x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE siblings with impairments call for more social support

Aged between 22 and 54, the four brothers and two sisters from Al Haniya, in Fujairah, say that, as well as their disabilities, they have to deal with issues such as debt, lack of community centres and decrepit housing.

Six Emirati siblings with speech and hearing impairments are calling on the authorities for more social support and services to help them lead decent lives.

Aged between 22 and 54, the four brothers and two sisters from Al Haniya, in Fujairah, said that, as well as their disabilities, they have to deal with issues such as debt, lack of community centres and decrepit housing.

One of the brothers, Saeed Rashid Al Tenaiji, 46, told The National's Arabic-language sister paper, Al Ittihad, that he had fallen into debt after the Ministry of Social Affairs made him repay three years' worth of social allowances he received on behalf of his daughters after they were married.

Benefits on behalf of daughters stop when they marry and recipients are required to notify the ministry when this happens.

For their part, Mariam, 24, and Mozza, 22, complained that they have to travel 20km to the Maliha region in Sharjah to practise their hobbies, which include painting.

Ahlam Youssef Al Ali, the head of the Ministry of Social Affairs' community development centre in Fujairah, said the ministry makes every effort to support people with special needs.

Dawi, another brother who has no hearing or speech issues, said his brothers are also having problems with their dilapidated housing, which is now beyond repair. Many of the brothers' children are unemployed despite having university qualifications.

The director of the Fujairah regional development authority, Khamees Al Noun, told Al Ittihad that his institution has conducted maintenance work on eight houses in Al Haniya, and that a team will soon be sent to inspect the house of Mr Al Tenaiji.

He added that their houses were likely to require maintenance as they were built in the early 1980s.

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