In 2016, concerned about the lack of opportunities and visibility for people of determination, Rosy Ahmed decided to launch an inclusive talent showcase for people of determination.
Six years later, she’s running the UAE’s largest inclusive talent show, F.A.M.E. (Fashion Art Music Entertainment).
“My daughter Hana was my inspiration,” Rosy told Livehealthy. “She had a lot of talents that I didn’t even know about. She was good at art, good at dancing. The more I spoke to teachers and other parents, the more I realized there were many hidden talents out there.
“We just want to bring attention to the fact that people with determination have talent. You can see it with your own eyes that when people are given the chance to shine, they do. Their confidence grows and they break down barriers — it is about changing perceptions.”
Hana, who has Down syndrome, said she loves F.A.M.E. for more than just the performing aspect.
“It’s a fun place where I meet my friends,” she said. “I learn new skills and I’m excited and happy to perform with my friends on stage. I love dancing and modeling.“
Inspired by the show’s success year-on-year, 2022 brought the launch of two additional projects out of F.A.M.E: The Talent Hub, a weekly youth club for people with special educational needs to learn talents such as art, music, dancing, and singing, which operates with the support of the StepUp Academy; and the Walk for Awareness, a community event to recognize World Down Syndrome Day and Autism Awareness Day.
“Our mission is to provide a creative, engaging, and safe space for participants to develop their skills and feel confident,” said Rosy, who is also CEO of Purple Vogue Events. “Inclusion is absolutely crucial; we want to promote better integration into the community, enabling people of determination to participate in all spheres of life.”
More than 40 participants ranging from six to 35 years old will be part of this year’s two-hour F.A.M.E. extravaganza, which includes music, dance, a dramatic piece about bullying and a fashion show featuring the work of fashion designer Rina Dhaka.
FAME is just another example of perceptions shifting in the UAE. Rosy admits the outlook and opportunities for people of determination have improved dramatically since she first arrived in the country in 2002.
“Things have come on leaps and bounds,” she says. “When we first came to Dubai, there was hardly anything but now there are so many organizations here. It’s changed completely and feels like a place where people with determination can bloom and flourish.”