Last week I interacted with several people with disabilities in Larkana. Sadly, people with disability said they were not being supported at all by the federal and provincial governments. Several barriers are being faced by them particularly in the disaster devastated districts. Due to unfavorable state of affairs they are languishing in extreme poverty as they lack basics necessities.
What came to mind was the saying by Janet Barnes, "I have not been handicapped by my condition. I am physically challenged and differently able." In rural areas, most disabled children do not attend schools, because the environment and the infrastructure are not friendly. People who designed the schools did not have disabled people in mind.
These people are segregated from the mainstream life. They are living on the fringes of the society and are not included in any activity. There are very few NGO’s who would cater to their needs. They are an added weight on the poor families who are finding it hard to make ends meet in this inflated economy. I hope that the coming government will look into this issue and take some serious steps to help elevate the poor and their disabled family members. Pakistan needs to become a welfare state. The policies made to accommodate the disabled are only on paper and nothing is happening on the ground.
Islamabad, February 26.