In recognition of the significant contributions made by the UNESCO Regional Office in the Arab Countries to support children across the Arab world, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has expressed his admiration for their ongoing initiatives.
Emphasizing Sharjah’s commitment to enhancing collaboration in this area, he expressed his support for the efforts through the implementation of standards, hosting conferences, and establishing centers dedicated to children. The Ruler’s remarks highlight the importance Sharjah places on advancing child welfare and fostering cooperation in the region.
This came during the opening ceremony of The Regional Early Childhood Care and Education Conference in The Arab States, in the presence of his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, which is being organised by the UNESCO office in partnership with several local and federal authorities, this Sunday morning at the Sharjah Education Academy.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi delivered a speech in which she welcomed the attendees in the Emirate of Sharjah, which is child-friendly and incubator of children’s talents and skills, stressing that hosting The Regional Early Childhood Care and Education Conference in The Arab States in Sharjah is an affirmation of the emirate’s active role in providing an ideal platform to host events and conferences that promote the concept of child care and ensure their safety and security in a constantly changing world.
She added, “The first years of a person’s life play a major role in building an individual’s identity, starting with learning to walk and communicating verbally with others, through forming relationships and friendships with their peers, until they achieve their independence in society.” Based on this, H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, attaches utmost importance to everything related to raising a child in an environment that preserves his physical and psychological health, and safeguards his rights and dignity as an influential individual in society. Children are the core of the community fabric in the Emirate of Sharjah, and caring for them is a permanent and indisputable priority.”
The Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, spoke about the reasons for the personal initiatives she took for the children, saying “The first steps I personally took to participate in the community development process in Sharjah came out of my responsibility as a mother, so I decided to focus on developing children’s skills in “childhood centres” and ” Sharjah Girls Clubs”, where these centres provided creative spaces in which children practice their hobbies, explore themselves and get to know other children with whom they share these hobbies. And, with the generous blessing of H.H. the Ruler of Sharjah, we have opened a number of government facilities that have won the trust of parents to be their first choice for their children in refining their skills and developing their talents to invest their abilities outside the classroom.”
Sheikha Jawaher addressed the actual experiences in the Emirate of Sharjah that empowered children and contributed to building their personality and the goals aimed at these steps, saying “We are looking for creativity when it comes to individual care and development in his social environment, and we do not stop at the experiences of others, but rather go beyond them to reach deeper dimensions and higher goals. And in this, Sharjah was a pioneer in motivating children to enter the parliamentary path at an early age, and to invest their developing leadership skills in the experience of the “Sharjah Children’s Shura Council” since 1997, where the child goes through the experience of running for membership in the council in addition to setting his goals as a parliamentary candidate, leading to his attainment of a seat in the council, so that the child learns from this experience that he has a role in developing his society and building his country.
The Emirate of Sharjah was unique to this experience in instilling a sense of belonging to the homeland and enabling children to express their opinions and ideas and share them with their peers, as it is a unique opportunity for them to experience decision-making with democratic practices by asking questions and making interventions and coming up with recommendations supporting the slogan of each session held. Under the slogan “A Quarter of a Century of Excellence in Parliamentary Work,” the current parliamentary session 2022-2024 was launched. We were pleased with the requests of children wishing to run, who numbered 300 boys and girls from affiliates of Rubu’ Qarn centres and all schools of the emirate. This undoubtedly indicates the success of this distinguished experience and its fruitful results in a young generation full of human energies, to be the best ambassador for his country, people and culture.”
“We have not forgotten the importance of focusing on the most prominent aspect of Sharjah’s series of experiences in child care, which is to provide a healthy and safe environment for him in all circumstances; and, in anticipation of events, we launched a campaign under the title “Child Safety”, which aimed to educate new parents on the importance of purchasing a car seat appropriate for the child to ensure his protection on the roads. With the success achieved by the campaign in this awareness march, we directed the continuation of the work of the “Child Safety” as a department falling under the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, and the expansion of the scope of this department’s directions to include protecting the child from any potential danger affecting his health or life, where the administration studies potential risks in the lives of children and educates parents and society as a whole about the need to pay attention to these risks and participate in protecting children from them,” Sheikha Jawaher added.
The Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs expressed her pride in the model presented by the Emirate of Sharjah in the field of child care in all stages of life, noting that choosing Sharjah as the venue for this conference reflects high confidence and competence to represent the effective leadership role in this field, which has become an approach, looking forward to the results and recommendations that will come out of the conference that would enhance regional solidarity in support of childhood, and achieve the sustainable development goals of the United Nations Development Programme.