x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Matchmaking service suggested by disabled advocate

Advocate suggests developing matchmaking service to help people with disabilities find partners.

Disabilities bring professional hurdles, but there are also many social challenges.

“Marriage is a prime example,” said Aisha Esa, from Abu Dhabi. “The same way there is support given for others to marry, there should be support provided to those with special needs,” she said.

“Maybe develop some kind of match-making service especially for this purpose. If you look in other countries, you’ll see someone who was paralysed from head to toe married to a completely healthy person. How often do you see that here?”

Ms Esa attributed these social stigmas to a lack of awareness, and an “ignorant” mentality among some parents.

“There are many parents who are ashamed of their children, who don’t expose them to the world because they are ashamed of their disabilities,” she said. “These children then become socially awkward, they become very shy and can’t communicate with others, as would anyone who was prevented their entire life from interacting with the outside world.”

Tolerance and acceptance must be ingrained in children from an early age in order to truly change social perceptions, Ms Esa said.

“They need to be taught that people with special needs are just like you and me, they have the same needs and shouldn’t be treated any differently.”