Dubai: The Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities will host a ‘Unity Run’ on November 25 at Al Mamzar Beach Corniche to celebrate the ‘diversity of abilities’ in the UAE.
The 3km walk and 7km run will be untimed and open to participants of all abilities, backgrounds, and ages.
“Side by side, abled and disabled will take on the Unity Run, all proudly wearing the UAE colours on their race pack T-shirts,” said Ruth Dickinson, managing partner, FittGROUP Middle East, and founder of the initiative.
Students at the centre are also calling on the public to participate by sending a message to encourage everyone to “have fun under the sun for a good cause”.
The non-competitive run aims to bring together people who can run, walk, and are on wheels, and is encouraging the participation of the visually and mobility impaired through the launch of a buddy system during the run.
“We are carrying out a drive to encourage volunteers to take part in the buddy system and be a companion for participants with special needs and who need assistance. All participants will receive a certificate of appreciation at the finish line,” said Dickinson.
VIP parking will be available for all participants with disabilities, with the 7km run taking place at 8am, and the 3km walk starting at 8.30am.
The centre, along with the event’s sponsors, have reached out to special need centres and primary and high schools across the country to encourage students and families to participate.
The initiative will raise money for the Al Noor facilities through registration fees, and will raise awareness about various disabilities. All participants with special needs will enter the run free of charge.
“The run is non-competitive, it is a personal race, a victory over adversity,” said Dickinson.
The unity run will take place under the patronage of Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, honorary patron of Al Noor Training Centre and chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.
Currently, the Al Noor Centre has 275 students from 35 different nationalities, of which 10 per cent are Emirati. The student-teacher ratio is three to four teachers per 10 students, to ensure that each child’s needs are met and individual attention is given.
Ian Fairservice, vice-chairman of the Board of Al Noor Centre and managing partner of Motivate Publishing, pointed out the importance of fund-raising events to support the rising needs of the training centre and to develop and improve its facilities and services for the growing number of students with disabilities.
“The Al Noor Center is the first of its kind to open in the UAE back in November 21, 1981. It will be celebrating its 35th anniversary next month, just before the 45th National Day,” he said.
Event: The Unity Run
Date: November 25, 2016
Entrance fees: All participants with special needs are free of charge