Families in Abu Dhabi gathered for an International Day of Families celebration organised on May 14 by The Department of Community Development, in cooperation with the Family Development Foundation, the Department of Education and Knowledge, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an, the Family Care Authority, and Burjeel Hospital.
Highlighting the importance of spending quality time with each other, the event held at Al-Qana in Rabdan included a diverse range of activities and interactive workshops for various age groups to shed light on how close-knit families contribute to a more connected, cohesive society. There was even a special appearance by the popular cartoon character Mansour.
International Day of Families is marked every year on May 15 to highlight the important role that families hold in communities around the world.
At the event, the DCD presented a mental health guide for parents that aims to raise awareness of mental health concepts that are vital to a healthy family environment. Additionally, there was a virtual reality platform presented for senior citizens and residents to help achieve effective communication, and artistic workshops such as drawing with glue and painting with acrylic colours.
Her Excellency Dr. Layla Abdulaziz Al Hyas, Executive Director of Community Development sector at the DCD, said: “The existence of an international day dedicated to families showcases the importance of the role of the family unit in progressing society and its development.
She added: “The nation’s leadership places great significance on family, as they have always believed that it is vital to the raising of children, and the building of a stable and aware society that constructively contributes to the country.”
Further emphasising the significance of family unity, Al Hyas said parents play a pivotal role in nurturing their children from early childhood through meaningful communication. She added that meeting the emotional and psychological needs of children at different ages was vital, as it strengthened the relationship between fathers and children and protected them from developing negative behaviours, as proven by research on parenting.
With these values in mind, the DCD has made it a priority to support the stability and growth of the family by enacting legislation and developing programmes and initiatives that protect them from abuse.
Mr Mohammed Khalfan Aldhaheri, Acting Community Engagement and Volunteering Executive Director, at MAAN, said: “Journey of Generations is a programme focused on Senior Citizens, designed to create cohesion across multiple generations through building relationships between senior citizens and volunteers in Abu Dhabi.
“We’re pleased to work alongside the Department of Community Development to mark International Family Day with activities and workshops. Aligning with Ma’an’s aim to connect communities and build an inclusive society, our programmes and initiatives focus on social priorities and bringing people together.
“Visitors can learn more about our projects and how to get involved by coming to see us on the Ma’an stand. Additionally, the Ma’an app will be displayed on a screen where visitors can download and choose to contribute to projects and initiatives most aligned to their priorities and values. This allows them to become part of achieving a genuine positive impact and strengthen family cohesion in the emirate.”
The Family Development Foundation (FDF) held interactive workshops at the event, such as the positive parenting workshop that identified the skills needed for a disciplinary approach that builds the child’s personality, with the aim of establishing a generation with robust psychological health.
The FDF also highlighted the Barkitna card, which is granted to senior citizens and residents over 60 years of age who are registered in the Foundation's database and grants them access to all the services and facilities provided by governmental and semi-governmental entities in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
His Excellency Abdulrahman Al Balushi, Director of Department of Strategic Planning and Institutional Development, Family Development Foundation, said: “The family is the real nucleus from which society is formed and is primarily responsible for the upbringing, education and care of children.”
He added: “Therefore, the Family Development Foundation works to achieve its goals in accordance with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and the ‘Mother of the Emirates’, focusing on the cohesion and protection of families, as she is the main axis in the process of social development and the incubator for youth whom we depend on to build the nation.”
Abdulrahman Al Balushi said Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak has a major role to play in empowering families in Emirati society through her royal directives that drive the development of services provided by the Family Development Foundation. Bolstered by these directives, the Foundation is guided by its systematic framework through which families and senior citizens are provided with social care services that allow them to have a decent quality of life.
He also praised the participation of the Family Development Foundation in the International Day of Families through interactive workshops that seek to enhance the quality of family life.
Providing details about her organisation’s participation at the event, Her Excellency Asmaa Al Azri, Executive Director of the Family Cases Sector at the Family Care Authority in Abu Dhabi, explained that their workshop dealt with the importance of parental roles and aimed to raise awareness about improving the quality of family relations.
Asmaa Al Azri also spotlighted how families play a key role in promoting socialisation and the ability to deal with challenges – both of which strengthen the family bond, and eventually shape the identity of society.
Apart from the Department of Community Development and Family Development Foundation, other entities also participated with their own workshops and programmes:
- The Authority for Community Contribution - Ma'an, presented the ‘Journey of Generations’ programme, which targets senior citizens and residents within the framework of promoting integration between generations and enabling community cohesion.
- The Abu Dhabi Sports Council presented the ‘Abu Dhabi 360’ application, which aims to help community members adopt a healthy and sustainable lifestyle by achieving a balance on physical, mental and social levels.
- The Department of Education and Knowledge participated with the ‘Once Upon a Time Storyteller Cart’, by presenting interesting tales and stories for adults and children, with the aim of enhancing reading among community members and developing their skills and abilities.
- The Family Care Authority organised an awareness workshop entitled ‘My Fingerprint in My Family’, which aims to enhance the role of the family in society.
- Burjeel Hospital, Yoga sessions for children.