Her Excellency Dr. Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, Executive Director of the Social Monitoring and Innovation Sector at the Department of Community Development (DCD) in Abu Dhabi, said: “The World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated globally by the United Nations on 21st of March every year, so we can call for equal rights for people with down syndrome and communicate with stakeholders to bring about positive change that promote their inclusion in society and ensure access to their rights.
Al Hyas added: “This day is also a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, expertise and knowledge to introduce more initiatives and projects that fulfills their rights, as they are an integral part of all communities. It is an invitation for everyone to continuously empower them to reach their full potential and engage in the society.”
She also said: “At DCD, we are keen to mobilize and capitalize all efforts to support POD inclusion so they take part of our community development and growth journey as we are striving to make our community inclusive; in which People with Down Syndrome enjoy all rights and feel protected and empowered. These efforts are inspired by the vision of our wise leadership to provide all necessary support, action plans and effective implementation mechanisms for people of determination.”
Al Hyas referred to the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination, which was launched in 2020 with the participation of more than 28 local and federal government entities, and includes 6 main pillars - health and rehabilitation, social care, education, employment, universal access and enablers. The strategy is in the stage of implementation through a number of initiatives in partnership with various sectors in Abu Dhabi which reflects the collective and integrated efforts of all entities emphasizing the rights-based model of disability and that POD inclusion agenda is everyone responsibility. This will help establishing a tolerant and inclusive society for All.
“The UAE, and since its establishment by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, has focused on entrenching the concept of humanity towards all people. Our wise leadership has inherited these values and has turned them into a lifestyle.” Al Hyas said.