Retail pioneer Union Coop signed a memorandum of understanding with the Emirates Down Syndrome Association, as a part of its goal of activating corporate social responsibility initiatives by supporting institutions and associations of public interest in the country, and local humanitarian and community care programs and projects.
The MoU was signed at Union Coop’s headquarters at Al Warqa City Mall between Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, Director of Happiness & Marketing Dept., Union Coop and Dr. Manal Jaroor, Chairperson of Emirates Down Syndrome Association, in the presence of several employees from both sides.
This agreement falls within Union Coop’s framework to strengthen cooperation with associations that serve the most important groups of the community, participate in initiatives and expand their role in community development as well.
Speaking on the significance of this event, Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki stressed that the main aim of the agreement is to establish the concept of ‘giving’ as a societal trend in which all segments of society are involved, as the cooperative has set within its annual goals to support community institutions for the benefit of community members. The signed MoU indicates that the cooperative will strive to morally support the Emirates Down Syndrome Association, thereby consolidating Union Coop’s position in society.
For her part, Dr. Manal Jaroor praised Union Coop’s role in community support, especially for people of determination with Down syndrome, which is considered one of the sustainable forms of support. This reflects the proud values upon which the UAE community was based and their commitment to the principles of social solidarity through such social initiatives.
And she indicated that the association provides its services to more than 615 members with Down syndrome, who are of multiple nationalities and age groups, pointing out that among the most important things that the association does for them are the annual activities and events, their educational and sports support, and early intervention, in addition to educating the community and parents about the importance of this community group and care, as well as family and career counselling, speech therapy and individual sessions. Rehabilitation educational classes and vocational preparation classes are considered one of the most important services provided to people with Down syndrome. In the field of vocational rehabilitation and employment, the association is keen to provide sustainable projects that qualify them to work and live decently, including the creative kitchen, where students receive an academic program in the field of cooking. Moreover, ‘Hospitality’ courses at the Emirates Academy for Hospitality Management were the first of its kind in the country, in addition to sports and artistic programs and participation in national cultural and public events.
The association provides direct services to families through counseling sessions, programs, courses, workshops and forums and provides everything that would reduce psychological pressures on them, in addition to educating the community and families about people with Down syndrome and their abilities and achievements.
The association organized an awareness march in the Dubai Mall on the occasion of the World Down Syndrome Day, and the Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the logo of the International Day and the logo of the association on March 21 on this occasion, and people with Down syndrome, young and old, enjoyed themselves in KidZania and the Aquarium.