Al Hisn Fort

•May 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sharjah Fort reopens for public
JAMIL-HISNfort-Restoration-3By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, May 04, 2015

SHARJAH: Sharjah Fort, the emirate’s most important historic building, also known as “Al Hisn” fort, is open for the general public after completing extensive renovations which reflect its original historical look as artefacts from the ruling family are also being displayed to give profound details to the visitors.
Kholoud Al Houly, the curator of Sharjah Fort, said the local media highlighted the historical importance of the recently completed renovation work and also briefed on the various facilities like galleries, artefacts and other parts of the fort.
Now restored to its original appearance, the fort offers the public a unique opportunity to experience the history that has shaped the emirate and its people. It has been updated to include exciting interactive features, audio-visuals, and reconstructions and stories, taking visitors on an engaging journey through two centuries of history.
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, recently visited Sharjah Fort in the presence of Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, upon completion of the renovation work.
The restoration of Sharjah’s most significant heritage site coincides with the emirate’s year as the Capital of Arab Tourism as elected by the Arab Council of Tourism Ministers. The renovated fort is the jewel in the crown of Sharjah’s tourist attractions and further strengthens the emirate’s diverse offerings as a destination for regional and international visitors.
Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), said: “Al Hisn Fort is the very heart of Sharjah: the seat of government and the centre of defence and justice in the emirate. Its legacy resonates in modern Sharjah like no other building.
“Now, thanks to the meticulous work of a team of conservationists, many of the fort’s distinctive architectural features have been brought back to life.”
A conservation team worked tirelessly for 15 months to restore the original appearance, colour and texture of the building and accurately portray the fort’s distinctive architectural features, including its wind-scoops, columns and crenulations.
Sharjah Fort contains a number of iconic collections that present the history of the fort, which was built in 1823 by Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr I. Visitors can explore 12 exciting galleries rich in information gathered by SMD teams during five years of painstaking research.
Displays also reveal what life was like for the people of Sharjah as Sheikh Sultan Bin Saqr II steered the emirate through several major historical events and overcame challenges.
Visitors can step inside the original Arrest Room, where prisoners were held pending trial and the circular, coral stone prison cell (Al Muhalwasa). Lifelike models restrained in shackles provide a chilling taste of what their grim existence would have been like. Information boards offer further insight into the trial process and the types of punishment typically meted out for different crimes.
Visitors will be able to hold a rifle, see how the residents of Sharjah decorated and repaired their weapons, and discover how to properly present a sword to a sheikh. The 1902 firearms prohibition imposed by the British is also explored, along with the subsequent smuggling that took place due to the ban.
Another treat for visitors is Al Medbasa, the room in which Al Hisn residents would make dibs (date molasses). The grooves in the floor along which the dibs flowed into a pot set in the lowest corner can still be seen. Collecting dates was a social event, and the Medbasa enabled the residents of Al Hisn to be self-sufficient.
Sharjah Fort welcomes visitors throughout the week, Saturday to Thursday from 8am till 8pm and Friday from 4pm till 8pm.

SCHS Exhibition @ Sahara Centre

•May 4, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Over 1,000 items made by special kids on display at Sahara Centre

