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January 14, 2016

Caring for the disabled

Karachi

January 14, 2016

Karachi

The Network of Organisations Working With People With Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP), launched an initiative, the Accessible Cycle Design Challenge (ACDC) at a local hotel on Wednesday afternoon.

The function was attended by representatives of non-profit and community development organisations, donor orgnisations, the government, corporations, engineering, architectural, and educational institutions to discuss ways and means whereby the fraternity of disabled persons could be helped in grappling with the challenges confronting them.

Speaking on the occasion, Amin Hashwani, president, NOWPDP, said, “Perceptions need to be revised and success stories established so that sympathy evolves to empathy and apathy turns into social action.”

He said that society had made the disabled people disabled. “It is our duty to enable them,” he said. 

“We resort to capacity building and advocacy, and try to come up with innovative solutions to enable the less fortunate members of society, members who have fallen prey to the vagaries of fate and physical disabilities. We try to come up with innovative solutions,” he said.

Hashwani said that they had to run after bureaucrats to accomplish projects to help the disabled, and said that the process of procuring a CNIC was so time-consuming and laborious but that they had got in touch with the Nadra authorities and helped the disabled get their identity cards within two hours.   He said that this covered eight districts and 1,100 individuals in Sindh.

Amin Andani, programme manager, Rickshaw Project, narrated the case of Abdullah, a physically disable person, who was being forced by his family to beg. 

“We gave him a three-wheeler and today he goes about on the contraption and sells fried fish, making a living not just for himself but also augmenting the family income,” said Andani. 

He had to go far out of his home to discover that he was not all that disabled after all,” he said.

A video was screened narrating the touching story of Vishal Kumar, a story which, even though touching shows how with will power and determination one could overcome the most crippling of adversity.

Vishal Kumar, a wheel chair-bound youth, lives in a sixth-floor apartment in a not-so-affluent locality. He is helped by his mother who gently pushes the contraption down the staircase and then he embarks on his journey to his workplace.

During the question-answer session, a disabled person pointed out the fact that the biggest tragedy of the disabled was the terribly apathetic and inhuman treatment meted out to them by the minions of the government and the law. He narrated his own experience when he was most shabbily treated by the guards at the mausoleum of the Quaid. He said the guards forbade him to go in there, saying that the occasion was not meant for cripples.

Tuaha Farooqui, transport secretary, Government of Sindh, said that he would endeavour to have special laws framed for tricycles.

The Accessible Cycle Design Challenge is open to all. February 15, 2016, is the deadline for registration and the design submission date is March 31, 2016.

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