A sense of community and togetherness is a vital part of the development of individual skills, and is a great incentive to help in growing one's talents.
F.A.M.E. which stands for fashion, art, music and entertainment, is an annual performing arts show that provides people of determination with a platform to come together, and shine a light on their talents in a fun and interactive way.
Started in 2016, the show came about from an idea by Rosy Ahmed, Founder of F.A.M.E, who was looking for a way for her daughter, Hana, who has Down syndrome, and other people with special needs, to showcase their creative talents.
As there was no outlet at the time in Dubai, Rosy Ahmed decided to run with the idea and bring it to life with the help of Rebecca Shamji, the Show Director of F.A.M.E.
Rosy Ahmed said, "I felt that there weren’t enough platforms for the people of determination in performing arts, which was needed as I came across a lot of talented young people. My daughter also inspired me as she loves to perform. She loves dancing and modelling. We have a family-run events company, and we have organised many concerts here in Dubai and in London. So as I have the experience, my natural instinct was to branch out and organise events for the people of determination."
F.A.M.E. has been held annually since its launch, and also during the pandemic, a virtual show was held for participants to put their talents on display.
Rebecca Shamji said, "We had participants dress up and do their catwalks at home, in the garden and the park, wherever they wanted. It was really them expressing themselves, and we also did something similar with talents. It was something to share with our participant community and on our social media, and was something that kept us busy and that our participants enjoyed doing during the time."
The direction of the show is constantly changing and expanding, and is created to cater to all talents and skills that the participants have to offer.
Rebecca Shamji added, "The show is based on the talents of our participants, whether it is dancing or singing. We have also put together a few theatrical pieces throughout the years, and as the show has developed, we have been able to create pieces for the participants."
This year, F.A.M.E. will be held on 25 June at the Dubai World Trade Centre and will be bigger than ever, with the fashion show being at the forefront of the performance.
To make the fashion show a standout event for participants and the audience alike, F.A.M.E. has teamed up with designers from around the globe, like Rina Dhaka and Ekta Solanki, and give people of determination a chance to experience modelling for fashion brands, with some designers also creating specific pieces for the participants.
Rebecca Shamji said, "The show gives our participants an opportunity to walk for international designers while wearing their collections and is an all-inclusive catwalk. Some designers are selecting existing pieces, while some are creating new pieces, especially for our show, with a look that they want to go for. It is really special, and the designers are really passionate and happy to be a part of it."
The main theme of the event is creating an outlet for integration and inclusion, and each year the team and the participants work together to create a memorable show.
Rebecca Shamji added, "We make sure if people are available and if everyone is around, then we fix a date and start putting things into place and fixing everything."
Collaborating with peers is a main focal point for the show, and in a previous edition, one participant was joined onstage by a professional band to sing. A buddy scheme was also held during another show, where a school in Dubai worked closely with the participants and put on performances, from playing musical instruments and singing together.
The team works year-round to prepare for the performance, and is also closely linked with Step Up Academy, which helps in pairing participants together and choreographing the dances.
Families of the participants also play an essential role in the lead-up to the event, helping out in any way possible to ensure the show runs in a smooth manner.
Rebecca Shamji said, "The families are always there to help and support. They bring them to rehearsals, make sure the schedule works for everybody, and spread the word by telling their networks about the show. The participants and the families are our starting point and why we are doing the show, to showcase their talents and to give them a fun-packed afternoon or evening. They are the core of what we are doing."
During the initial few years when F.A.M.E was launched, many of the participants were part of The Talent Hub, where people of determination can come together weekly, to hone in on their performing arts skills as well as learn new talents.
Rebecca Shamji said, "The Talent Hub is a great place for people to come together for a social hub and enjoy a morning of doing different activities. Whether it is a talent that they already have, something they want to explore and to hang out with peers and meet new people. "
Held at Step Up Academy in Dubai Motor City, the hub gives people of determination a chance to mingle with different people while also learning something new.
Rebecca Shamji added, "Step Up Academy is a massive support to us, and The Talent Hub is held at the academy. They support with their teachers in coming up with routines, choreography and music. We also found music and art teachers who were interested in helping out."
The Talent Hub specialises in performing arts, where students can enjoy participating in music sessions from piano, drumming and singing to dancing and art sessions, with teachers available to help out at any time to truly unlock their potential.
While creating The Talent Hub, Rosy said, "We are working towards more of an arts performance school and club where we train and teach our students to flourish and gain confidence to be on stage with their talents. We encourage people of determination to explore their emotions, expand their imagination and help them to develop their own uniqueness."
Over the years, the hub and F.A.M.E. have grown to give a voice to people of determination and shine a light on their skills, with the hope to keep building on its success and introducing something new for people of determination to enjoy.
Individuals looking to volunteer can reach out via the F.A.M.E. Instagram or Facebook page.