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HH Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan honored the winners in the Ninth Round of the Braille Story Project for the Blind organized by the Center of Printing Press for the Blind and Visual Challenges affiliated to Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Need. The Ninth Round is under the slogan "Everyone Reads”.
The honoring came during an evening ceremony held on Saturday, April 15th, at Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The event was organized by the Printing Blind Press Center, one of ZHO’s affiliates, to announce the results of eighth round the project.
HH Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, accompanied by HE Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, HE Dr. Mugheer Al Khayaili, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Health Authority, and Naama Abdulrahman Al Mansouri, Director of the Blind Press Center honored the winners and handed them certificates of appreciation and financial awards. His Highness also honored the project stakeholders and participating publishers.
Ms. Naama Abdul Rahman Al Mansoori, Director of the Centre of Printing Press for the Blind and Visual Challenges, praised Sheikh Hazza Bin Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his generous sponsorship of the Braille story project since its first launch in 2007. His generous sponsorship contributed to the success , continuity and spread of this project. The project actually provided the opportunity of participation for those interested from all parts of the Arab world and the globe. It became as an important event that receives the support and organization of Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care. In fact, Braille Story Project attracts a wide audience and has its distinguished presence that reflects the importance of this event.
In her speech at the beginning of the ceremony Ms. Naama Abdul Rahman Al Mansoori said "Again, we are meeting here for the ninth consecutive year, filled of pride and confidence for the success awarded to us by Almighty God, which success we will strive to maintain. As we see the indicators of this success through the joy and happiness of our dear participant children, we increase and renew our desire of achieving more successes.
Ms. Naama added "Today, we celebrate the 9th round of the Braille Story Project for the Blind , in the Year and the Country of Goodness, in synchronization with the issuance of the, first of its type, reading law by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President. This law lays the legislative frameworks, executive programs and specific government responsibilities to consolidate a sustainable reading value in UAE. This law comes as an unprecedented cultural and legislative initiative in the region.
She added that the support the Zayed Organization receives from the wise leadership and the diligent follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Board members represent a major support for the success and continuity of the Braille Story Project for the blind.
The Director of the Center of Printing Press for the Blind reiterated her thanks to Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan and added: "Your presence with us today has its lovely impact on the hearts of our blind children from all over the world. They are present here with us at this moment waiting for shaking hands with Your Highness on the podium. They are waiting, while they do not know the winner positions, but they are sure that the honoring will extend to all the participants.
She thanked the students for their valuable contributions and invited them for more useful reading that will enhance and enriche their cultural level. She thanked the distinguished teamwork which worked hard and diligently to make this event a success for the eighth consecutive year.
At the end of her speech, the director of the Center of Printing Press for the Blind and Visual Challenges stressed that the distinguished presence and participation in the celebration has a great impact on supporting and achieving the guidelines of ZHO’s mission, which works to integrate the cherished categories of disabled people in the society.
For his part, the Emirati student/ Omar Fayez Omar Al-Omari delivered a speech on behalf of the project participants at its various levels. He expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation for the generous care of the project since its first round by Sheikh Hazza Bin Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, which care is the first reason for the success achieved, that is growing a year after another. The project came as a direct result for the wonderful initiative adopted by "Mother of the Blind" Naama Abdul Rahman Al Mansouri Director of the Center for Printing Press for the Blind.
He stressed that the keenness of the sponsor of the ceremony and his personal presence each year to honor and encourage the participants, inspires confidence and optimism in the participants, gives them positive energy, instills in them the hope for a bright future, and pushes them towards continuing learning and exerting efforts to prove their competence, enhance their abilities, and to confirm their presence in various social scenes.
Omar Fayez Al Amri thanked the sponsor of the ceremony and the competition Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his generous presence and wonderful initiative and his permanent patronage for this project. He praised Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, the Printing Press for the Blind. He conveyed his sincere thanks and appreciation for the families who supported, encouraged the students to participate, motivated them a lot and helped them to overcome the difficulties. He promised the audience to participate in the next rounds of the project.
