A beacon of light


Manar Al Hammadi,
a GDRFA employee, has contributed
to bringing hopes to numerous lives


Manar Al Hammadi is no ordinary woman. Challenging her blindness, this young Emirati woman not only dispelled common perceptions people have about being visually impaired; she surmounted the difficulties that came her way and today, has become a beacon of light for many others.

Determined right from her childhood to make her mark in the society, Manar decided never to let blindness come in the way of her ambitions and surprised all by successfully completing first a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences and later, a Masters in Management and Strategies.

She went on to become the first Arab woman in the world to hold a certification as an International Trainer from British Institute of Leadership and Management.

"I never let myself fall into despair and decided that the gift of life that Allah has given me," she says, "I must use it to bring happiness into the lives of others. It gives me a lot of satisfaction and joy too."

Manar, who is one of our staff members, is trained in the art of dealing with people who are visually impaired, not only within the scope of their work but in all the affairs of life.

Through voluntary programmes, she has been educating the community of how to deal with those with visual disability. She created the 'Manaar Forum', an annual event for the visually impaired, with the support of GDRFA. "The forum has been highly successful so far.

Through this forum, my goal is to facilitate the integration of the visually impaired in the society, make the community know how they can be more accepting of the blind and get their best contribution.

A visually impaired person can contribute to society as much as any other person, and my goal is to make this happen. History is full of examples of people who brought about major positive changes in society in spite of being blind," she says.

She aims to make the forum an annual feature so that it can reach the maximum number of people.

Manar spends most of her time reading and writing columns for various publications. She uses modern-day technology to her advantage and stays updated by gaining knowledge from the internet "so that I can improve my ability and succeed in my mission to motivate people to contribute to society".

"I am also very keen on developing the e-services, smart programs for blind, which is in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, regarding smart government. Toward this, I am eager to contribute to creating new smart services for the visually impaired."

Manar's efforts have been widely recognized, and she has received numerous government awards including the Dubai Award for Excellence in Government Performance for the Unknown Soldier category in 2007.

"I never felt happier in my life than I did when I received the honour from none other than His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makktoum," she says.

Manar is very grateful to GDRFA-Dubai for the support and encouragement, particularly in organizing the Manaar Forum.

On the advice to the visually impaired: "I always encourage them to speak for themselves instead of waiting for someone else to talk on their behalf.

"We must do our best in whatever we take up, and if we speak for ourselves, we are the ones who will be able to lead a respectful, successful and a happy life," she added.

Her achievements have only motivated Manar to pursue her goal of empowering people with disabilities more vigorously.

"I still have a lot to do for myself as well as for society and for people with disabilities, particularly the blind.

“I want to defend their rights and help them lead better lives," she said.


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