A new weekly documentary series by Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation will feature people of determination across a range of professional fields including art, sport, and media.
Stories of Inclusion comes as part of Riwaq Al Fikr, an initiative launched by Admaf in 2010 to promote cultural and artistic dialogues. It is being released as a tribute to Abdul Aziz Najm, the blind Emirati journalist who died last year.
The seven-episode series will begin streaming on Wednesday with two new ones released every week. It will be available to watch on the Admaf website as well as their social media accounts.
The series will be hosted by Sharifa Yateem, the first Emirati Board Certified Behaviour Analyst, with a graduate-level certification.
The debut episode is titled Nothing is Impossible and profiles Mohamed Hammadi, the Emirati athlete who won two medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Hammadi also claimed the UAE’s first medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The first episode will also feature Fatima Al Balooshi, 28, an Emirati social media influencer and member of the Equestrian and Poetry Cultural Club, who is a survivor of polio. The series will also explore Al Balooshi’s volunteering efforts.
The second episode is titled Painting, Illustrations and will feature James Casaki, a motivational artist of determination raised in Dubai, as well as Abdulla Lutfi, who is famous for his humourous, black-and-white drawings inspired by UAE culture.
Pianist and composer Aser Hammash will highlight his battle with Asperger’s syndrome in the third episode, titled Rhythm of Life. The episode will explore how his condition came together with his gift of music.
Fatma Al Jassim will be featured in episode six, titled Literature and Media. Al Jassim is the first Emirati to become internationally certified in the field of professional accessibility and the first Emirati youth delegate at the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The episode will focus on Al Jassim’s efforts to educate the community on the art of dealing with people of determination and how to overcome related challenges.
The fifth episode will be titled Advocacy — Part 1 and features Maha El Mhreibi, founder of Hand Speakers Initiative, and member Ayesha Al Zbeidi. The episode demonstrates how the initiative aims to educate the community on sign language and contribute to its dissemination and integration into the UAE society by offering basic Emirati and American Sign Language workshops as well as national anthem performances in sign language.
Advocacy — Part Two profiles Chaica Al Qassimi, a prominent UAE athlete. The episode explores her various achievements as well as the challenges she has been facing. Introducing Chaica as a champion of inclusiveness for people with intellectual disabilities, the interview also highlights the key role played by Special Olympics UAE in promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition.
In the final episode, El Mhreibi will be interviewing Hadeel Ayoub. The Saudi inventor has developed a smart glove that translates sign language into words and speech. The episode will demonstrate the technology, showing how users can register counterpart words for every sign they perform, developing a rich dictionary of their own signs.
“Over the past two decades, Admaf has served as a gateway to knowledge, continually fostering dialogue and understanding between communities,” Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, founder of the foundation and Abu Dhabi Festival, said.
“Our Riwaq Al Fikr Talk series brings together brilliant minds from various backgrounds to share their inspiring stories of resilience and success.
“Stories of Inclusion honours the life of the former host of the series, the late pioneering Emirati journalist Abdul Aziz Najm, who was himself a person of determination and sheds light on how the leadership of the UAE has created a supportive environment by engaging people of all abilities to nurture cultural expression, forge unity and support the vitality of our society.”
Source: The National News