- Recommendations made at virtual meeting organised by Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO)
- The meeting showcased institutional efforts to support the most affected families and called for a survey to identify basic needs and key challenges
Sharjah, May 6, 2020
The Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO) recently hosted a meeting of the Executive Committee of the ‘Sharjah Child Friendly City’ project, to discuss children’s rights to emotional, health and education support in the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting explored how institutional efforts and initiatives in the emirate are supporting children and families in quarantine and those most affected by the pandemic.
Amongst the committee’s main recommendations included the need for all institutions to collaborate and publish the various help lines available for people affected by the pandemic in different languages and distribute them to all communities to ensure their reach amongst the most affected families. The committee also called for the launch of a survey to identify the basic needs of these families and to ascertain the key challenges they are facing in the current circumstances.
The Committee also underscored the importance of launching initiatives to respond to the needs of the affected families, and organising activities and programmes for quarantined children and families, with a focus on providing psychological and moral support to children who have been separated from either of their parents due to divorce or death. Another recommendation included organising community panel discussions on how to prepare children and families to return to school and work.
The meeting, held through a virtual communication platform, was led by Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SCFO; Dr. Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF Gulf Area Office; and Ola Al Saleh, Sharjah Initiative Coordinator at UNICEF Gulf Area Office.
It was attended by Abdullah Al Kadeed, Director of Statistics Department at the Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development (DSCD); Dr. Hala Bushra, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator at Primary Healthcare Centres; Hussein Al Mulla, Media Relations Executive at Sharjah Government Media Bureau; Nadia Al Hosani, Head of Educational Oversight at the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA); Dr. Samia Mohamed Saleh, Principal of Al Wafa School for Capacity Development at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.
Attendees also included Bodour Al Hammadi, Director of Strategic Planning Department at Sharjah Municipality; Lieutenant Mariam Al Yamahi, Director of Community Programs Branch at Community Police Department – Sharjah Police, Nahla Hamdan, Director of Initiatives and Activities at Child Safety Department; Mona Al Suwaidi, Director of the Executive Office of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Nawal Al Mazmi, Technical Supervisor at Guidance Department at Sharjah Education Council; Eman Ahmed, Strategic Planning and Quality Manager at Sharjah Education Council; Amal Al Mulla, General Supervisor at Healthy Cities Department; Kholoud Al Nuaimi, Director of Social Licences Department at Sharjah Social Services Department (SSSD); Badria Al Ali, Manager of Lughati; Mahra Al Kitbi, Head of Knowledge and Performance Division at Health Promotion Department; and Murtada Alzaylaie, Excellence Advisor at Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority.
Dr. Hessa Al Ghazal, Executive Director of SCFO, said: “The Executive Committee meeting aimed to showcase the efforts of entities and departments tasked with supporting families and children in quarantine and the challenges they, and the society in general, face. The meeting also highlighted the need for exchanging experiences and working hand in hand to implement the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.”
“At SCFO, we are committed to supporting breastfeeding mothers infected with the coronavirus and who are in quarantine, by providing them with accurate and reliable information from experts as well as consultation services on policies and protocols,” Al Ghazal added.
Dr. Al Ghazal lauded the efforts of all the departments at the national and local levels to contain the spread of the virus, preserve the health of the community, and support families and individuals. She called on all entities to launch more initiatives encompassing health, education, and entertainment, especially for those affected by the quarantine measures.
Dr. Hala Bushra showcased key achievements in supporting children’s health, including providing routine vaccinations for children in specific clinics, supporting mothers on the phone, and circulating brochures on how to deal with mothers or children infected with the coronavirus or those who are in contact with them.
Maryam Al Yamahi highlighted key initiatives and accomplishments of Sharjah Police, including the provision of more than 600 computers to orphans to support their e-learning in collaboration with the Sharjah Social Empowerment Foundation. Sharjah Police also shared awareness videos for children prepared in collaboration with childcare entities and convened virtual sessions to provide social support in response to the increase in domestic violence.
Kholoud Al Nuaimi noted that the Sharjah Social Services Department (SSD) is committed to provide family consultation services and implement awareness programmes and activities for children as it continues to receive calls on the child protection hotline. SSD collaborated with Sharjah Police to provide advice and care to families who have violated home quarantine measures.
Mona Al Suwaidi said that the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry has collaborated with Sharjah Private Education Authority to distribute 500 computers to support distance learning for students of affected families. Educational kits have also been delivered to students at the Chamber’s nursery to encourage them to continue learning at home during these challenging circumstances.
Badria Al Ali noted that Lughati initiative distributed 500 tablets to students in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the Social Services Department and District Councils to motivate children to make the most of their time while staying at home.
Nadia Al Hosani of SPEA stressed that all the private schools in the emirate have rolled out a virtual education system with special training for teachers and administration staff. Computers have been distributed to students of affected families, she added.
Murtada Alzaylaie highlighted the need for launching campaigns in collaboration with relevant authorities to raise families’ awareness on the precautionary measures they must adhere to when visiting shopping malls and upon returning to schools.
Dr. Samia Mohamed Saleh pointed out that Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services supports children through the Early Intervention Centre via a video communication platform as part of their efforts to provide them with emotional support to promote positive behaviour and ensure their emotional well-being during home quarantine.
Nahla Hamdan showcased the efforts of the Child Safety Department including the publication of several interactive educational e-booklets for children about cyber security, safety at home and other topics in collaboration with different entities.
SCFO, the entity tasked with the implementation of the ‘Sharjah Child Friendly City’ project, had announced in 2018 the establishment of an executive committee for the project, comprising representatives from Sharjah government departments and entities, to follow up on the implementation of the project’s 2019–21 action plan and the related initiatives and activities in their relative entities. The executive committee aims to facilitate the realisation of the project’s goals through effective partnerships and collaborations with different government entities.
About Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO)
The Sharjah Child Friendly Office aims to protect and elevate the rights and wellbeing of children of all ages in Sharjah. It creates relevant strategies and plans and implements them in cooperation with relevant institutions and government authorities. The office is currently tasked with overseeing the continuation and implementation of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Project (targeting age group 0-2), and the Sharjah Child Friendly City Project (targeting age group 0-18).
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