Places are added to the map in the event that they are actually evaluated by ZHO or if such places are directly contacted to confirm accessibility for people of determination. Image Credit: WAM

ABU DHABI: As schools reopen after the winter break, as many as 206 education facilities in Abu Dhabi can now be easily accessed by people of dtermination, thanks to a new initiative by the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO), in cooperation with the Emirates Schools Establishment and a number of its strategic partners in the field of tourism and hospitality.

Accpording to WAM, the authorities have announced the completion of the first smart geographical map ‘Smart’ to support people of determination’s access to 296 establishments prepared to receive them at the level of Abu Dhabi in various sectors covering Abu Dhabi Island and its suburbs, Al Ain region and Al Dhafra region, of which 206 are educational facilities.

This ZHO’s initiative comes in line with its strategy and continuous efforts in coordination and cooperation with the concerned institutions, including the Emirates Schools Establishment, to make Abu Dhabi an accessible and friendly city for people of determination.

ZHO began developing the smart map at the beginning of 2022, with the aim of strengthening the emirate’s status as a friend of people of determination, which contributes to reaching all facilities equipped to receive them at the level of the emirate, and help families and parents to reach those facilities that suit their children.

After a series of visits of ZHO’s representatives to inspect all establishments throughout the emirate to learn about accessibility, establishments having facilities adapted to people of determination have been verified. This feature will allow people of determination and their parents to search for services that can be accessed directly via Google Maps and know the facilities inside the place before visiting it.

ZHO has confirmed that it is working with all the competent authorities in the emirate to facilitate access for people of determination, pointing to the importance of joint cooperation between the various concerned authorities to make various service facilities, including educational and service facilities such as airports, air carriers, hotels, various means of transportation, communication, websites, shopping centres and other facilitations and services friendly to people of determination.

Inspiring model

Abdullah Abdul Ali Al Humaidan, ZHO’s Secretary-General, emphasised that people of determination represent a basic pillar of development in society and constitute a contributing element in various sectors, with their strong will and superior and qualitative capabilities, which are harnessed to advance their aspirations and provide incentives for them by presenting and implementing initiatives capable of meeting their needs. This is in line with the strategy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for People of Determination and the National Policy for People of Determination.

“People of Determination are a major component of the society of the UAE, and our wise leadership gives them all the attention and care and works to empower them in society as a whole, and the educational facilities in the emirate are like all sectors in this field and, even more, are the most important sectors. ZHO seeks to relieve parents and families of the people of determination of hardship of searching for places that suit their children in all the facilities, services and environmental preparation that enable people of determination reach them naturally,” he added.

Al Humaidan indicated that the UAE is an inspiring model in supporting and facilitating environmental preparation for various groups of people of determination, due to its keenness to adopt advanced solutions and provide everything that supports their full societal integration. ZHO, as a government entity responsible for providing care and rehabilitation for these groups in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, plays a pivotal role in empowering them in cooperation with strategic partners in all sectors.

He pointed to Abu Dhabi’s commitment to work mechanisms that are in line with its strategy to support people of determination and contribute to achieving the emirate’s vision, according to an integrated approach that adopts a new global standard for their empowerment and integration into society.

Empowering system

Nafie Ali Al Hammadi, Executive Director of the Support Services Sector at ZHO, confirmed that the organisation, in cooperation with various strategic partners, aims to provide an inclusive and empowering community system for people of determination in all sectors, explaining that “ZHO” will undertake the entry of all the information received from tourist facilities and places, and will maintain this map as an ongoing project while continuing to add information permanently according to developments that occur.

He indicated that Google platform was chosen given that 70 per cent of smartphone owners use it to get directions, search for addresses, and see tourist landmarks. The map is accessible via various types of smart phones, desktop computers, laptops and tablets.

Dania Moqdad Al-Adhami, Civil Engineer at the Organisation’s Department of Environment and Occupational Health and Safety said: “These maps allow residents and tourists to find all the services and tourist attractions that provide services for people of determination throughout the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Places are added to the map in the event that they are actually evaluated by ZHO or if such places are directly contacted to confirm accessibility for people of determination”.

Concerning the facilities adapted to the people of determination that have been listed on the map, she said: “They include 206 schools inclusive of people of determination, 12 tourist facilities, 35 hotels of various categories, three mosques, three high education facilities, seven shopping centres, seven cultural places, seven restaurants, two hospitals and 15 public gardens.”