Societal revilement pushes people with dwarfism towards life of isolation

PESHAWAR    -   Greeting visitors at main entrance of a famous fast food eatery in Peshawar, the three feet long dwarf, Aminullah keeps his face smiling to welcome the guests and to hide the sentiments of gloom, melancholy and dejection striking his mind because of societal indifferent attitude towards his small physical stature.

“In response to our smiling welcome, we receive comical comments, amusement from children and sometimes hilarious gestures, hurting our heart,” complains Aminullah during a chat with this scribe.

“Life of a dwarf person is full of unexplainable difficulties like seclusion, depression, hopelessness, deprivation, tolerance and dependence on family members for survival,” Amin shares his inner feelings.

“I am above 40 years and still unmarried, living with brothers and have no proper source of living,” he told APP. Aminullah said he is lucky to have found a low paid job of receptionist as majority of people with dwarfism have no source of earning to live an honourable life.

“Societal revilement in shape of sarcastic remarks, ridiculing gestures, laughter and even chase by kids has compelled people with dwarfism to spend life in isolation, mental stress and deprivation,” comments Zardad Khan President Dwarf Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“From family gatherings to public places, dwarves face sneering, mockery of their body and treatment like children, compelling them to avoid interaction with people and live life of seclusion,” complains Zardad Khan. Almost all the dwarves are facing psychological trauma because of their differently formed body and due to public behaviour who did not understand that their facial gestures and disparaging remarks pierce our souls.

There are thousands of dwarf people living in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and due to apathy of concerned departments on their (dwarf) wellbeing, they are living a very miserable life, Zardad added.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the number of dwarf persons would be around 2000, Zardad estimates. He said about 250 dwarf are registered with Dwarf Association including 200 male and 50 female.

Majority of dwarf, especially women, are living life of seclusion and are not registered with the association working for their welfare, he opined.  We cannot go out of home to spend time with people as children chase us and raise ridiculing response, even elders treat us like minor children, Zardad told APP.

Apart from male dwarf, the life of female is much harsher at a stage when her parents die and she became totally dependent on her siblings, he continued. Majority of dwarf people remain single in their life because no one wants to marry them and due to low body structure and psychological trauma cannot come into practical life for eking out living in a respectable manner.

Zardad said due to his low height, he cannot do any labour to earn wages and is lucky enough for finding a place in art industry by performing as comedian.

He demanded of the government to grant dwarf person the status of `Disable’ so that they can get some benefits as announced by government for people with disability.

President Dwarf Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also demanded skill training especially for female dwarf persons, enabling them to stand on their feet and live an honourable life.

“According to laws, only those persons can be declared as disable whose body impairment made him handicapped,” observed Rizwan Ahmad, Deputy Director Special Education Complex Peshawar.

Talking to APP, Rizwan said Social Welfare Department is providing educational facility to dwarf children, but there is no scheme for welfare of dwarves.

If dwarf persons are declared as `disable’, the Social Welfare Department will work for their welfare and chalk out schemes for providing job quota besides imparting technical training to them, he added.

In response to a question, Rizwan said no survey has been made for evaluating number of dwarves in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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