Following the “new year, new me” slogan that we adopt at the beginning of every year, we’d love to start 2020 by promoting tolerance, acceptance, getting past our differences, and respecting the ‘other’. The start of a new decade certainly calls for a new mindset.
On Tuesday, 24 December, Mohannad Emad, a child with special needs, called for the introduction of a new subject that teaches school children to respect and accept others. This took place during the ‘Able to differ’ celebration, that was held for the second year running, to empower children with special needs and promote inclusion in the Egyptian community. The initiative was immediately approved by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
In October 2019, the Ministry of Social Solidarity launched ‘Hayah Gadida’ (New Life); an initiative to employ people with disabilities in cooperation with a private company.
One of the key examples that comes to mind when speaking of tolerance is the Hollywood movie “Wonder”, which should be a part of every school curriculum to teach students to accept each other’s differences. Implementing a subject like this would enable us to become a society that no longer discriminates against someone who is different, and reduce the rate of bullying in schools and out.
We have already been moving in the right direction, with a number of promising examples. Heba Atef, the professional swimmer who became the nation’s first flight attendant with Down Syndrome, and Ibrahim El-Kholy, the first Egyptian teaching assistant with Down Syndrome at the University of Canada in Egypt’s Mass Communication, Radio and Television Department, and Mostafa Nofal, the Egyptian model, with Down Syndrome, who recently took social media by storm in a pharaoh’s outfit.
Initiatives like these support inclusiveness and are an important step towards a better quality of life for everyone.