of Mohammad Gaith who won a medal at Rio Paralympics in wheel chair race. All these achievements would not have been possible without the great support from our government, leaders and senior officials.”
Wheelchair-bound Nassim Bilal, a support officer with the Planning Department, said she also had witnessed a lot of challenges as a child with special needs. “Now, we get things that we need without even asking for them.”
Mouza Ahmad Mashabich, head of planning and development office said she is proud to be an Emirati woman. “The National Day reminds us of how our families used to live, how we are living now and how we are heading to our future. Emirati women are now adorning the most strategic roles. Gone are the days when women were confined to their house work. The government gave us the chance to grow… the women were given good education, empowered with good jobs.”
Echoing the same sentiments, Alia Al Hashemi, principal corporate communication officer said: “I feel that the country has done a lot for the women in terms of giving respect, opportunity to work, to develop and reach out. That means a lot to us. We want to thank our leaders for letting us study, reach out and grow and contribute to the community.”
Yousuf Al Janahi, 23, a media officer and one of the youngest employees with the municipality said: “As a young Emirati, I can say that we youngsters are very proud of what the country has achieved and we want to give our country the best in return. We are happy that our country is home to various nationalities and they all join us in celebrating our National Day.”
Ebrahim Ahmad Mohammad Ali, 60, a customer care supervisor, 60 said: “The speciality of the UAE is… our population is very less compared to many other big countries… but the kind of growth we have achieved is enormous, thanks to the vision of our great leaders. From a country that once depended on fishing and pearl diving men, we have reached a level where we are preparing to send our men to Mars. I am glad and lucky to have witnessed all these developments.”
Patriotism and the spirit of union ran high at the Dubai Municipality’s headquarters as Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director-general of Dubai Municipality, assistant generals, directors and other officials witnessed the performances of traditional Emirati dances and patriotic songs. Most of the officials and employees waved the UAE flag and wore the shawl in flag colours while authentic Emirati dishes were distributed at traditional tents.