Start of new life for special needs people

DUBAI — The special needs people are normal people who should enjoy equal rights to live, to love and be loved by others.

By Lina Abdul Rahman

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Published: Sat 28 May 2005, 10:40 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:33 PM

Being disabled — whether physically or mentally — is not the end of life.

On the contrary, it can be the beginning of a new life full of hope and happiness. Special needs people feel wonderful when they see love and admiration in others eyes rather than looks of sympathy which leave them devastated, cursing themselves for their disability.

General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, has succeeded in making the dreams of special needs people come true by lending them a supportive and loving hand in helping them marry their life partners even as he took the financial burden of marriage upon himself. The Dh70,000 grant given by General Shaikh Mohammed to 54 brides who celebrated their marriage at a grand ceremony held on May 25 at Madinat Arena will always be cherished and remembered by the special needs people.

Khaleej Times interviewed and felicitated the grooms who felt very happy to see happiness in the eyes of thousands of people who wished them the very best in their new life. It was heartening to note that a majority of the wives of the special needs people were normal women, either from the UAE or from other Arab countries.

Adel Sultan, a special needs groom suffering from paralysis and working at the University City in Sharjah, praised the humanitarian initiative of Gen. Shaikh Mohammed and said that without the grant, he would have hesitated to marry.

“I hope my wife and me will succeeded in our new life. My wife is a normal woman from Bahrain and I got to know her through my family. From the moment I was introduced to her, I began admiring her and she insisted on marrying me, overlooking my disability. I feel great marrying the person I love without being worried about the financial burden of marriage,” he said.

Ahmed Hamdan Khalfan, who is visually impaired and is working at Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, said he had married a Moroccan who was introduced to him by her niece.

“Being blind is not the end of life. I know I can’t see my wife with my eyes, but I can see her with my heart,” he said.

Salah Yousef, who is a midget and working with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, said he was introduced to his wife, a 32-year-old UAE national also a midget, by his family.

“I feel great to find a life partner who is as short as I am. I used to feel bad and ashamed to see people mocking at my height and I used to prefer being isolated than being seen around with people. When I started working, I was treated with respect, and appreciation came my way from my colleagues. I never thought of marrying as finding another midget is very hard, but when I got to know that there was a female midget, I didn’t hesitate in proposing to her as I wanted to start a family,” he said and thanked Gen. Shaikh Mohammed for sparing no efforts in removing all the obstacles they face in finding good job opportunities or finding their life partners.

Abdul Hadi Daouq, a UAE national of Lebanese origin working at Dubai Immigration, expressed his gratitude to Gen. Shaikh Mohammed who has been a constant source of encouragement for people like him.

“I feel great marrying the person I love since we too are normal people with hearts capable of love. The mass wedding is the first of its kind and I hope other countries will follow the glorious path of the UAE in getting special needs people married. Some people have a wrong perception of special needs people and think we are beasts who can eat others. It hurt me a lot when I heard a woman visiting a special needs centre saying she was scared the children might attack her. People should look at us in a more respectful manner and must know that we cannot be blamed for our disability,” he said.

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