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Experts emphasis on need for public-private collaboration in boosting senior citizen happiness at the SIBF 2023

Special Correspondent

SHARJAH (UAE): The ongoing 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), recently organised a discussion titled ‘Social Service: The Way to Guarantee Happiness for Senior Citizens’, to deliberate on the pivotal role of social service in enhancing the quality of life for senior citizens.
Moderated by Dr. Walaa El-Said, the talk brought together eminent speakers and intellectuals, who underlined the need for community engagement, the impact of social programmes, and the crucial role of public and private sectors in fostering societal well-being.
The discussion highlighted the intrinsic link between social service and individual contentment, emphasising the imperative need for a comprehensive approach to address the diverse needs of senior citizens and the significance of holistic support systems and inclusive policies.
Mariam Gaduri, a social science lecturer at the University of Ajman, defined a senior citizen as an individual over the age of sixty-five, regardless of nationality, who is entitled to psychological and social assistance. Additionally, she elucidated the pertinent laws that oversee their rights.
Dr. Amna El-Badwawi, a prominent social worker, underscored the profound impact of community engagement on individual well-being, stating that community support and attention are integral to fostering a sense of belonging and purpose among seniors. She further pointed out that social service initiatives play a crucial role in building resilient communities, thereby contributing to the overall happiness and satisfaction of citizens.
Echoing Dr. Amna’s sentiment, Mariam El-Suliman, the former head of the social services department in the Sharjah government and the chairperson of Sharjah-based ?Emirates Friends of Seniors’ Citizens Association, emphasised the role of governmental initiatives in ensuring a robust social safety net.
“Government-led social service programmes are the cornerstone of holistic development and well-being of senior citizens. By fostering a supportive environment, we can empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to society,” she noted.
Moreover, the panelists emphasised the significance of private sector collaboration in augmenting the efficacy of social service programmes, as well as expanding the scope and the impact of social service interventions.
SIBF 2023 continues to serve as a platform for fostering meaningful conversations and intellectual discourse, underlining the commitment to promote knowledge sharing and cultural enrichment on a global scale.