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, May 04, 2015

SHARJAH: The exhibition “SCHS Students Products Exhibition – Hand Made” that started on April 27 under the patronage of Dr Eng Abdullah Belhev Nuaimi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Public Works, and in the presence of Eng Zahrah Aboudi, Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), is continuing to excite visitors.
The exhibition has been organised by the Vocational Rehabilitation & Training Department of SCHS and will continue till May 5 at Sahara Centre.  The proceeds from the sale of the products will be used to strengthen the facilities in various sections of SCHS. jamil-schs-1
The exhibit contains more than one thousand products including pieces of ceramic and food products made by students with disabilities in addition to the new section this year for thermal clay and copper products.
The opening ceremony was attended by a large number of visitors including parents, and the reception was hosted by Vocational Rehabilitation & Training Department Scouts Band.
The SCHS students guided visitors through the gallery and informed them about new products of handcrafts and sewing such as embroidery pieces. Visitors admired the decoration arranged by the students with disabilities, which reflected their neatness and aesthetic sense. Students with disabilities guided Eng Zahrah Aboudi through the gallery and explained how products were made in addition to answering all of her questions. She paid tributes to Sheikha Jameela Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Vice President of Supreme Council for Family Affairs & Director General of SCHS, and her staff for doing so much for people with disabilities.
Dr Eng Abdullah Belhev Nuaimi said that the Ministry of Public Works and SCHS has been cooperating for many years to provide quality services to people with disabilities. “The ministry is always ready to cooperate with SCHS to provide services to improve quality of life for people with disabilities,” she added.
Amjad Ataiwahih, Head of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Department confirmed that the exhibit aims to raise people’s awareness of all people with disabilities true talents and capabilities. “With proper recognition, intervention and lots of hard work, children and adults with disabilities can succeed in every area of life. This what SCHS has been doing for decades. The items and products displayed in the exhibit are as good as those found in the market. The money of the exhibition will be used to develop SCHS programs, activities, and services,” he added.
He expressed his sincerest thanks to Sahara Centre and anyone that contributed to the success of the commencement ceremony.

PAD-World Labour Day

•May 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Over 400 workers enjoy free health checkups

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, May 03, 2015

DUBAI: Hundreds of workers as part of the World Labour Day celebration took part in a day-long event and received free health check-ups, awareness lectures as well as gift hampers in the Health Awareness Camp.
The camp themed “Your Health is Community’s Health” was organised by the Medical Wing of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) in association with a number of its partners who sponsored the gifts for labourers while doctors from different participating hospitals provided various free health screening tests and awareness lectures. jamil-Labour-Day-1
The awareness camp in which over 400 workers were facilitated was held at Al Meher Labour Camp, Alqouz area in Dubai on Friday.
Haroon Malik, Welfare Counsellor at Pakistan Consulate in Dubai was the chief guest while Saeed Majid Al Muhairi, Head of the Inspection at Community Development Authority was also present along with other prominent guests.
The labourers at the camp were from different Asian countries and were clearly overwhelmed at the kind gesture of Pakistan Association of Dubai, which carried out this event as a part of their social responsibility towards the local community.
The free health check ups included basic blood pressure, blood sugar and BMI, Hepatitis-C screening, dental and eye checks and many lucky workers even won valuable gifts while three were given Umrah tickets in a lucky draw.
Doctors, experts from different participating hospitals as part of the activity delivered health awareness lectures on diabetes, hypertension, hand hygiene and oral hygiene for workers.
Haroon Malik in his speech appreciated the PAD Medical Wing on organising health awareness camp on the occasion of the World Labour Day.
Saeed Majid Al Muhairi also praised the association on the initiative for the labour community in the Emirate.
Dr Nighat Aftab, President of Medical Wing, highlighted the importance of these camps which the association has been doing as part of the “Honour Labour” initiative taken by the Community Development Authority. She also hoped to start the construction of “Pakistan Medical Centre” soon which will serve as a non for profit facility for the community.
Dr Zia ul Hasan, President of PAD thanked the management of the Al Meher Contracting for providing an opportunity to serve the blue collar workers in the world labour day. “The labour of the company which contributed in the landmark project of the association ‘Pakistan Auditorium’ deserve to benefit from this activity and was one of the main reason for choosing Al Meher Labour Camp”, he added. He thanked Haroon Malik and Saeed Al Muhairi for their presence and patronage.
The paramedical staff at the event were from hospitals including The American Hospital, NMC Hospital, The City Hospital, Northwest Clinic, Aster Medical centre and Rak Khaimah Dental College.

