Samina Alvi for inclusive approach to mainstream persons with disabilities

December 07, 2023

Islamabad: Samina Alvi, wife of President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday emphasised the need for providing opportunities to persons with disabilities to help them become part of mainstream economic activities.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Network of Organisations Working with Persons with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP), she said it was the joint responsibility of the State and the society to accommodate such people by ensuring the inclusive approach.

Samina Alvi said persons with disabilities comprised 10 to 12 percent of the country’s population, however, they lacked enough representation in society and public domains. She regretted that due to negative attitudes towards disability, the families restricted their members to homes and avoided their outdoor activities.

Samina Alvi, wife of President Dr Arif Alvi speaks in Islamabad in this still on December 2, 2023. — Facebook/Samina Alvi

Also, the lack of infrastructure such as access ramps at public buildings and parks restricted the mobility of persons with disabilities, she added. Samina Alvi urged for providing education to such students at mainstream schools to ensure their inclusion in society.

She stressed for the training of teachers and sensitising society that persons with disabilities could play a positive role in society if provided with ample opportunities including assistive technology and rehabilitation services. She recalled that a comprehensive awareness campaign was launched from the platform of the Presidency to raise awareness about mainstreaming persons with disabilities.

She mentioned that the campaign was supported by non-governmental organisations, chambers of commerce, and the media. Also, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority relayed 120 million short messaging services on sensitisation about persons with disabilities.

She urged the public and private sector departments including banks, chambers of commerce, and welfare foundations to adopt inclusive policies to accommodate persons with disabilities. She lauded that the government and banks were extending easy loans to persons with disabilities to ensure their financial self-reliance.

Also, the government is extending scholarships and fee waivers to such students at universities and other educational institutions. Samina Alvi emphasised fulfilling the quota reserved for persons with disabilities in public jobs and also urged the private sector to follow suit. She expressed satisfaction that NOWPDP was giving skill-based training to such persons as per market needs and helping them get employment.