Dubai: Aster Volunteers, the global corporate social responsibility initiative of Aster DM Healthcare hosted its 2nd Annual Common Ground event on Monday morning to mark the International Day for Disabled Persons.
The event saw Aster DM Healthcare employees and members of the Dubai Club for People of Determination gather at the celerabtions. Other attendees included representatives of SENSES – Residential Day Care for Special Needs, The Dubai Autism Centre, Vishakha School of Dance & Music for Special Children and Dubai Centre for Special Needs.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 11 percent of the UAE population live with a disability, with the UAE government placing an emphasis on driving inclusion.
Recruitment of determined people
Aster DM Healthcare, so far, has recruited 108 differently abled individuals, across different units, as part of one of the 6 pillars of the Aster Volunteers initiative - providing employment opportunities to the differently abled.
The Common Ground event, in its second year of inception has aimed to not just create awareness about the inclusivity of differently abled persons into the workplace and everyday lives but also to encourage differently abled children from various special needs organisations to participate in a day filled with fun and laughter.
The event was inaugurated by Dr. Azad Moopen, Founder Chairman and Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare and a keynote address was delivered by Chief Guest Shobika Kalra, Founder of ‘Wings of Angelz’--a disability awareness group in UAE.
Super heroes theme
The Common Ground event took place at the Dubai Club for People of Determination. A ‘super heroes’ themed fashion show titled ‘Beyond Labels’ was participated by differently abled children from The Dubai Autism Centre and Vishakha School of Dance & Music for Special Children and Dubai Centre for Special Needs.
Aster Volunteer and costume designer, Sushma Nair dressed the children while Aster Volunteer, dancer and special kids dance and art expert, Vishaka Verma choreographed the ramp walk and the group dance.
The flagship activity celebrated inclusivity alongside music and dance performances by differently abled children to mark the occasion and empower people of determination across the UAE.
In addition, as testimony to Aster DM Healthcare’s commitment to the community, Dr. Azad Moopen announced the launch of their sign language training program for Aster Volunteers which will soon be available on the Aster Volunteers website.
Motivating the communities
Dr Moopen said: “While each and very person is unique, what brings us all together is our admiration for stories of determination. Aster Volunteers proudly hosts the ‘Common Ground’ event to mark this global occasion with the aim of inspiring and motivating our communities.”
Thani Juma Berregad, Chairman of Dubai Club for People of Determination added: “We truly believe that people of determination have a lot to contribute to our communities and should not feel limited by their different abilities. The ‘Common Ground’ event is a fantastic initiative to empower those individuals who show us the true meaning of determination and hard work every day, and we are honored to be a part of it.”
An event to show talent
Sajita Gopal, mother of determined girl Vaishnavi Gopal, at the event stated, “All these years our children had no opportunities to express themselves. The ‘Common Ground’ event has provided my daughter with a platform to showcase her talent. We, as parents, are proud to see our children perform on stage and enjoy at the same time knowing that the society has become more accepting of the special needs of our children.” Vaishnavi, 24 years old, suffers from Cerebral Palsy, a disability that affects that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills. She is currently pursuing her undergraduate studies while working as an Assistant Librarian in a reputed school in Dubai.
The “Common Ground” event will be an annual feature by the Aster Volunteers team as part of continued efforts to raise awareness about the inclusivity of different abled persons in our day-to-day lives. In addition to the above event, there will be unit-wise celebrations across all locations to raise awareness about the same.
Aster Volunteers is a corporate social responsibility initiative of Aster DM Healthcare that has impacted over 1 million lives globally.