Pakistan’s First Lady Seeks Collaborative Steps to Empower Differently-Abled Persons

Sat Dec 23 2023
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KARACHI: Pakistan’s First Lady Samina Arif Alvi HAS stressed uninterrupted collaborative measures for guaranteeing the provision of inclusive opportunities to differently-abled persons in all sectors of life, particularly health, education, and employment. 

Addressing a seminar titled “Harmony of Gifts, Special Children, Special Possibilities” jointly organized by the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi and The Circle in connection with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities here on Saturday, Samina Alvi, lamented over limited facilities for special persons in the country and advised the government and private sector to work dynamically to address the issue in letter and spirit. 

The First Lady also emphasized the need to bring a positive and drastic change in the approach and behavior of the masses towards persons with disabilities, adding that all and sundry need to transform the public mindset and attitude through the inclusion of special children.

Begum Alvi said that there was a dire need for highly skilled and specialized teachers and trainers to train and educate differently-abled children. She further said that although the concerned government departments had taken some constructive steps, these were still not sufficient against the magnitude of the problem and the number of such children. 

She apprised that the government has reserved a special quota for differently-abled persons in public sector jobs along with some other facilities by NADRA regarding the issuance of Special CNIC and different banks. However, she added that the private sector should come forward to contribute to efforts for the empowerment of special persons along with the provision of jobs to special persons. 

First Lady on Mental Health Issues 

Commenting on issues and challenges related to mental health, the First Lady said that the prevailing public perceptions towards mental health required to be changed, adding that the number of psychologists and psychiatrists in the country was not sufficient to address the issue. 

She further said that the government had initiated a project called the Hamraz helpline to provide guidance and consultation about mental health issues while another helpline was operational under Zainab Alert aimed at child protection. She, however, urged that there should be a single helpline so that any citizen could contact it in time of need without any difficulty or delay. 

Samina Arif Alvi also admired the efforts of the Sindh government for establishing a center for Autism in Karachi and lauded The Circle, NOWPDP, and other organizations working for the welfare and empowerment of differently-abled persons in Pakistan. 

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