ABU DHABI // An online form for Emiratis to pledge their support for relatives and tradition is among measures announced by the Cabinet to strengthen families.
Led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Government ministers on Sunday launched a national campaign called Cohesive Family 2021.
The President, Sheikh Khalifa, “has stressed that family cohesion is a national area of focus”, Sheikh Mohammed said.
“Families are a key priority for all government projects, strategies and policies related to various sectors.”
The campaign will include cultural activities and events, including the Family Pledge, which asks Emiratis to support family members and traditions, inspire children and honour the roles of seniors by signing an online pledge form.
People are also asked to take part by using the hashtag #CohesiveFamilies2021 on social media.
“We aim to be among the best countries in the world and this can only be achieved by strengthening families, which form the nucleus of society,” said Sheikh Mohammed.
“Cohesive families constitute the most definitive path to a strong community.
“We need to show the world the true image of the Emirati community, which fully embraces the country’s values and principles and celebrates its traditions and original identity.
Led by the Ministry of Community Development, the campaign aims to involve children, parents and other members of the community.
Experts have highlighted issues affecting the traditional role of families, such as work demands and time spent on social media.
Divorce rates among nationals have consistently risen, with a 76 per cent increase in divorce cases recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics between 2007 and 2014.
“Everybody is busy,” said Shahnaz Abdul Razak, a mother and author who ran in last year’s FNC elections with a campaign focusing on social issues.
Ms Abdul Razak said the role of family had been compromised by the added demands of modern life, including long working hours.
In the past, family members, even distant relatives, were much closer but that has changed and people’s lives are busier, she said.
“I remember when I was a kid, our uncles, grandfathers – we were all living in one big house,” she said. “This is a long time ago. Now, even your cousin, you will only see them about once a year. It’s a big difference.”
Last month the Federal National Council formed a special committee to look into why Emirati men were choosing to marry foreign women, in another challenge to Emirati family life.
“In the Emirati culture, family has a significant role to play in the development of an individual that starts from nurturing their sense of belonging, their values and the respect for leadership,” said Eiman Al Zaabi, an author and mother of four children from Abu Dhabi.
She said co-existing with other cultures, leaving families in the UAE to pursue education, and “being more assertive in demanding more personal space and freedom” are challenges facing the modern-day Emirati family.
“I know that there’s no quick fix, but what I do know for sure from raising four children is that embedding the religious values act as a moral compass, while trusting the child to make their own decisions is the way to go in the future.”
Source: uae news