Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Inaugurates
H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed
bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence
Minister, unveiled a new initiative that aims to offer people
who are vision impaired an opportunity to play a more
constructive role in the development of the society at
Knowledge Village in the presence of top Government Official
and Businessmen, today 19th May 2004.
The new project
'Tamkeen' (the Arabic word for 'enabling'), an initiative of
H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed, supported by Knowledge Village,
Emirates Airline, HP, Microsoft, Biz-ability and the British
Council, aims to empower UAE nationals and residents, who are
vision impaired or partially sighted, to become independent
livelihood earners through training, employment, career
development and facilitation.
Speaking on the concept
behind Tamkeen, Ahmad bin Byat, Director General, Dubai
Technology & Media Free Zone Authority, explained:
“Vision impaired citizens are as much a part of the society
as you and me. But the percentage of these people gainfully
employed in the corporate sector is almost negligible.”
Tamkeen is to change this by giving tools and training to
vision impaired individuals, empowering them to take up a
decent job in any professional environment and giving them the
capability to be independent.
Bin Byat also pointed out
that even though there are a number of centres and
associations for the disabled in the UAE, "there is a need for
a dedicated centre that can provide professional
Through increasing the use of adaptive
technology within the region and to ensure world-class
training and all-round development for the students, 'Tamkeen'
is focusing on three key areas of training in collaboration
with some of the best names in the industry. In addressing the
most vital area of 'communication skills', the organisation
provides oral and written English language training in
partnership with the British Council.
Once a student
attains proficiency in English, he or she moves on to a
detailed IT training program, being run in association with
the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind (RVIB) an
organization established in Australia over 150 years ago that
now boasts more than 10,000 students.
The third area of
training involves teaching soft-skills such as personal
development, interactions with colleagues and customers, sales
techniques and presentation skills etc. Biz-ability, based at
Dubai Media City, is handling this area of training at
Tamkeen has collaborated with some of the best
names in industry to ensure world class training and all round
development for the vision impaired. But the organization’s
job does not end with training alone. Tamkeen is deeply
involved in changing employer perceptions and making the
professional environment more conducive to a vision impaired
The requirements of vision
impaired people are quite different from other challenged
individuals and these could only be addressed effectively by a
dedicated centre with specific systems of training combining
adaptive technology, sound systems and Braille texts.
number of programs for the vision impaired have been
initiated, including the following:
Cabin crew training-
‘Train the Trainer’ program with Emirates, to make vision
impaired persons comfortable and at ease while travelling.
Web site accessibility –As they cannot move out
freely, blind people are more dependent on internet for their
daily chores than normal people. It is therefore important for
websites to be vision impaired-friendly and Tamkeen can help
people build one.
Promote general awareness across all
media to educate and inform the general public on the special
needs of the vision impaired.
Tamkeen also plans to
attract blind and partially sighted from Bahrain, Kuwait and
other Middle Eastern countries to come and study at Tamkeen.
Efforts are also underway to place Tamkeen students with
government organisations and corporate houses. The
organization is open for anybody of work-ready age from any
nationality. All training and support is given free of charge
and the average capacity of each class is 5-6 persons.
Ahmed Al Mulla, a student at the English Language
Training at Tamkeen, who is also Assistant Manager at Tamkeen
said, “My job responsibilities include designing programs,
managing Tamkeen’s marketing, generating awareness and
solving student problems. I would like to see Tamkeen grow
into a huge centre with vision impaired students from all over
the region. But we will take it step by step and my training
in the English language is going to help me in my job.”
Najeeba Hassan Gareeb another student at Tamkeen said,
“H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid has initiated this program
for people who cannot see, which has made me and my parents
really happy. At present I am learning English and
subsequently will take up a computer course so that I too can
go to work. I would like to work at Tamkeen or any other
organisation in the future but right now I am very happy just
being here at Tamkeen”