Every kid in Pakistan has played street cricket at least once – it is a game that all of us enjoy and connects our entire nation together. With the current World Cup fever taking over the country, we forget that there are those amongst us who have always sat on the sidelines to watch their friends play but could not join in themselves.
One of the key concerns with a disability is that there is a lack of awareness and acceptance from our society. Change on an individual level is a slow process and for an effective change, our national organizations need to step in to work towards an inclusive society. Every leading company has a responsibility to contribute towards its community.
While there may be other issues in our society that require our attention, awareness and inclusion of the physically challenged needs more focus and effort.
Organizations like Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) have taken various initiatives to raise awareness and address social issues surrounding disabilities through sports. PTCL has encouraged physically challenged sportsmen on multiple occasions under its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, aside from sponsoring cricket and hockey tournaments. The organization believes that being a sport and a platform, cricket can bring a positive change in the social, physical and personal behavior leading to social inclusion.
One of these examples is when the organization sponsored the Nepal-Pakistan Blind Women’s Cricket Series 2018, which was played in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Lahore. The matches were contested between the women’s cricket teams of Nepal and Pakistan. By contributing towards gender diversity and inclusion, PTCL aims to enable people with extraordinary abilities and passion to be part of the communities and build a healthy & inclusive society.
On another instance, PTCL co-sponsored the 6th National Disabled T20 Cricket Championship 2018. A total of eight teams participated in the tournament from Azad Kashmir, Islamabad, Lahore, FATA, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Abbottabad and Peshawar. Giving physically challenged players recognition, respect and exposure, the organization has time and again proven its support for building an inclusive society through cricket.
The organization was also one of the key sponsors of the All National Wheelchair User Cricket Tournament 2017 for physically challenged individuals, held in Islamabad. Ten teams participated in the tournament, including two female teams of wheelchair-user cricketers from different cities of Pakistan. Players were given the opportunity to be recognized for their talents by PTCL and showed promise to represent Pakistan at an international level.
The organization has played a vital role in supporting disability through a culture of sports in the country by promoting exceptionally talented physically challenged sportsmen as well as sponsoring teams and tournaments at the national and international level. By doing so, it is fulfilling its aim of taking the organization to newer heights of professional and service excellence and creating an inclusive society.