Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi’s Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an has inaugurated a gym dedicated to People of Determination (PoD) at the Zayed Port.
The new facility, Desert Shield Fitness Gym, was inaugurated in the presence of Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Zayed Higher Organisation’s (ZHO) board of directors.
Equipped to facilitate diverse and inclusive sports activities, and an active programme of community events, the gym is the first facility of its kind in the UAE and will provide an ideal venue for People of Determination to develop their sporting, social and interpersonal skills.
The opening also saw the presence of Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, chairman of the Department of Community Development (DCD), Abdulla Alhumaidan, general secretary of ZHO, Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, DCD undersecretary, and Salama AlAmeemi, Ma’an director general.
The gym has been set up in partnership between the public, private and third sector. and demonstrates the creativity and social enterprise nurtured by the first cohort of Ma’an Social Incubator (MSI), which focused on PoD. Ma’an supported the project through its Grants Programme, and recognised it with Ma’an Social Certificate.
Desert Shield aims to empower PoD lives, enhancing their wellbeing and inclusion into mainstream society.
“With the empowerment of PoD being a top priority for the DCD, the launch of the Desert Shield gym signals our determination to drive social enterprises and accelerate innovation to tackle social challenges. Through the convergence of material support from community, social work of non-profit organisations, and corporate social responsibility of the private sector, we seek to better serve the needs of any important segment of the community, while achieving our broader vision of building a collaborative communities,” Al Ameemi said.
“At Ma’an, we will continue to prioritise creative entrepreneurship and business-focused solutions that support Abu Dhabi’s social priorities, and make a real difference to the lives of its people,” she added.
Dr Layla Alhyas, executive director of community development at DCD, lauded Ma’an for its relentless efforts to launch a fully equipped, inclusive gym, in accordance with the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination. The Strategy aims to empower PoD, and ensure their participation in a variety of fields through the provision of appropriate services and resources.
Alhyas said the services offered by sports facilities should be made available to all segments of the society, including PoD. Offering tailormade services offers individuals chances to become more involved in society, ensuring their wellbeing.
The DCD is keen to collaborate with partners to enhance the level of inclusion in Abu Dhabi, which will, in turn, make Abu Dhabi a city that encourages and supports PoD.
The MSI is a dynamic and emerging hub for social impact projects in Abu Dhabi that encourages imaginative solutions to address social, cultural, and environmental challenges. Through a biannual call for new cohorts, the incubator offers resources and support in the form of investments, learning and development, mentorship, and networking opportunities to up to twelve successful applicants to help them to innovate, grow and thrive.