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ADVOCACY MEETING – 06th February 2020

Marilena Di Coste discussing with group of people during meetingThe Butterfly Foundation held the third Advocacy Meeting in Ma’an, International Tower, Abu Dhabi, on the 06th of February 2020. The aim of the Advocacy Meetings is to share feelings, experiences and information in the disability field, and to take actions together and in collaboration with the main stakeholders, to improve the lives of People of Determination in Abu Dhabi. Although the personal stories are confidential, we share the findings of the meetings, in order to keep everybody informed on what we do and our progresses. We are delighted with the participation and interest in the meeting by People of Determination, Services providers, Government agencies and families. We are particularly grateful to the newly appointed Head of Inclusion, Ms. Nancy Karaan of the Department Community Development, Abu Dhabi for attending. Her presence meant a lot to all and open a strong channel of communication and collaboration.

We had with us Ms Shaika Al Mansoori active advocate for People of Determination and representative of The Reflection Art Gallery, Fatima Al Hashmi of the Community Relationship Department, at Mohamed bin Rashid Special Education -The New England Center for Children, Osama Nashwan of Intercare Health Center and all mothers and families actively advocating for their children.

We have read the minute of the previous meeting and we discussed of the following:

  • Marilena Di Coste in front of presentation screenEducation is still a primary topic on the agenda, especially the enforcement of the Federal law No 29/2006 providing inclusive education. It appears evident the necessity of a framework/policy/law to define a common ground for inclusive education in Abu Dhabi. We will try to have to our next meeting a representative from Adek.
  • The knowhow of teachers on specifics impairments i.e. autism and the need of further training.
  • The necessity of outreach services.
  • The necessity for insurances to cover Occupational therapy, Speech therapy and other services within the school setting.
  • The value of connection to maximize the efforts
  • Fatema would hope for mothers of children with disability to be able to utilize their expertise and skills to help children that cannot afford school fees.
  • School fees still are not affordable for many families.
  • Shaika shared her experience as a trainer for children of determination. As a blind educator she can strongly connect and understand the needs of the children and empower them and their families to change attitude and mindset toward disability.

Marilena Di Coste discussing with mother and child during meeting Marilena Di Coste discussing with woman during meeting Marilena Di Coste holding hands with woman during meeting


Next actions:

  1. We will collaborate with the Development Community Department and meet Abu Dhabi Health Authority to understand Auneq Medical Card system of exclusivity.
  2. We will connect with ADEK and invite a representative to the next meeting.
  3. We will carry out a workshop on Advocacy and Communication to Empower on the Thursday the 13th at Yas Mall at The Exchange Pop Up space for Incubators.
  4. A Workshop on Empowerment and Communication for families at Mrcnecc is on the pipeline.

Although some of the topics treated are not of easy resolution and require some time, The Butterfly Foundation is committed to engage with all the public and private stakeholders in Abu Dhabi, to collaborate to find answers and a way to improve the living condition of People with Determination and their inclusion in the community.