President for nationwide efforts to mainstream PWDs

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President Dr Arif Alvi has emphasized the need to make collective efforts for improving the accessibility and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) into the mainstream of society to enable them to become productive and economically empowered members of the society. The President expressed these views during an interactive session with persons with disabilities (PWDs), organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) at Governor House Karachi.

Talking on the occasion, the President urged the need for enhancing the inclusion of PWDs in all sectors of life which was possible if we provide them with quality education and skills, remove taboos and discrimination against them and create employment opportunities for them in the mainstream institutions.

He said that persons with hearing, visual, physical, and mental disability could be imparted education in regular schools by ensuring the provision of Assistive Technologies to differently-abled people (DAPs) and proper training to their teachers. “No school should be able to refuse admission to PWDs”, he added The President called for bringing in attitudinal changes at the individual and societal level towards PWDs to make them feel more welcomed in society.

He said that globally the attitudes towards PWDs were changing and they were increasingly being facilitated and included in all streams of life, whereas Pakistan lagged behind in terms of the participation of PWDs as equal members of the society in different sector of the economy. The President said that PWDs needed to be given jobs as per their quota and PWDs with mild and severe forms of disability should also be accommodated as per their abilities and skills in different jobs.

He added that media had a special role to play in eliminating discrimination, negative stereotypes, and social taboos against PWDs and enhancing their acceptance in societyThe President said that there were estimated 10% DAPs in Pakistan and there was a pressing need to provide them quality education, skills and barrier-free access to public places to make them economically and financial empowered persons.

The President urged the NGOs and the Sindh Government’s Department of Empowerment of PWDs to come up with solid documents to not allow construction of any building which was not DAP-compliant and making the existing buildings fully compliant with PWDs’ needs. The President emphasized that all public or private buildings should be compulsorily made accessible for all PWDs.

First Lady Begum Samina Arif Alvi while talking to the participants emphasized the need for making society more inclusive, providing Assistive Technology to PWDs, easing their registration with NADRA through one-window and online operations, fulfilling the job quota, and educating them in mainstream educational institutions. Governor Sindh Muhammad Kamran Khan Tessori said that the spirit of mainstreaming PWDs must be inculcated in academia and both public & private stakeholders should be encouraged to ensure inclusive education and employment in our society.

He appreciated President Dr. Arif Alvi and the First Lady Begum Samina Alvi for spearheading an awareness campaign on breast cancer and PWDs. The interactive dialogue was attended by the representatives of the Sindh Government’s Department of Empowerment of PWDs, different private organizations on PWDs, chambers of commerce and industry etc.

Participants of the session shared their views on the problems faced by PWDs in different walks of life and shared various suggestions on improving their inclusion and participation in society.