ABU DHABI // Fatima Jasim still remembers the day in primary school when her class was invited to send an email to Sheikha Fatima, widow of the nation’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed.
“Since we were kids, we would hear about her and what she was doing for us,” said Ms Jasim, an Emirati.
So when the opportunity came to write to the Mother of the Nation, Ms Jasim sent a simple message: “That I loved her a lot.”
She was one of dozens of people who showed their love for Sheikha Fatima by volunteering for the past 10 days at the Mother of the Nation Festival, which ended yesterday.
The festival on the Corniche celebrated Sheikha Fatima’s life and her influence in elevating the status of women everywhere as Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union, Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation and head of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
“She is our mother, she is all Emiratis’ mother and she has influenced us,” said Ms Jasim.
“What she was doing and is still doing for us as women makes me proud and makes me want to give even more and study more.”
Event organiser Duaa Mukhayer said she could not have asked for a more successful festival.
“It has been 10 amazing days.”
“We’ve received many visitors from all over the UAE and beyond, from different backgrounds, different nationalities and different ages as well,” said Ms Mukhayer, of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
“Everyone was celebrating and enjoying the activities we were having across all five zones and the pavilion. It was just amazing, everyone was enjoying it.”
She said the aim of the festival was to highlight Sheikh Fatima’s “vision and achievements”, and the successes of “Emirati women in the society, as well as the role of the mother in the society and in her family”.
Maitha Ali, who volunteered at the multimedia pavilion that featured archive photographs and artefacts telling of Sheikha Fatima’s contribution to women’s empowerment at home and abroad, said the festival helped to unite and better inform visitors.
“This festival is a very great opportunity for families to bond near the beach with music, food, love, beverages and a lot of activities and fun,” said Ms Ali, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi.
“It really brings the life into Abu Dhabi as well. It makes people come together – all cultures – with a better understanding of our culture.”
Ms Ali said she hoped the festival would also “erase stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims”.
“Sheikha Fatima, even though she’s not seen, she still has her works and actions. They are enough, they talk about her,” she said.
Ayesha Al Bedwawi, who took her children to the festival for five of the 10 days, said it was the perfect venue for spending quality family time.
“It was amazing, amazing,” said Mrs Al Bedwawi. “The place is amazing, the price and everything is reasonable and the food is there, the fun is there, everything is there.”
She thanked Sheikha Fatima for the festival.
“She makes the kids have fun during their time off from school,” said Mrs Al Bedwawi. “It was amazing.”
Source: uae news