81 contestants from UAE participated in the Ninth Round of the Project, including locals and residents from Sudan, Yemen, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Kingdom of Bahrain, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Germany. At the first level of the competition, age group 6-9 years, 5 students participated, the student Ami Bint El Hadi from Mauritania achieved the first position, student Moza Abdullah Al-Hammadi from the United Arab Emirates came as Second, and the student Alaa Mohammed Al Sadiq from the United Arab Emirates as Third.
20 students participated at the second level, the age group 10 – 12 years, where the first student was Ghaith Mohammed Al-Ghafli from the United Arab Emirates, the first (repeated) was Isabella Jesse from Germany, the Second was Mohammed wald El Sheikh from Mauritania, and the third was Zeinab Ibrahim Abd Ali from the Kingdom of Bahrain.
11 students participated at the third level, the age group 13 - 15 years, in which the first position was won by student/ Naima Saeed Al-Derai from the United Arab Emirates, the first (repeated) was student/ Walaa Mohammed Ali Al-Farsani from the Kingdom of Bahrain, the student Sayed Mohammed Wald Yab from Mauritania was Second, and the student Abdul Aziz Khalid Khawaja from the United Arab Emirates as Third.
20 students participated at Level 4 (the age group 16 -18 years) in which the results came as follows: Wafa Awad Mabrouk from the United Arab Emirates: the first , Abdul Aziz Hamidi Al-Meqareh from Qatar: the First (repeated), Mohammed Wald El Mukhtar from Mauritania: the Second, and Omar Fayez Al Omari from the United Arab Emirates: the Third.
25 students participated at Level 5 (the age group 19 and above) , where the results came as follow: the First: Karen Saleh Qewan from Lebanon, the Second :student/ Saif El-Din Hatem Abdulrahman from the United Arab Emirates and the Third : student/ Mohammed Mubarak Hanafi from the United Arab Emirates.
The festival included a lyric break that consisted a song performed by the Emirati singer Hamad Al Ameri, which he directed to his fellow participants in the category of the blind. Another song from the UAE heritage was performed by the student Taleb Rashid Hamad Al Marri of, as an expression of the blind of their delight for their participation in the project, which song was admired and applauded by the audience.
Documentary Film about the Project
The ceremony included a documentary film about the project in its ninth round, which was specially prepared to introduce the project since its first launch. It also monitors the initiative of the printing press center named "I read by My Fingers", which was launched during the month of reading in Abu Dhabi (March 2017). The film presented some of the stages of the project which won Khalifa Prize for Public Education in its fifth session round, 2011 in the field of innovative educational projects and programs at the state level
Honoring the Sponsor Of The Project
During the ceremony, HE the Acting Secretary General of Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care accompanied by Ms. Naama Abdul Rahman Al Mansoori and Hesham Al Bu-Wahidi, the employee from the Category of the Blind, thanked Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They gifted His Highness an honor shield bearing the project’s logo, in appreciation to his support and care to the project since its first round.
During the ceremony, the event stakeholders were honored and given honor shields and certificates of appreciation, including Amal Abdul Qader Afifi, Secretary General of Khalifa Educational Award, Thuraya Al Sabri, Director of Corporate Communication of Kalimat for Publishing, Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Prize for Arab Child Culture, Mr. Yusuf Al Hammadi form Abu Dhai Executive Council, the writer of Qasr al-Hosn story, the writer Shaima Al-Marzouki, Ms. Wafaa al-Amimi, and the Arab World Distribution House represented by Mr. Mahmoud Labniyeh, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. Further, the Emirati singer Hamad Al Amri was honored along with the toastmaster Hussain Al Ameri, and the Emirati Abshir Team for the Voluntary Ceremony Organizing.
The ceremony was attended by HE Dr. Mugheer Al Kheyaili, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Health Authority, HE Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abdulla Abdul ‘Aaali Al Humaidan, ZHO Board Member and Acting Secretary General, and Abdullah Ismail Al Kamali, ZHO Head of Acting Head of Special Needs Sector, Mr. Mohammed Salem Al Dhahri, Chief Operating Officer, Abu Dhabi Education Council, representatives of project partners and participating publishers, as well as a number of the organization's leaders and parent of participating students.
