More than 40 young people take part in an annual talent show started by the mother of a girl with Down syndrome
FAME had a mix of entertainment programs presented by determined young people.
More than 40 determined youngsters took to the stage at the country’s biggest inclusive talent show in Dubai last week.
The FAME parade saw them belting out tunes and strolling down the catwalk of the Dubai World Trade Center. “The young people were amazing,” said Rosy Ahmed, the program’s founder, whose daughter Hana, 26, has Down syndrome. He created FAME, which stands for Fashion, Art, Music and Entertainment, as a free and fun event for everyone in 2016. “I wanted to create a platform that allowed kids to showcase their talent,” he said. “Since then, the show has been growing and the number of performances is increasing every year.”
From fashion shows to music acts and dance performances, FAME had a mix of all kinds of entertainment. This year, the show did a powerful act on bullying, which encouraged students to speak out against bullying. “Every year we have children of all ages and backgrounds come to participate in our show,” said Rebecca Shamji, the show’s director. “We start rehearsals at least three months in advance so that the performers have enough time to do their best.”
Musical acts and dance performances are part of the annual event.
Rebecca splits her time between London, Uganda and the UAE and makes sure she comes to Dubai every year in time for FAME. This year, even having a baby didn’t stop her from traveling here. “This show is very close to my heart,” he said. “I have a seven-month-old, so I was a bit worried how I would do, but I wouldn’t miss this show for the world.”
The fashion show for the participants is one of the most anticipated programs of FAME Verano, a 28-year-old from Dubai, has been a regular at the fair for three years. “She loves participating in the fashion show and the dance performances,” said her father, Tony. “He really likes to dress up and dance. If we go to a party and there’s a dance floor, I can forget about it for the next two or three hours. When she was little, she and her brother used to dance at home all the time. His brother now teaches salsa”.
An active athlete, Verano has previously won Female Female Athlete of the Year. However, he couldn’t channel his love of dance until he found FAME “When I was in school, I had a lot of extracurricular activities,” Tony said. “However, after school, the activities he could do were limited. Through FAME he met people like Rosy who go above and beyond the call of duty to help Verano and others flourish and thrive as performers.”
Verona performs at FAME
According to Tony, the platform has boosted Verano’s confidence. “One of the reasons people with determination can’t gain confidence is that they don’t have opportunities to show their talent,” he said. “But with the opportunities that FAME has given him, Verano has become very confident. He has done internships at a bank and a hotel. He also works at Mawaheb’s coffee shop, the art center. He is very independent and uses transport public to go and return from the center.”
FAME talent center
Buoyed by the success of the talent show, Rosy has now started a weekly talent hub that provides a safe space for determined people to perform at their best. Together with Step Up Academy and volunteer teachers, the center hosts drama and dance classes with mini shows organized in various locations.
“We wanted to give our participants an avenue to perform apart from the annual stage show,” said Rosy. “Since we started these classes in February this year, we have had constant interest. Right now, we even have a waiting list of people who want to sign up. For me, it has been an incredible experience to see how all these young people became more and more confident in their abilities.”
The annual event planned for determined people also helps to boost their confidence. -Photos provided