The Ministry of Health (MOH) organized the first seminar regarding persons with disabilities on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 22 December at the Regency Hotel. Al Sayer Medical, one of the Al Sayer Group Holding Companies, was a partner of the seminar. Minister of Health Dr. Ali Saad Al Obaidi, Undersecretary Assistant for Medical Services Affairs Dr. Mohammad Al-Khashty, Honorary Chairman of Kuwait Sports Club for Handicapped, Sheikha/ Sheikha Al Abdullah Al Sabah and Director of Health Promotion Department in MOH Dr. Abeer Al Bahwa attended the event to lend their support.
Guest of honors whose esteemed presence was invaluable to the noteworthy cause was Director of Kuwait's Public Authority for the Disabled Dr. Tareq Al Shatti, Sheikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah and Sheikha Anisa Salem Al Humood Al Sabah. Present for the many educative activities were Kuwaitis with mild to moderate disabilities and their families, as well as governmental and non-governmental institutions and non-profit organizations.
The function commenced with the Kuwait National Anthem played on the piano by Mohammed Waleed Al Majeed, who has a vision impairment, while girl students from the Kharafi Center for Kids performed the national anthem using sign language. Director of the health promotion administration at the ministry of health Dr. Abeer Al-Baho in her speech said that the gathering was celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which was on December 3. She mentioned, “In Kuwait, there are 4,439 disabled persons or 2.7 percent of the population.” Baho emphasized the aim of the forum was to give priority to disabled people at hospitals and to provide conventional and natural treatments to them, develop early detection for newborn babies, examine the health of couples before marriage and vaccinate children.
Honorary President of Kuwait Disabled Sports Club for Handicapped, Sheikha Shaikha Abdullah Al Sabah said, “The meeting will discuss and focus on issues related to disabled persons and finding solutions on how to integrate them in society." She stressed, “Kuwaitis can 'do anything, like they did with Jaber Stadium, so all ministries should meet and find solutions to make disabled people work and be active in society. The goals of the forum are to enable this category by creating and exploiting opportunities to help realize their potential and involve all elements of civil society for their support.”
This was followed by the award ceremony where the renowned activists for disabled rights received awards. Important topics discussed at the forum included the Ministry of Education’s role in helping the handicap feel part of an integrated society and the importance of real work to encourage the disabled people to reach their dreams. Also touched upon was the role of social media in helping the handicap to flourish in addition to methods to increase awareness in the general public through contributions of handicapped individuals.
Additionally, obstacles faced by the handicapped and ways to decrease their difficulties was part of the program.
An integral part of the forum was the large exhibition that displayed various handicrafts created by the handicapped participants such as perfumes, sweets, stationary and painting, that were colorful and eye-catching. The exhibition featured more than 25 organizations that specialize in providing assistance and training to youngsters and adults with a range of disabilities.
Some booths even had live demonstrations of disabled students being artistic with their tools. They stole the spotlight as the disabled participants showed great pleasure at demonstrating the skills they were taught at the associations. Some of the active charitable organizations that participated in the exhibit were Kuwait Dyslexia Association, Center 21 and Gulf Disability Society. Moreover, educational material presented at the various booths helped publicize the capabilities of the handicapped and the positive work of the organizations.
There was a lot of interaction between representatives of the organizations and visitors, which was instrumental to fostering cooperation to set up a strong supportive system for the disabled to access.