International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Traditional promises, assurances, reaffirmations, and expression of determination. The international day of Persons with Disabilities (PWD)s was observed in Pakistan without any major announcement for the welfare or betterment of this marginalized community.
Functions were held, messages relayed and statements issued, but will that alone contribute towards bringing PWDs in mainstream and making this 15 percent of our total population useful and productive segment of the society. Ideally the government should have announced at least one major step to meet at least any one of the longstanding demands of PWDs population: be it increase in their job quota, fresh scholarships, vocational training, provision of much needed wheelchairs or any other step that went beyond hollow claims and clichés. This sadly never happened.
So does that mean state of PWDs will continue to be how it has been over the decades (?) Well, ground realities suggest the answer is yes.
So then what is the solution to woes of PWDs. The solution seems to lie in reducing reliance on state. As many psychiatrists suggest, PWDs can rid of half of their problems only by breaking their mental barriers. As a first step, they need to come out of their inferiority complex, second they need to conduct a thorough analysis of their limitations and strengths, and third they need to carve themselves according to prevalent atmospherics. Self-help is the only way that can pave ways for their better future.
Merely sitting home, criticizing the state for making little or no effort for PWDs will lead them nowhere. It is time the specially-abled persons take command of their destiny in their own hands with a firm belief that Almighty Allah helps those who help themselves.
It is heartening and comforting see several PWDs form organizations for welfare of their community, campaigning for their rights, raising voice for their problems and giving them opportunities to showcase their talent locally, nationally and internationally. The International day for PWDs observed this year featured several vibrant and colorful activities that spoke volume of the efforts being made by PWD-led organizations to encourage and motivate persons of their community towards standing on their own feet psychologically, emotionally, socially and economically if not physically.
This is the kind of spirited that is needed. PWDs will have to earn their due place in society rather than waiting for the society to give it to them.
By Hassan Gillani