“What we hope is that Sharjah becomes a beacon of progressive development in all aspects of human affairs, and awareness is the cornerstone in achieving this goal.” H.H. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, launched the UAE Network for Child Protection on Wednesday. The Network will be responsible of ensuring the child safety and maintaining the rights of the children in the UAE. The announcement was made during Her Highness’ visit to the Protection of Children’s Rights Administration that falls under the Department of Social Services in Sharjah where Director General, Afaf Al Marri received Her Highness.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi said, “In this occasion, I am glad to announce the establishment of the UAE Network for Child Protection, which aims to protect children and maintain their rights within the UAE. In order to develop a safe and protective environment for children, we aim to develop the skills and capacities of workers in this field, especially those who work with victims of violence.”
“The establishment of this network strengthens partnerships between various social institutions from the public and private sectors, and enhances the capabilities of their teams to help children who fall victim to violence and abuse, as well as spread awareness of these issues. The network is open for individual and institutional memberships, and it welcomes applications from the public who are willing to influence, as well as institutions working in this field, and everybody who is interested,” added Her Highness.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi noted that UAE society is now more open than ever and ready to discuss social issues in an attempt to solve them. “Moreover, the society is ready today to seek help and advice to address the problems and arrive at solutions. We hope today Sharjah is an example of progressive development in all aspects specially those related to human affairs, and is in the forefront in spreading awareness to achieve social harmony and stability” Her Highness said.
During her visit Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi met Aisha Al Ali, Head of the Child Hotline team, who explained the project’s role in dealing with emergency issues, such as physical violence, sexual abuse and negligence. Al Ali said the hotline had received 2612 calls since its establishment in 2007 till 2014, with the majority of calls being placed by one of the parents (55%), and that children had been harmed in 39.5% of the cases. She added that the team performed 40 urgent interventions in 2014 alone. Al Ali also showcased their application in Android store as well as their online service.
Fatima Al Marzouqi, Psychologist and Director of the Children House presented to Her Highness ‘Ishraka’ program. A first of its kind in the country, the program utilizes therapeutic game in order to rehabilitate victims of sexual abuse from 5 to 13 years old. Her Highness also met Maryam Al Owais, Social Worker at the Rights Protection Section, and Maryam Ismail, Head of ‘Weyqqaya’ Committee, who protect vulnerable segments of society.
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi expressed her deep sympathy when she heard some stories during the visit, pointing out that children often end up paying the dearest price when adults face conflict. “We are sorry to hear such stories in our kind-hearted society, which emphasizes the importance of protecting children’s rights, and helping their families overcome difficulties,” Her Highness said.
Her Highness praised the great attention that His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah extends to family affairs, and said that His Highness is dedicated to finding solutions for social matters. “The Population Census, implemented by His Highness aims to reach an extensive understanding of all the social issues, particularly those related to women, children, and the elderly. This was the philosophy behind His Highness’ efforts to establish a wide variety of institutions serving people’s needs,” Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi said.
The Director General of the Department of Social Services, Afaf Al Marri expressed her appreciation and thanked Her Highness for her visit and for her efforts which aim to ensure children’s rights. “Our responsibility towards children is huge. It necessitates that we should work hard to face the changes that are affecting the UAE society in general and social life in Sharjah in particular. It is our duty to take preventive measures when preparing for such changes in order to maintain the safety and security of children and families, and ensure that their rights are protected” she said.