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Abu Dhabi’s Pioneering Step Towards Inclusivity for Disabled and Elderly

DALL·E 2024 01 23 13.00.42 A modern accessible cityscape in Abu Dhabi showcasing inclusivity for disabled and elderly individuals. The scene includes wide well lit pedestrian

Abu Dhabi, in a landmark initiative, is set to enhance the quality of life for its disabled and elderly residents through a comprehensive inclusivity drive. This new strategy, spearheaded by the Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development in collaboration with Aldar Properties, promises to transform public accessibility and services for these crucial segments of society.

Enhancing Accessibility and Services

The core of this initiative lies in improving physical and digital access to public facilities, transportation, housing, and a range of essential services, including education, health, social care, and entertainment. The plan commences with a pilot phase on Yas Island, set to unfold in the first quarter of this year. It will provide a template for broader implementation across the emirate.

The drive goes beyond just physical modifications; it encompasses training for staff at various service points, like hotels and schools, to better cater to the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities. This holistic approach aims to ensure that these individuals can fully participate in and enjoy all aspects of public life.

Job Creation and Community Empowerment

An integral aspect of this inclusivity drive is job creation. The initiative aims to generate over 100 job opportunities specifically for people with disabilities. This move not only provides employment but also fosters a sense of empowerment and community involvement.

In line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, Abu Dhabi also strives to achieve the status of an Elderly Friendly City. This recognition will further endorse the city’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all its residents.

Community Feedback and Future Vision

The response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. Individuals like Noura Al Blooki, a digital media editor at Abu Dhabi Media, express anticipation for the project, emphasizing the need for tailored solutions for various disabilities. Older community members also welcome the initiative, suggesting specific supports like dedicated parking spaces and discount cards for seniors.

An impact assessment scheduled for 2025 will gauge the success of the Yas Island phase, setting the stage for the expansion of the project to the rest of Abu Dhabi in 2026.

Conclusion

Abu Dhabi’s inclusivity drive marks a significant step towards building a society where every individual, regardless of age or ability, feels valued and supported. By enhancing accessibility and creating job opportunities, Abu Dhabi is not only improving the lives of its disabled and elderly residents but also enriching the social fabric of the emirate. This initiative is a shining example of how inclusive policies can create a more compassionate and cohesive community.

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