Innovation center to teach disabled about sustainability

Filed on February 23, 2017
Innovation center to teach disabled about sustainability

(Photo by Neeraj Murali.)

The facility will also receive students of other centers for special needs

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched a specialized innovation center to enhance creativity among disabled students and integrate them into the country's vision of sustainability.

The center is a new learning facility, added to Dubai Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled in line with the Year of Giving, to prepare students with disabilities for the job market and include them in the innovation drive implemented by the government.

It was inaugurated on Thursday by His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the supreme committee for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, and HE Najla bin Mohammed Al Awar, Cabinet member and Minister of Community Development, along with HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.

Through its eight corners, DEWA Innovation Center is equipped with robotics, smart and interactive screens and 3D printing to teach over 150 students of different physical and mental disabilities the soft skills needed in the workplace, and educate them on renewable energy.

The facility will also receive students of other centers for special needs.

"The special needs segment has to understand impact of these technologies over next generation, and they have to be aware of how to use it since they're also part of the society," said Khawla Al Mehairi, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communication at DEWA.

She added the utility service worked for the past six months with the Dubai Rehabilitation Center to introduce the right tools that fit different needs. Al Mehairi noted it is part of the government's vision to achieve resident happiness.

"We needed to program the robots, for example, to suit their needs. Many disabled students have strong visual abilities, so understanding their learning curve is important to providing them with the right tools that will help them translate their ideas into actions."

DEWA currently has 16 employees with disabilities on board, with goals of hiring more in the future. The facility is meant to increase number of disabled employees across the country through equipping them with skills.

"Breaking the ice and limitations, while supporting families with low financial capabilities is the main goal," she said.

The eight corners of DEWA Innovation Center

1: Fantasy Corner: A smart interactive screen to support the imagination and creativity of students with disabilities.

2: The Junior Innovator Corner: free learning tools and devices to develop the mobility of disabled students by making simplified models for robots, geometric shapes and architectural models.

3: The Solar Energy Corner: contributes to getting environmental concepts linked to disabled students' lives through a set of environmental tools designed to generate power, such as homes, fans, and electric vehicles.

4:The Robot Corner: contains several kinds of buildable moving robots, such as cranes, trucks and automatic vehicles. At this corner, students can build robots according to guidebooks or their calculations.

5: The NOW Robot Corner: A 50cm-tall robot that can be programmed using simple language.

6 :The 3D Corner: Contains two state-of-the-art 3D printing machines to enable students to print cups, fruits and toys, and produce 3D arm casts or leg braces for treatment/ 

7: The Reading Corner: to enable students to read individually or in groups with smart pens that help in storytelling.  

8: DEWA's Smart Services: allows the students to make use of the Ash'ir initiative by DEWA for people with hearing impairment.



Sherouk Zakaria

"Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."

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