Mahnoor Dodhy takes part in a cooking lesson at the Kalimati Communication and Rehabilitation Centre. Alex Atack for The National
Mahnoor Dodhy takes part in a cooking lesson at the Kalimati Communication and Rehabilitation Centre. Alex Atack for The National

Call for inclusion at school and work

DUBAI // Don’t shut us out, be our friend, is the message from deaf children and their parents who are advocating more inclusion and integration in schools and at work.

Young students have already taken the initiative in some cases.

When Mahnoor Dodhy, 8, signed to invite her grade 1 classmates to a recent open day at her speech therapy centre, her hearing friend Noora was quick to join in.

The girls ran on the lawn, petted animals and baked cookies at the Kalimati Communication and Rehabilitation Centre with Noora sometimes stepping in as Mahnoor’s unofficial interpreter.

Shy of signing to a stranger, Mahnoor was gently prodded by Noora to sign that they had enjoyed learning to make meatballs and also learnt math together in regular classes at the Al Mizhar American Academy.

“If more children like Noora learn to sign even simple words like, ‘please, thank you’ it will help girls like Mahnoor not feel like an outcast,” said her mother Kanza Dodhy.

The family realised Mahnoor required a cochlear implant at eight months when loud sounds did not disturb her.

Then began the struggle to find a place at a mainstream school since Mahnoor can sign, lip read and has a limited ability to speak. It took the Dodhy’s three years and applications to 50 schools in Dubai and Sharjah.

“If the school did not reject her outright, they said they were willing but could not accommodate her,” Ms Dodhy said. The family including Mahnoor’s younger brothers have learnt to sign.

“She lost two years but now she loves school, she is a visual learner. We are constantly working as parents so these children are included. A lot more education and information is needed in society. The attitude should never be - they cannot hear so let them be.”

For older children the isolation can be disheartening.

“I want more friends, more people to understand me, not feel I’m different,” said Omniah Amer, 16, who has profound hearing loss and speaks slowly drawing out her words.

“I like Math, sometimes science, I can lip read. But teacher walks around, writes on board, I should see her mouth, I cannot write words then.”

Her mother Eman Faisal said it was a challenge to find acceptance in the system.

“Teachers have a lot of work but there must be a change in attitude of students, teachers; it is a call for our whole society to pay attention to these children and accept them.”

Laws have been in place since 2009 to protect the rights of children with special needs. But it took campaigns by educators and parents on integration in public and private schools for deaf children to gain admission to some mainstream schools over the past three years.

Parents understand it will require consistent effort so inclusion is not perceived as forced but bridges are being built by the community.

“Change is happening, it may be gradual but we must strive to constantly move forward. We cannot always sugar-coat reality so maybe our children with hearing loss will have to learn that they have to work harder, it’s just as it is,” said Bedour Al Raqbani, director and founder of Kalimati.

She founded the centre, which means “my words” in Arabic in 2010 after being unable to find suitable facility for her daughter who was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at nine months old.

“When our children are out there in society, in mainstream schools, in jobs they are gaining empathy and understanding. We always brag about children learning other languages, so why not sign becoming one of the languages they learn? That will create a cohesive community where the deaf and the hearing live together in harmony.”

Itcan profile

Founders: Mansour Althani and Abdullah Althani

Based: Business Bay, with offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India

Sector: Technology, digital marketing and e-commerce

Size: 70 employees 

Revenue: On track to make Dh100 million in revenue this year since its 2015 launch

Funding: Self-funded to date



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Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
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Light heavyweight:
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Preliminary Card

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The National will broadcast live from the IMF on Friday October 13 at 7pm UAE time (3pm GMT) as our Editor-in-Chief Mina Al-Oraibi moderates a panel on how technology can help growth in MENA.

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Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

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Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek independent legal advice.


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Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
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Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
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Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

Ways to control drones

Countries have been coming up with ways to restrict and monitor the use of non-commercial drones to keep them from trespassing on controlled areas such as airports.

"Drones vary in size and some can be as big as a small city car - so imagine the impact of one hitting an airplane. It's a huge risk, especially when commercial airliners are not designed to make or take sudden evasive manoeuvres like drones can" says Saj Ahmed, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research.

New measures have now been taken to monitor drone activity, Geo-fencing technology is one.

It's a method designed to prevent drones from drifting into banned areas. The technology uses GPS location signals to stop its machines flying close to airports and other restricted zones.

The European commission has recently announced a blueprint to make drone use in low-level airspace safe, secure and environmentally friendly. This process is called “U-Space” – it covers altitudes of up to 150 metres. It is also noteworthy that that UK Civil Aviation Authority recommends drones to be flown at no higher than 400ft. “U-Space” technology will be governed by a system similar to air traffic control management, which will be automated using tools like geo-fencing.

The UAE has drawn serious measures to ensure users register their devices under strict new laws. Authorities have urged that users must obtain approval in advance before flying the drones, non registered drone use in Dubai will result in a fine of up to twenty thousand dirhams under a new resolution approved by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Mr Ahmad suggest that "Hefty fines running into hundreds of thousands of dollars need to compensate for the cost of airport disruption and flight diversions to lengthy jail spells, confiscation of travel rights and use of drones for a lengthy period" must be enforced in order to reduce airport intrusion.


Mohammed Naveed (captain), Mohamed Usman (vice captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Chirag Suri, Shaiman Anwar, Mohammed Boota, Ghulam Shabber, Imran Haider, Tahir Mughal, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan, Qadeer Ahmed, Fahad Nawaz, Abdul Shakoor, Sultan Ahmed, CP Rizwan

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Power: 1,015hp
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UAE results
Beat China by 16 runs
Lost to Thailand by 10 wickets
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Standings (P, W, l, NR, points)

1. Thailand 5 4 0 1 9
2. UAE 5 4 1 0 8
3. Nepal 5 2 1 2 6
4. Hong Kong 5 2 2 1 5
5. Malaysia 5 1 4 0 2
6. China 5 0 5 0 0

Thailand v UAE, Monday, 7am


By 2030, Abu Dhabi aims to achieve:

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• Dh90 billion contribution to GDP, about 84% more than Dh49 billion in 2023

• 178,000 new jobs, bringing the total to about 366,000

• 52,000 hotel rooms, up 53% from 34,000 in 2023

• 7.2 million international visitors, almost 90% higher compared to 2023's 3.8 million

• 3.9 international overnight hotel stays, 22% more from 3.2 nights in 2023

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Developer: Aspyr
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The specs

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Transmission: 7-speed S tronic
Power: 265hp / 195kW
Torque: 370Nm
Price: from Dh260,000
On sale: now


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Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Rating: 2/5