Dubai Chamber promotes inclusion of people with disabilities in workplace

April 2, 2014 1:58 pm

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Centre for Responsible Business in partnership with the Community Development Authority, organised the Learning Session: Hiring Staff with Disabilities at the Chamber head office on Sunday.

The learning session’s aim was to break down the barriers to the recruitment and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace and to help support the campaign and the government’s goal to make Dubai a disabled-friendly city by 2020.

It was attended by Essa Ali Al Zaabi, Senior Vice-President, Institutional Support Sector, Dubai Chamber, H.E. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General, Community Development Authority, representatives of Desert Group, Jumeirah Group, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Hilton Dubai, Stepping Stones, Al Noor and Manzil.

In his welcome address, Al Zaabi said being employed is critical for the wellbeing of people with special needs and is a great asset for their psychological, social, cultural and economic wellbeing. However, a vast majority of these individuals don’t enjoy the privilege of having a job to learn from, develop, and contribute to the socio-economic development as many employers lack the know-how to mine hidden talent among the group.

”There is an immediate need to find solutions for the inclusion and empowerment of the group. Making the whole of Dubai a disabled-friendly city will require collaborative action on part of the government, corporates and community partners to break the barriers and create an enabling environment,” said Al Zaabi.

He added: “It is time for change. It is time for action. It is time to get serious about opening the doors to employment for these specially enabled people.”

His Excellency Khaled Al Kamda, Director General of Community Development Authority said: “People with disabilities face several challenges in the private sector, on the top of them is the absence of the inclusion culture. The stereotype that some employers have is that people with disabilities are not productive and even when they hire them it’s sometime only to achieve a quota, some employers do not provide health insurance to employees with disabilities; other employers are will to hire people with physical disabilities only.”

“Empowering people with disabilities at their work place is one of our key missions in the Community Development Authority, and we are responsible to translate all the regulations and laws into programmes and projects that simplify the daily life of people with disabilities and improve the quality of it.

“We’ve been calling for serious and collective efforts to improve the current situation of people with disabilities in work place and to transform from hiring to empowering at the workplace since 2010; this session comes as a step in this direction and will allow us to exchange ideas and experiences and to shape a framework that would help you participating in this noble mission,” Al Kamda added.

During the panel discussion, representatives from Desert Group, Jumeirah Group, Majid Al Futtaim Properties and Hilton Dubai shared their experience on the work they have been doing with people with disabilities and how beneficial the inclusion have been for them as a company, for their employees and what impact it has on the community.

Meanwhile, the community partners including Stepping Stones, Al Noor and Manzil discussed the risk and fear elements involved in hiring staff with disabilities and how to overcome them and make it a good learning experience for both the individuals and the companies.

According to a social survey conducted by the CDA in 2013, there are 11,785 people with disabilities living currently in Dubai, out of which 6,596 are UAE nationals. This figure, based on the Dubai Statistical Centre estimations for the emirate’s population, would be more than 8,000 in the coming five years.

Currently around 10% of the total world’s population, or roughly 650 million people, live with special needs and form the world’s largest minority group. It is also unfortunately expected that the number of people with special needs will double in the next 20 years.


Ruba Abdel Halim
Manager, Public Relations & Corporate Communications
Dubai Chamber
+971 4 202 8450