Intimate reading supports UAE’s vision to make 2016 the Year of Reading and marks the latest initiative of Ski Dubai’s ongoing Animal Assisted Therapy Program
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, yesterday hosted a group of children from The Developing Child Centre (TDCC) for a special book reading at Ski Dubai, alongside favourite residents and muses for the story, the Snow Penguins.
The TDCC, an empowerment centre in Dubai, dedicated to identifying, building and developing the skills required by children to feel confident and succeed, visited Ski Dubai as part of Ski Dubai’s ongoing Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program, a community initiative which actively supports children with special needs in the local community.
In March 2015, Ski Dubai penguin trainers teamed up with a group of professional therapists and teachers to design an engaging and unique eight-week program custom-made for the children at TDCC. The elements of the interactive program are tailored for each child’s individual needs and help to improve their social, emotional and cognitive functioning through engagement with these feathery friends. In addition to their natural qualities of being cute and cuddly, penguins can act as a facilitator of a therapeutic process that promotes educational and motivational effectiveness.
During the visit, children from the TDCC were treated to an exclusive preview of local Emirati author Asma Al Ketbi’s storybook ‘The Bedouin Penguins’, which is inspired by Ski Dubai’s favourite feathery residents.
Sherif Hashem, Senior Marketing Manager at Ski Dubai said: “Working closely with The Developing Child Centre is something that our Snow Penguins team has been really invested in. It’s given us an opportunity to deliver great moments, while supporting the UAE’s vision to make 2016 the Year of Reading. The community initiative, in combination with other commitments such as our partnership with the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, also helps us raise awareness for the King and Gentoo Penguins and protect their species in the wild.”
Ski Dubai’s penguin programme is supported by the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, a multi-generation research programme in the US. Fifteen out of eighteen penguin species are either endangered or threatened in the wild and, through this collaboration, Ski Dubai is able to support the research needed to help protect the penguins. Also, every Snow Penguin guest at Ski Dubai is helping support ground-breaking research on the penguin species and their wellbeing in Antarctica.
The Bedouin Penguins storybook is available in both Arabic and English, and is on sale now in Jashanmal Bookstores priced at AED 38.00. It is also available online through www.jamalon.com.