PAD World Labour Day

•May 3, 2015 • Leave a Comment

PAD highlights importance of good deeds, set to organise health camp

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Apr 30, 2015

DUBAI: A seminar titled “the importance of good deeds either small or big” was organised by the religious committee of the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD), where the speakers urged the community members to pay equal importance to every deed, small or big, as life is a gift and an exam that has to be passed for a beautiful hereafter.
The speakers at the seminar, which saw the attendance of large number of PAD members and their families, were Abdul Qawi Luqman and Abdullah Adnan, secretary religious affairs of PAD.
“Good deeds may seem big or small, but in fact they all are an appropriate response to a situation such as helping the needy, caring for the elderly, self-restraint to save a relationship or friendship,” said Abdul Qawi Luqman.
He pointed that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave us a balanced system of life. With its emphasis on ibadat (acts of worship), Islam gives equal importance to Muamlat (human interaction and dealings). When informed about a woman who spent all the night in worship but was not good to her neighbours, the Prophet told that she would face hellfire. Another woman who was not very particular about ibadah but was good in her dealings with others, the Prophet told, would go to paradise.
Earlier, Abdullah Adnan talked about the aims and objectives of programmes being organised by the Religious Affairs Committee. He said that the aim is to present a holistic picture and highlight the practical approach of Islamic teachings.
“Islam offers a practical system of life, making individuals useful and responsible members of society and also making the society helpful for the realisation of peace and potential of its members,” he pointed.
A game-show and video clips was presented to highlight the importance of small acts, good or bad, and how they impact our daily life.
The Medical Wing of PAD, as part of its annual exercise to celebrate the International Labour Day, has planned a day long “health awareness camp” in Dubai on May 1.
The health awareness camp will be held at Al Meher Labour Camp, opposite Al Madinah Hyper Market, Al Qouz , Dubai. This activity is part of PAD’s social responsibility and welfare activities which create health awareness and motivate blue collar workers to adopt healthy lifestyle.
The association along with its medical wing has been excercising free medical camp for blue collar workers twice a year in different labour camps to create awareness and educate the workers on healthy lifestyle.

Whatever It Takes

•April 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Actors’ artworks on products hit market, to raise funds for charity
JAMIL-UK-WhateverItTakes-aBy Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Apr 25, 2015

DUBAI: George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman were the names on the list of guests who attended the launch of hand-cooked potato chips as part of creating awareness and raising funds for deserving people around the world.
Launched by the charity organisation, Whatever It Takes, the packaging of hand-cooked potato chips represents four showbiz personalities who donated their artworks. The launch was held at Candylicious store in Dubai Mall and attended by a number of guests including families.
Whatever It Takes is a unique charity artwork campaign launched by 21st Century Leaders to raise funds for key global development causes. The Whatever It Takes artworks, which includes message of peace and hope, have been donated by over 700 leaders and have inspired a whole collection of products – from iPad and iPod accessories to clothing, from tableware to stationery and sold to raise much needed funds for projects across the globe including environmental conservation, poverty alleviation, and the protection of children.
Dr Charlotte di Vita, Founder of the Whatever It Takes, in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today said that they found the UAE as a fantastic place to work as it is easily connected to a large number of countries in Asia and Africa. JAMIL-UK-WhateverItTakes-b
“We set up our local office in Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi in 2011 as it is the centre place and we found a great opportunity to link with African countries where we work in different projects to benefit the deserving people,” she said.
“There are thousands of products carrying the messages from 700 leaders in which around 300 are available in the local retail outlets to raise royalty for the Whatever It Takes is supported by 21st century leaders in its work to support key global development causes including poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and the protection of children,” she said.
In the GCC, people love travel mugs and T-shirts especially bearing the artwork by George Clooney and many other prominent personalities.
“Soon the local consumers will have the opportunity to buy products with printed artwork of Nancy Ajram, famous Arab singer and we are hopeful that the wide range of products will be a great hit besides other available products,” she said.
Responding to a question, Dr di Vita pointed that “soon in collaboration with our local partner, Whatever It Takes will initiate a series of projects in the UAE especially for the labourers. The projects will consist of education, health, awareness and training while the labourers will also educate to conserve the environment.”

