Different Dialogues : | Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tartoor

Extended & Enlarged version of Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tartoor's Interview – Protection of Childrens Rights Administration Manager at Sharjah Social Services Department, (UAE).

Educational Background: Diploma in Islamic studies (Law Institute – Dubai). LLB (Alexandria University – Arab Republic of Egypt).

If it were not for the newspaper article, I would have never met Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tartoor.

On 2nd October 2010, I read about a poor young Pakistani boy who needed necessary medical and emotional treatment due to his failing home environment. He was motherless with a problematic father. As the newspaper article had played seriously on my mind, I immediately phoned the centre. To my relief and surprise, I was invited to pay a visit, and who was I speaking to? It was Mr. Ahmad Ibrahim Al Tartoor, himself. When I asked him when I could come, he said, "Madam any time from now. I will answer all your questions." In no time, Ahmed Ibrahim and myself were attentively listening to each other; he narrated 'what was the child's exact problem and how swiftly the case was being tackled.' Whatever I was able to do in my capacity for the child: the fruit of a nurtured connectivity between me and Ahmed Ibrahim threw sufficient light on the useful placement of Sharjah Social Services Department for Children.

Ahmed Ibrahim hails from Palestine; he joined Sharjah Social Services Department right from its inception in 1984. He is passionate about his job and says, 'My life is here with the children.' I can assess how quickly he can put a smile on a face in no time.

Along with his earnest manner, Ahmed Ibrahim has an array of certificates acknowledging his sincerity in work. His educational background covering spheres of law enables him to tackle problems involved in quarrels which are not uncommon to arise due to the theme of strife-ridden homes. Practicing any defending methods of protecting children will have to be framed with legalities of law. The guidelines have to be incorporated to cover the humane aspect with the pure, clinical logic. Because Ahmed Ibrahim has a grounding in legal affairs, he is able to face situations swiftly and effectively – especially those arising from any sort of precarious circumstances.

Under the auspices of Sharjah Government, Social Services Department has gradually but systematically grown in its expansion. The values of the various units are based on: Quality. Equality. Acceptance. Child Helpline was opened in 2007 – which means that the Sharjah Social Services Department will respond to round-the-clock-calls reporting any type of cases of child abuse. Looking for alternative parents or rehabilitating the biological parents with a 'balanced behaviour', there is a committee to cover the challenges.

Sharjah Social Services Department can accommodate up to 16 children in their premises. There are strict privacy laws prevailing to shield the identity of the children. They have a new branch under foundation to give shelter to kids below two years old of imprisoned women (whose mother could be in prison, serving a sentence). Additionally, Sharjah Social Services Department is providing accommodation for old people. The staff provides physical therapy sessions, medical treatment, light entertainment to cheer the senior citizens residing in the premises.

As I got into my car to go back to Dubai, I felt the satisfactions of the time I had spent in the morning. Ahmed Ibrahim had put a double-smile on my face, too. I felt certain that I would be able to see the poor young Pakistani boy who had drawn me to Sharjah Social Services Department in October 2010. More than that, I had learnt from Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tartoor that the lad was being regularly supervised and was going to school.

Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. The turning point in my life was when I left my country, Palestine, and came to UAE. Life in UAE is better and more beautiful.

Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?
A. The question is very difficult. I would only want to be the children's protection manager.

Q 3. What are your future dreams?
A. My future dreams are to see all the children in the world are given their rights and live as the children must live the life of children.

Extended & Enlarged Version of Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Al Tartoor’s Interview – Protection of Childrens Rights Administration Manager at Sharjah Social Services Department, (UAE).

Q1. In your view, what is more important in life? Accordingly, name three aspects, important in life?
A. In my view, the most important thing in life is to see that all children of the world are happy. The child is a child in every place!

Q2. If you were not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?
A. In my earlier career, I followed the legal line. I was in legal profession till 1982. Then, one day, I saw on a wintery day – a husband throwing his wife and children in the street. They were hurdled in a corner. That's the time, I was deeply effected by the scene. I wanted my mother to bring up the abused family. That is the time, I shifted from legal career to a career which serves the community. Ever since then, I have followed the family which was thrown on the street. Today, one of the children is a doctor, and the other is a psychologist.

Q3. What motivates you to achieve your goal?
A. When I see the problems of child-abuse, women-abuse – I cannot sleep. Sometimes, I am awake late in the night, making plans to save families from disturbance, and tragedy. In 2012, in Istanbul, at the conference of ISPCAN, (which was related on saving children from abuse and neglect) I received the certificate…that certificate gave me wings of joy and satisfaction, and I felt content in what I am doing. My whole job motivates me to achieve my goals.

Q4. How do you handle stress & pressure?
A. My wife helps me to deal with stress and pressure. She is always encouraging me to help abused children and women in distress. Even if I receive a call at 10'clock in the night, or on a Friday, she tells me, "Go, save the kid who is in trouble. Saving the kids is our target."

Q5. Which of your qualities would you want to pass down to your child/children?
A. My children and me are like friends. We play together, we talk together. I tell my child who is a doctor, "Don't look for the benefit, look for the patient." You know why? Because some people cannot pay, and therefore, it is a matter of being a human more than a doctor."

Q6. Who is your favorite author? Which book of your favorite author have you enjoyed the best?
A. I like historical books which describe the people...great people like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Che Guevara. I have no particular favorite author – but I like to read books, life without reading is no life.

Q7. What are you pursuing currently, by the way of a light hobby, or by the way of a serious goal?
A7. My serious goal is to see all the people living in peace. I am ashamed to see war in every place. I watch TV, I read newspapers, there is fighting and killing going on, but for what? Life is finished anytime, what is the value of life in war? I hope in my profession, I can bring peace within disturbed families. This is my serious goal. My light hobby is to take my wife and my little girl to a quiet, lovely place for a holiday.

Q8. In the last 1 year, is your particular goal advancing? Which is that goal/dream?
A 8. In the last year, in our organisation of Sharjah Social Service Department, we have implemented new things, more progress. We have made partners with Dubai Police in handling our challenges where abused and neglected children are being saved and cared for. In Abu Dhabi – the Interior Ministry is also giving us support. Our Helpline 800700 has been introduced in the entire UAE. All this is a big thing for my team. My team has also entered the Elementary Schools for teaching / giving tips to the children on self-protection. This year, we will start the program for Private Schools.

Geeta Chhabra

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