Those nations who take care of the distressed segments of their society, can reap the dividends by helping them play their due role in uplifting their country’s economy.
Unfortunately, the case is quite different in Pakistan. Here, disabled persons have to face multiple challenges throughout their lives. From getting a good job to receiving medical treatment; from accessing public transport to getting higher education, people with certain disabilities have to go through many social barriers in Pakistan.
Recently, this issue was raised by the Department of Special Education at the Arts Auditorium, University of Karachi (KU), during a seminar.
The seminar, “Awareness in Action towards a resilient society”, was arranged in accordance with the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Speaking to the audience, Department of Special Education Assistant Professor Dr. Shaista Naz said:
Today, there are at least 650 million persons with disabilities around the world, of which 400 million live in and around the Asia Pacific region. Around 70 million people in the world need a wheelchair of which 5% to 15% have access to one, while 360 million people have moderate to profound hearing loss.
“The day we realize the amount of frustration and difficulties that people with disabilities face in their daily life, we will be able to grant them equal status in society,” she added.
Dr. Naz said that it is our primary responsibility to facilitate and assist them in executing their day-to-day tasks.
Dr. Humera Aziz, who’s the Chairperson of KU Department of Special Education, also addressed the gathering. She said that the majority of people with disabilities also face financial issues due to unemployment or less paying jobs. She stressed that we must create opportunities for them.
Dr. Aziz said:
Even if they are employed, they face enormous difficulties in commuting since there is no public transport system favorable for persons with disabilities.
On the other hand, developed countries take great care of their people with certain disabilities. Roads have special parking slots for them. Public transport treats them well, and every important building, including schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and stations, have ramps so that they can commute easily.
It is high time that Pakistan and its civil society also took steps to make life easier for the disabled people in the country.