The Joy of Winning
The Emirati student Wafaa Awad Mabrouk, winner of the first place in the fourth level of the competition, has received great encouragement from the audience, as she was greatly affected after hearing the announcement of her winning. She expressed her great happiness because it was her first time that she won such a prize , though she has been participating for consecutive nine years. She expressed her appreciation to her family and everyone who supported and helped her to win this prize.
The Winning Song
The student/ Walaa Mohammed Ali Al-Farsani, from the Kingdom of Bahrain, who won the first place in the third level, performed a song celebrating her achievement, which song showed her outstanding artistic abilities that was encouraged and applauded by the audience.
About the Project
The Braille Story Project, under the slogan "Everyone Reads", is the first of its kind in the Arab world. It aims at enriching the culture of the blind and improving their reality by reading a series of meaningful stories. This Project won Khalifa Educational Prize for the year 2011 in the field of innovative educational projects and programs in the United Arab Emirates.
Previous Project Rounds
The first round of the project was held in 2007 and the closing ceremony was held at ZHO’s Abu Dhabi Center, where 20 students of the category of the Blind participated, in the presence of officials, parents, specialists and coordinators. During the first round about 60 of the participating stories were printed in Braille.
The Second round of the project was held in 2008 and the closing ceremony was held at the ZHO’s Abu Dhabi Center, where 30 students of the category of the Blind participated, in the presence of officials, parents and specialists. During the second round about 200 of the participating stories were printed in Braille.
Third round of the project was held in 2009. The closing ceremony was held at Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi, where 41 students of the category of the Blind participated, in the presence of the event’s sponsor/Sheikh Hazaa bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, supporters, officials, parents and specialists. During the third round about 350 of the participating stories were printed in Braille.
Fourth round of the project was held in 2010. The closing ceremony was held at Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi, where 410students of the category of the Blind participated, in the presence of the event’s sponsor/Sheikh Hazaa bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, supporting agencies and a number of concerned parties, teachers and coordinators. During the fourth round about 380 of the participating stories were printed in Braille in the cultural, educational, heritage and environmental fields.
The fifth round of 2011 was held at Al Raha Beach Hotel in Abu Dhabi and was attended by GCC participants and the blind students participated by reading stories in English. During the fourth round about 5000 of the participating stories were printed in Braille in the cultural, educational, heritage and environmental fields. Fifty participants from the category of the blind participated in the event, in the presence of the ceremony sponsor Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, supporters, officials, parents, teachers and coordinators.
The closing ceremony of the sixth round 2012 was held at Al Raha Beach Hotel and was distinguished by the Arab participations, such as the participation of students from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Yemen and other Arab countries, where the number of participating students was approximately 65. The closing ceremony was attended by Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, ambassadors, supporters, officials, parents, teachers and students.
During the seventh round 2013, the project was expanded enough to progress towards the internationality stage, where 70 students participated from UAE, the GCC countries and a number of Arab and foreign countries. The result announcement ceremony was attended by the Sponsor/ Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, ambassadors, supporters, officials, parents, teachers and students.
During the Eighth Round, the project continued its progress at the international level , where 77 students participated. The result announcement ceremony was attended by the Sponsor/ Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, ambassadors, supporters, officials, parents, teachers and students.
Printing Press of the Blind
It is worth mentioning that the Printing Press of the Blind is one of the centers of the special needs sector affiliated to Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care. It is the only printing house in the UAE that prints educational materials (curricula and teaching aids), cultural materials and Braille stories for the blind. It provides services to the blind and visually impaired persons throughput UAE. It was established in 2000. It was affiliated to Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care on January 24th , 2006.
The printing press provides a number of services related to the education of people with visual challenges in the centers of care and rehabilitation and schools of integration throughout UAE. These services include the printing of Braille curricula, exam forms, study abstracts for those interested, relief educational aids and Braille stories and cultural books.
Beneficiaries of Its Services
The beneficiaries of the said services are the care and rehabilitation centers of the Special Needs Sector affiliated to the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care, the care and rehabilitation centers of the disabled affiliated to Ministry of Social Affairs, schools of public and private integration in in all educational areas within UAE, in addition to all blind/ non-blind and visually impaired students, teachers and parents.