International Disability Day Dates: 19-20 December 2017
Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Mish’al bin Majid bin Abdulaziz, Governor of Jeddah, the Vice President for Development, Dr. Amin bin Yousef Naaman, inaugurated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2017 event at the King Abdul Aziz University. This event held at King Faisal Conference Center organized by the Deanship of Students Affairs for Special Needs, drew the participation of 22 organization, with almost 1000 attendees.
IEEE-Western Saudi Arabia (WSA) SIGHT under the leadership of the Section’s chair, Dr. Hafidh Al Samarrai is the initiator of this annual event and has taken a lead role in organizing, planning, and conducting this event since January 2017.
IEEE-WSA SIGHT was also responsible for coordinating between the different organizations participating including, Marrakiz Alahya, Reaayat Alajyal, King Fahad Public Library and King Abdulaziz University to organize this event. SIGHT also played a leading role in developing the plan for the event, the time schedule, and the workshops.
The Vice President for Development, during his tour of the exhibition held as part of this celebration, reviewed three projects implemented by the University, as initiatives related to National Transition Program 2020 of Saudi Arabia. These projects were all concerned with the promoting of the status of people with special needs within a university environment: The Project providing the blind path “Bluetooth”, the development of English language curricula in the form of “Daisy Format” for the blind on mobile phones and the exhibition of mobile awareness life on wheels.
During the exhibition, IEEE-WSA SIGHT also showcased a number of technologies and applications which can be of assistance to those with Special Needs in their day-to-day life.
The Main Event
The day’s ceremonies began with the recitation of verses from the holy Quran and continued with a presentation entitled “Department of Life” focusing on people with special needs and the need to expand what’s on offer to them through the preparation of the place and provision a variety of services targeted to them.
This was followed by a speech given by the Secretary General of the Neighborhood Centers in Jeddah, Engineer Hassan Zahrani, reviewing the efforts of the centers, in the service of people with Special needs, through their employment, their integration in the community and the setting up of programs and forums for their own. He also praised the holding of this celebration and the active participation of the organizations and people interested with special needs people.
The President of the Generations Welfare Society Dr. Ibrahim Muhanna Al-Muhanna, speaking next stressed the importance of celebrating those with special needs by activating practical initiatives in raising the level of service provided to them. He stressed that this celebration gives a clear indication of the University’s keen interest in serving the people with special needs. He also noted the many initiatives and projects launched for people with special needs in order to better serve them by the University.
Then a play entitled “Point of View” was presented to the students of the university with special needs, as the first production in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to represent the heroes of students with different disabilities “visual-motor-nervous” written by the great writer Lenin Ramli, directed by Faisal Harbi, From the judging committee at the Third Theater Festival where the first participation was for people with special needs in the festival.
In his speech given on behalf of HE Dr. Abdulrahman bin Obaid Al Youbi, the University’s Vice-Dean for Development, Dr. Amin bin Yusuf Al-Youbi welcomed the participants and said, “King Abdulaziz University celebrates in December each year the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To achieve a learning environment that is equal to everyone regardless of their physical and sensory abilities.”
“At this year’s ceremony we are celebrating a number of achievements such as the establishment of the first agency for people with special needs in the Kingdom’s universities within the Deanship of Student Affairs and the launching of projects within the initiative to promote the status of people with special needs at the university, which was funded by the National Transition Program 2020. The three projects are providing the blind path “Bluetooth”, the development of English language curricula in the form of “Daisy Format” for the blind on mobile phones and the exhibition of mobile awareness life on wheels.”
He added that “one of the proudest in the service of the issues of people with special needs at the University of the “founder” is to change minds about their issues and their rights, there are high committees under the chairmanship of the Director and an executive working to study needs and adjust the course when needed, and pledge to all to continue tireless efforts in order to be the first university in the region to serve people with special needs.” At the end of the ceremony, the Under-Secretary for Development, Dr. Amin bin Yousef Naaman, honored the sponsors and participants in the ceremony.
The activities of the International Day of Disability are marked by a number of sessions and workshops. Dr. Ibrahim Al-Muhanna runs the “Visual Disability Course”, in which Isaac Harsi presents the aids to visual impairment. The second session focuses on the deaf and mute, and includes a workshop by Dr. Nabil Al-Hashemi, “Light Sensitivity and Autistic Children” workshop by Dr. Hanan Baqbas, followed by a workshop: “Media Coverage on Persons with Disabilities” by Aya Jibril, and then the experience of Professor Autek Mulla on “the correct integration of comprehensive autism”, Professor Ashgan al-Ghamdi concluded sessions for the first day with a paper entitled “the impact of technology on the life of blind women”.
IEEE-WSA SIGHT hopes, based on the very positive feedback received from the participants that this will be the start of a new series of events focusing on People with Special Needs.