PHASE Symposium

•April 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

PHASE symposium deliberates on latest research in special education

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Apr 24, 2015

DUBAI: A daylong symposium, to highlight the latest research and practices in the field of special education titled “Breaking Boundaries, Creating Excellence”, was held under the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Organised by the Princess Haya Award for Special Education (PHASE) at Knowledge Village Auditorium, in Dubai on April 22, the symposium was attended by a large number of professionals including trainers, educationist and parents.
Dr Muna Al Saffar, Coordinator General of Princess Haya Award, mentioned in the opening speech, “One of the most important elements in the special needs sector is its people. Our ultimate goal is to empower individuals and their families, helping individuals with special needs to reach their full potential, encourage better access to services, in addition to giving better opportunities to develop the educators and working professionals to be more confident in supporting their needs.”
Lindy Crawford, Associate Professor of Special Education and Director of the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service Institute (ANSERS Institute) at TCU, has presented assessment of students with disabilities in the United States including the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS). She also spoke about the relationship between use of help features, or electronic support tools, that are embedded in computer-based instructional programs, and the maths performance of students who use and do not use these tools.
Alexandra Dunn is a speech-language pathologist at the Upper Canada District School Board and president of Inclusionary. Dunn has presented a Workshop Titled:  Is Your Child Integrated But Not Fully Included?
She mentioned that inclusion is not a place, but what we do. In our quest to achieve inclusive classroom communities, students are often “integrated” with their peers, “breathing the same air” but not achieving meaningful educational and social participation. She also discussed the creation of Universal Design for learning toolkits filled with traditional teaching tools of as well as manipulatives (Lego, Wikki Stix) and technological (iPads, SMART Boards, Assistive Technology) supports.
Dr Layla Asamarai, Clinical Psychologist at Dubai Community Health Centre, spoke about The Special Needs of Special Families. She spoke about the psychological impact and the social dynamics when a family is identified having a child with special needs. She also spoke about recognising some of the local resources that may help the families.
The opening ceremony of the symposium was attended by senior government officials, heads of departments, public and private sector representatives and other dignitaries.
Dr Al Saffar, Coordinator General, said, “There are around 400 participants and three renowned speakers from different disciplines who shared their experiences and discussed the latest developments in the field of special education.”
Launched in November 2008, the Princess Haya Award for Special Education (PHASE) is the first initiative of its kind in the region. It targets the role models in the special needs sector through various categories according to high international standards. The initiative also aims to encourage people working in the special needs to excel and set higher service standards in all fields of special education.

Nobel Museum’s Travelling Show

•April 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Nobel Laureate highlights micro-credit as effective tool to empower disadvantaged
IMG_0302By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Apr 21, 2015

DUBAI: Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus has called for enabling economic self-sufficiency to disadvantaged sections of the society by giving them access to small credit facilities.
Speaking at a workshop on “Micro-finance”, the third in a series organised as part of Nobel Museum’s travelling exhibition currently being hosted in Dubai by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), Yunus described the micro-credit system as a cost-effective and easily accessible tool to fight poverty.
Yunus founded the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1983 on the micro-finance concept, which eventually won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. He said the basic idea behind Grameen Bank was to remove the need for collateral and create a banking system based on accountability, mutual trust, creativity and participation.
“When we started microcredit, we faced challenges as people doubted if it was possible to lend money without collateral. We have demonstrated that it is possible to make funds accessible to the poor without collateral and transform their lives by enabling them to gain self-sufficiency,” he said.
Earlier while talking to a group of journalists, Yunus pointed that the Middle East has already around nine banks providing micro credit to different communities to help people come out of poverty and set up their own small business.
Yunus, who was a professor of economics in Bangladesh, said he designed microcredit with the only intention to help people come out of poverty. He said the Grameen Bank concept has not changed over the years, and it continues to reach out to the poorest, and has demonstrated that despite disasters it can work.
The Nobel laureate said in Bangladesh today Grameen has 2,564 branches, with 19,800 staff serving 8.29 million borrowers in 81,367 villages. On any working day Grameen collects an average of $1.5 million in weekly instalments. Of the borrowers, 97 per cent are women and over 97 per cent of the loans are paid back, a recovery rate higher than any other banking system. Grameen methods are applied in projects in 58 countries, including the US, Canada, France, The Netherlands and Norway.
The Nobel Museum exhibition at the Burj Khalifa annexe in Downtown Dubai is open to visitors daily until April 30 from 9 am to 7 pm except on Fridays. MBRF is organising the exhibition in Dubai under the theme, “The Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World”. This is the first time the exhibition is being hosted with a new concept and theme in an Arabic city.


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