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CSR campaign begins with session on Parkinson’s disease
BY IMRAN MOJIB June 13, 2017
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DUBAI: VFS TasHeel International has announced its global CSR programme, Involve, which will predominantly encourage employees of the company to devote volunteering time for humanitarian causes.

The campaign was kicked off at VFS TasHeel premises in Dubai. The event focused on Parkinson’s disease awareness in partnership with one of Dubai’s most renowned neurology, psychology, counselling and psychiatry clinics, German Neuroscience Center and Movement Mantra, a social enterprise which focuses on mindful therapeutic practice to rehabilitate people with mobility challenges.

The half-day awareness event was attended by people who were challenged by the disease and have been coping with it admirably, trying to lead a normal life despite their mobility restrictions.

The awareness session welcomed guests with a dance performance which blended the classical dance form of Kathak and yoga. Performed by the heroes of Parkinson’s disease, the performance was led by Vonita Singh, professional Kathak Dancer and founder of Movement Mantra.

Explaining the therapeutic benefits of dance and mobility techniques, Vonita stated “Use me or lose me – that’s the case with our muscles. The key is to keep exercising to fight rigidity, the cardinal symptom of Parkinson’s which results from lack of movement. Keeping this in mind, our focus is on conscious, repetitive, deliberate and rhythmic movements which help in alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Working hand-in- hand with specialty hospitals, medical professionals and support groups, Movement Mantra plays a seminal role in building public awareness on Parkinson’s Disease across the GCC.”

The awareness session was supported by neurologist Dr. Heiki Jacobs and psychologist Aamnah Husain of German Neuroscience Centre, who participated in an interactive talk session addressing the physiological and psychological challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease.

“Our goal is to work with patients to offer a holistic approach, incorporating both psychological support and medical treatment. Psychological support is very important for Parkinson’s sufferers as depression has been shown to be a significant problem, affecting up to 60 per cent of people with the disease. Living with Parkinson’s can be difficult to cope with but depression is also part of the disease itself, resulting from changes to the brain chemistry. Another vital aspect is making sure that caregivers receive the attention and support they need in order to help them deal with looking after a loved one, which can have a big impact on their own emotional well-being.” said Dr. Aamnah Husain, Psychologist at German Neuroscience Centre.

The session concluded with inspiring stories of people with Parkinson’s and their integration with the mainstream day-to-day life. Caregivers shared their insightful experience along with general but useful guidelines for other caregivers in attendance.

Speaking on the launch of the CSR campaign, CEO of VFS TasHeel International Ajit Alexander stated, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to host Parkinson’s awareness session at our premises. The goal is to give back to society through a mix of material and financial support and enormous amount of volunteering by VFS TasHeel employees. This makes Corporate Social Responsibility a more involved affair rather than the company just being a donor or sponsor of community activities.”
 

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