Sharjah museums awarded ‘Accessible for Disability Certificate’
Two museums under the Sharjah Museums Authority, SMA, have been awarded the certificate of Accessible for Disability in the Museum category by The World Disability Union, WDU.
Established in 2011, the not-for-profit WDU is an umbrella organisation for 150 sub-organisations from 68 countries that aims to incorporate people with disabilities into the community.
The latest WDU announcement said that Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization and Sharjah Maritime Museum, have passed all regulations and guidelines for disability-friendly amenities.
These include the availability of wheelchair ramps, restroom fixtures, automatic doors, and low-rise reception desks that enable SMA staff to communicate effectively with people in wheelchairs.
The SMA has also teamed up with Al Amal School for the Deaf from Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, to help its employees master sign language.
Since 2011, the SMA had launched various programmes that provide opportunities for children with hearing disabilities to tour museums.
“This is another important milestone for the emirate of Sharjah and SMA,” said Manal Ataya, Director-General of SMA.
“We share the WDU’s mission regarding the inclusion of individuals with disabilities into society. Organisations are at their best when they welcome, respect, and involve people of all backgrounds, including people with disabilities. Accessibility is something we take very seriously at the Authority, and we strive to ensure that our museums, in this regard, are leading in this region,” she added Over the years, SMA had rolled out a series of services and programmes for people with different disabilities.
Apart from making its facilities wheelchair-accessible, the Authority had trained staff members to communicate with hearing-impaired visitors in sign language.
In 2018, SMA launched a first of its kind initiative in the Arabian Gulf, to provide tours moderated by people with hearing disabilities.
Through the “Outstanding Guide in Sign Language” programme, SMA offers a thorough training programme targeting deaf graduates to provide them with the skills they need to be outstanding museum guides.
Also in 2018, the authority has launched its pioneering “Autism Friendly Museums” programme and published its Museums in the Middl