A collection of charities, government entities and individuals were yesterday honoured by Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak – the Mother of the Nation – for their work to support and protect children.
Awards for the best nursery in an office, initiative to support children with special needs, and scientific research were just some of the winners announced by Sheikha Fatima, president of The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
"The UAE, since the time of Sheikh Zayed, has been sure to invest in and build human capital since they are the most valuable treasure," Sheikha Fatima said in a statement read by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.
“The nation is taking care of people of various social backgrounds, the priority of whom are mothers and children.”
She said it was vital for children to be raised in an emotionally and intellectually safe environment because “they are the future makers and will become entrusted once grown to become confident, willing and relentless people.”
The ultimate role of a mother, Sheikha Fatima said, is childcare and participation in the development of the country through her involvement in public roles.
She said the ideal mother is one who can balance work and family, raising her children well to prepare and involve them in the making of the nation’s future and development.
In its second year, the Sheikha Fatima Childhood and Motherhood Award aims to encourage the government and private sector to "give more for childhood in many areas," said Reem Al Falasi, secretary general of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
The award highlights the welfare needs of mothers and children and seeks to motivate children to strive for innovation.
Ms Al Falasi said there are plans to introduce another category – bringing them up to 11 – to recognise efforts in the area of “children entertainment and games.”
"We believe that it is the child's right to play and play is very important to growth and the development of the child's brain so we encourage the best quality of entertainment for kids. Just like education and health, play is as important," she said.
One of about two dozen children honoured at Tuesday's ceremony was Maryam Al Ghaferi, 11. The Grade 6 pupil, who was among more than 100 children to apply for the award, invented the smart bench which charges mobile devices and a small military tank that can detect mines
Her mother, who drove more than three hours from Fujairah to Abu Dhabi to see her daughter getting recognised, was overwhelmed with pride. "There are no words to express how proud and happy I am of her," Ms Al Ghaferi said.
The awards were presented by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, vice chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.