Who are the People of Determination?

Are you wondering what is the meaning of people of determination or how their lives can be improved?

Who are considered People of Determination?

The law in the UAE defines a person of determination as someone suffering from a temporary or permanent, full or partial deficiency or infirmity in physical, sensory, mental, communication, educational or psychological abilities.

How many people of determination are there?

According to the World Health Organization approximately 11 percent of the UAE population has a disability. This percentage is consistent with what the WHO projects is the world’s population of people with disabilities.

Who came up with People of Determination?

The term people of determination was announced in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The new term was part of a range of initiatives within the national strategy for recognizing and protecting the role of disabled people in the wider UAE society. Under the National Policy for Empowering People with Special Needs, people with special needs or disabilities will be referred to as 'people of determination' to recognise their achievements in different fields.

“Disability is in fact the inability to make progress and achievements. The achievements that people of determination have made in various spheres over the past years are proof that determination and strong will can do the impossible and encourage people to counter challenges and difficult circumstances while firmly achieving their goals”

What policies and initiatives are there for people of determination in the UAE?

Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework

Under the leadership of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid
Al Maktoum and in accordance with ‘My Community…A city for everyone’
initiative the Inclusive Education Task Force, in collaboration with all
education providers, is committed to achieving educational excellence
and is therefore determined to establish a quality inclusive education system across the Emirate of Dubai.


The focus on inclusive education is part of the wider vision for Dubai to become a fully inclusive city. This, in turn, is part of a wider strategic plan which, in addition to education, incorporates health and rehabilitation, employment, universal accessibility and social protection

The UAE Sign Language Dictionary

In 2018, the UAE launched the first ‘Emirati sign language dictionary’, which seeks to develop and standardise the signs used by people of determination with hearing impairments across the UAE. The dictionary is available online, and it includes 5,000 words for teaching people with hearing difficulties and training sign language translators.


The dictionary is in line with Vision 2021 and National Agenda which aim to maintain a cohesive society and promote an inclusive environment that integrates all segments of society.

My Community....A City for Everyone

“My Community… A City for Everyone” aims at turning Dubai into an inclusive, barrier-free, rights-based society that promotes, protects and ensures the self-determination of everyone.

The strategy to achieve this vision consists of:


  • Planning and development
  • Policy formation, implementation and evaluation
  • Remediation and access to justice
  • Procurement of public and private services
  • Public participation

The strategy follows a twin-track approach to provide equality of rights and opportunities for people of determination.

The five main pillars are:

  • Quality health and rehabilitation services
  • Inclusive education
  • Equal employment opportunities
  • Universal accessibility
  • Sustainable social protection system

The UAE Disability Act 2006

The UAE Disability Act (Federal Law No. 29/2006) was passed in 2006 to protect the rights of people with disabilities. This law stipulates that UAE nationals with disabilities have the same rights to work and occupy public positions. In addition, the UAE ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the March 19, 2010.


In March 2014, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, issued Law No. (2) of 2014 “to protect the rights of people with disabilities in the emirate of Dubai”. The law supports Federal Law No. (29) concerning the rights of people with disabilities, and supports providing high-quality medical care and social services, boosts public awareness of people with disabilities, contributes to integrating people with disabilities into society, and reaffirms their participation in social development 

“Today’s launch of the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination re-affirms our commitment to inclusion, equality and empowerment for all members of UAE society, upholding everyone’s right to participate fully and with dignity in our community”

Terminology for People of Determination Handbook

The handbook produced by the Dubai Executive Council as part of their strategy ‘My Community, A City for Everyone’. The communications handbook contains guidelines on how to reference people of determination in official communications and documents for public or mass consumption.
The handbook provides clarifying information on misconceptions regarding disabilities, vocabulary dos and don’ts, and tips for framing stories, conducting interviews with people of determination, and preparing the information in accessible formats for inclusive consumption.

It's About Ability

The purpose of this human rights activities guide is to empower children and young people with and without disabilities to speak out on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to advocate for their rights, and to make their communities more inclusive.
The guide was designed to serve as a resource to the booklet “It’s About Ability: An explanation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, a summary of the Convention written especially for children. The learning guide can be downloaded here. The activities in this guide are to be used by young leaders, peer educators, teachers and other educators at the community level to facilitate learning among 12- to 18-year-olds about the convention and how it applies to children. The main thrust of this guide is that all children and young people are equal: with appropriate attitudes, support and confidence, every person can lead a fruitful and self-determined life in their community with dignity.

The Guide for Built Environment and Universal Design Code

Produced by the Dubai Municipality, the original Universal Design Code was launched in 2017. The purpose of the Dubai Universal Design Code is to define how the built environment and transportation systems in the Emirate shall be designed, constructed and managed to enable one to approach, enter, use, egress from and evacuate independently, in an equitable and dignified manner, to the greatest extent possible, in line with the Universal Design concept. 

This proceeding document was a This illustrated guide has dual purposes, firstly to be used as audit hand book integrally with the classified universal design checklist in order to ensure the compliance with Dubai Universal Design Code requirements. Secondly, to be used as an inclusive design guide which helps in demonstrating the design characteristics of accessible built environment that enables everyone to approach, enter, use, and egress from the buildings safely and independently.

““an inclusive community, free from barriers that guarantees the empowerment and well-being of People of Determination””

What organizations are helping disabled people in the UAE?

Community Development Authority

​​​The Community Development Authority (CDA) was founded by a decree of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in July 2008. CDA is responsible for setting up and developing a framework for social development, and aims to achieve the goals outlined in the Dubai Strategic Plans.

Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination

H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed A​l Nahyan, President, issued, during his tenure as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the Law No. (2) dated April 19, 2004, establishing Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO) in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, as an umbrella for all humanitarian bodies, social services, people of determination institutions and any future bodies established in Abu Dhabi for humanitarian goals. 

Dubai Club for People of Determination

Established in 1993, the Dubai Club for The Disabled aims to rehabilitate the disabled both physically and mentally to play their developmental role in the community in sports, cultural and social fields. The Club spared no efforts to devote all available capabilities to members depending on their disabilities, and provide a wide range of sports suit their abilities. The Club is keen on participating in all sports competitions both locally and internationally leading the Club athletes to ascend podiums in local and international forums. Additionally, the Club paid attention to the cultural level of its members, as it is a component of human development.


The first digital hub of inclusion in MENA. The Iminclusive App connects persons with disabilities (People of Determination) to inclusive jobs and opportunities.


ImInclusive was launched in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and incubated at the inaugural first-of its-kind social incubation center, Ma’an. Ma’an translates to “Together” in English. Today, ImInclusive successfully operates in multiple communities.