From public places and airports to police stations, how Dubai is evolving as a POD-friendly city


Dubai: From public places and airports to police stations, Dubai is rapidly evolving as a disability-friendly city.

The Community Development Authority (CDA) is working to expand cooperation between major entities in Dubai to achieve the goal of making the city POD-friendly at a faster pace.


POD stands for People of Determination, a term used in the United Arab Emirates to describe people with disabilities.

Dr Sheikha Alia Al Qassimi, Social Development expert for POD at CDA, said on Wednesday: “Our efforts focus more on the feedback we receive from the community, especially from children, parents, focus groups and other parties. interested. It is a continuous and constant process.”

It was peaking at the Knowledge Hub, held as part of the three-day AccessAbilities Expo 2023 that concluded in Dubai on Wednesday.

Hosted by Nadd Al Shiba PR and Events Management, the annual exhibition dedicated to PODs is organized under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and President and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group.

“Many times the comments we receive are based on common experiences. However, each department offers completely different feedback. We process the recommendations, analyze and give our own recommendations and comments. The idea is to make all our policies and guidelines relevant, experience-based and focused on creating an environment for the entire country to be disability-friendly, said Dr Al Qassimi.

Explaining the ongoing initiatives, he added: “We are constantly evaluating building facilities and overall progress. “We have partnered with several entities and are training their staff and providing recommendations in an effort to reintegrate PODs into society and make them fit.”

POD Compatible Police Stations

During the session, Mohammad Al Hajajji, Secretary of Empowerment of People of Determination at Dubai Police, revealed that all police stations in Dubai are now POD compatible.

“In partnership with the CDA, we have successfully converted all Dubai Police buildings into disability-friendly spaces. We have managed to create an environment where, from the moment they enter the building, they are in an environment where their mobility, interaction and support are taken care of. We also believe that we should focus on human beings and not just buildings,” said Al Hajajji.

He said the department has also taken all necessary measures to ensure that PODs enjoy a seamless experience both in public places and at all Dubai Police facilities.

“At Dubai Police, we have created a checklist of everything that needs to be done. All police personnel are trained to deal with POD, whether at the airport or in public places, in the most attentive and appropriate manner. We have created a series of facilities both in terms of infrastructure and services. “We have sign language interpreters and translators.”

Dubai Police has been working to facilitate an autism-friendly community, he noted.

According to him, Dubai is at the forefront of POD compatibility. “As envisaged by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, the emirate must occupy the number one position in all aspects of human development,” he said, adding that In the Dubai Police, leaders understand that it is easy to get to the top but that it is more important to maintain that position consistently.

DXB and DWC supported by POD

Fatma Taher, Government Agenda Manager at Dubai Airports, said Dubai, being the world’s busiest international hub, has also taken steps to make the facilities comfortable and convenient for PODs.

He revealed that dnata is offering a 20 per cent discount to all POD travelers on the DUBZ service, where checked baggage is collected from passengers’ homes.

DXB has also introduced a number of features for POD travelers, including a trip planner for pre-travel preparation and autism-friendly routing, which offers priority routing for check-in, passport control, check-in points. security check and boarding.

Additionally, Dubai Airports recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dubai Autism Center (DAC) to make it more accessible and inclusive for people of determination.

“We want all sectors of society to enjoy their travel experience and we are committed to ensuring that this is the same or even better for PODs at both Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC),” he said.

DXB has introduced a range of features for POD travelers including a trip planner for pre-travel preparation and autism-friendly routing, offering a prioritized route for check-in, passport control, security checkpoints and boarding. The airport will also have specially trained employees and guest experience ambassadors who can be identified by sunflower pins on their uniforms.


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