Abu Dhabi-UAE: The National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) concluded the Joint Awareness program it conducted in collaboration with the Emirates National Schools to promote mental health of students by eliminating all forms of addiction. The drive articulates the NRC’s strategic plan and innovative educational and awareness programmes to safeguard students from different types of social scourges.
The six-month long awareness drive included two main programmes: ‘the Positive Awareness’ initiative, which focused on Grade 8 students and featured comic stories and radio broadcast as well as the ‘Awareness Ambassadors’ initiative that targeted Grade 9 to 11 students and aimed at promoting health awareness at schools and in the community.
His Excellency Dr Hamad Al Ghafri, Director General of NRC stated that: “This joint awareness drive between NRC and the Emirates National Schools is aligned with the directives of our wise leadership to protect student community and spread awareness among them about the perils of addiction. This requires utilising our national resources towards improving social responsibility and awareness about the consequences of addiction."Through this awareness and guidance drive: he added“we seek to enhance students’ personality in a manner that makes them immune to the pressures and temptations of substances that lead to addiction. This will protect them from dangerous behaviours through sensitising them about the harms of psychotic substances."
For his part, Kenneth Vedra, Director General, Emirates National Schools, said: “In supporting this annual program, the Emirates National Schools seeks to build an educated generation who can lead the efforts in our collective fight against addiction. Through providing our student with the best international programs and initiatives, we aim to make them healthier, more productive and well-rounded individuals who can actively participate in the development of community. This requires focused efforts to help students shape balanced personalities in terms of educational, scientific, health and psychological aspects, while making them proud of their values and national identity.”
The awareness initiatives were incorporated into the curriculum of the Emirates National Schools this year to inculcate the objectives of these initiatives in the minds of students and ensure their active participation in the initiatives and activities conducted as part of the awareness drive.
Positive Awareness Initiative
This initiative revolves around three themes this year: the misuse of medical drugs, the harms of energy drinks, and addiction to internet and video games. These themes were incorporated into the research modules of drama and arts subjects.
The Executive Committee of the initiative has also conducted several awareness and interactive workshops on these themes and provided many supporting research resources.
In the evaluation phase, each school nominated the best three artworks. A joint committee between NRC and the Emirates National Schools reviewed the artworks last March and April, and selected three winners.
Positive Awareness Ambassadors
This initiative featured group awareness activities for both male and female students based on the themes they selected under the supervision and follow up of the initiative official from each school. This year’s theme was internet and video game addiction due to their significance especially for teenagers. The team members carried out an awareness drive on the selected theme under the supervision of the initiative official. Focusing on creativity and innovation, the activities included the use of technical elements in the awareness plan. At the end of the campaign, it was presented to the Executive Committee between NRC and the Emirates National Schools to evaluate the best campaign from the participating schools.
Three awareness meetings were also conducted at each school, drawing the participation of school community including teachers, administrators and students as well as parents of students. The awareness team from NRC also conducted three follow-up meetings with students and supervisors in each school to review the progress of awareness campaigns and project works.
The initiatives drew the participation of over 790 male and female students from the Emirates National Schools under the supervision of 26 administrative and academic staff, including teachers, supervisors and administrators. The campaigns featured 287 awareness projects, and each project was linked to an effective awareness campaign that reached the targeted audience of over 100,000 followers.