Santa steals hearts of special needs kids

DUBAI - It was like Christmas in the middle of summer when Santa Claus, the jolly old man from the Northern Pole, stole the hearts of children at the Dubai Centre for Special Needs, when he visited the children's home on Tuesday.

By (By a staff reporter)

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Published: Wed 5 May 2004, 10:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:23 PM

Distributing toys from his 'real' workshop tucked away in the Northern most region of Finland, Santa enthralled the children with his boisterous demeanor and jolly nature.

Organised as a part of the Finnish Tourism Promotion, the event saw many children ecstatic at the sight of their hero handing out reindeers, snowmen and other traditional toys.

Said Fatima Ejazmi, an eight-year-old afflicted with cerebral palsy, "I really liked meeting Santa as he loves all the children equally and I love his long beard. He gave me a reindeer which I'm going to show to my parents and I can't wait for Christmas time when he comes back to us."

Dressed in his traditional red suit, high boots and flowing white beard, Santa offered a break to the children from their daily routine, many of who were visibly excited to see the old man in the flesh.

Seven-year-old Rohan said that he liked talking to Santa and loved to see his belly jiggle. "I said 'Hi' to Santa and he gave me a snowman. I did see him earlier on TV but couldn't believe that he was really here when we saw him during the morning assembly. But when we shook hands, that's when I realised that it was really him."

Aila Immonen, from the Finnish desk of Fair Wind Travel Limited, said that the idea of bringing Santa down to Dubai was to promote the idea of spreading goodwill and cheer amongst the children, through out the year instead of focusing on it just on one particular day.

"We wanted to bring to Dubai the authentic Santa Claus from the heart of Finland's Northern region. Santa wants to spread his message of love to everyone and to teach children to love and respect each other," she said.

Mubarak, an eight-year-old afflicted with cerebral palsy, said that he wanted Santa's glasses and wanted to arm wrestle with him - which he eventually did.

"I can beat anyone at arm wrestling and managed to beat Santa as well! The little reindeer that he gave me will sit in my house and I will be reminded of him when I play with my toy," he said with a naughty smile.

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