Life for disabled people is, indeed, tough. They have limited access in the buildings, on the roads, in shops/markets, at jobs - hence things aren’t easy for them – hold on, we sympathise with them, feel bad and talk about their issues, but we don’t really actually “do” some thing for them, do we?
Active Citizens Pakistan organised a workshop in Quetta and after that, a group of young people undertook the task of dissolving some challenges – if not all - that people with disability face every day.
A youth group called “DOST” led by Faris Mughal, launched a campaign to spread awareness about the issues of disabled people. He organised a “peace walk” which made people realise that handicapped people too, exist in the society, and have the rights to participate in community matters.
“Disability is not a curse. We’re a part of this society too, and have all the rights to make our voices heard. People should treat us like any other normal individual – so what if we’re on wheel chair or have sight impairments - we shouldn’t be pitied, instead we should be encouraged and appreciated,” said Faris Mughal, who has a disability himself. He looked very passionate and was trying his level best to bring a change in the way people think about invalids.
Another purpose of this walk was to provoke the masses to make their houses, offices, markets, shops and even mosques disabled friendly. Faris narrated that majority of shop keepers don’t pay the same level of attention to disabled people, as they do to those who’re “normal”. At times, the shopkeepers behaved offensively and shrugged them off.
He divulged, “After the peace walk, I’ve noticed a change in the way people think about us. They don’t signal us off any more; instead, I’ve seen that they are paying us more attention. They listen to us and pay heed to our needs. They’ve stopped using offensive terms too.”
Faris and the “DOST” group have been successful in securing 11% seats in Balochistan Assembly. This has been the group’s greatest achievement so far. They are planning to introduce educational and employment reforms for disabled people which is going to ease their lives, a lot.
“We’re very happy on this success! I’m one of the 11% members who are representing disabled people in the assembly. I’ll try my best to make the educational institutes, shopping places and roads disabled friendly. I’ll show that invalids are as good workers as normal people and they shouldn’t be slashed from the working class,” Faris informed about his future plans, hoping that doors of success will open for the handicapped people.
We wish Faris and DOST group all the best for their efforts! They’re a ray of hope and role models for all the disabled people across this country.