KARACHI: Realising the less contribution of differently-abled persons within society, President Dr Arif Alvi has said that the skills of such people should be developed to bring them in the mainstream, as they could play a vital role in the development of the country.
Addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of the upgraded complex of Al-Shifa Trust, Special School and Rehabilitation Centre, he emphasised that there was the need for mainstream schools and skills development programmes for differently-abled persons.
According to the world survey, there was 12 per cent to 14 per cent differently-abled persons (DAPs) and some of them were physically disabled but mentally stable, the president said, adding that the Sign Language Technology has been developed at such a level where it could help them to read, write and speak.
Appreciating some of the organisations like KFC and others for hiring these people, Dr Alvi asserted that the jobs should be created for them, as they could play their roles in the organisation, as they needed the jobs, not charity.
The president said the differently-abled persons were usually found to be isolated, as families could not take them to markets or other areas due to issues like unavailability of wheelchairs and other facilities within the premises of buildings or markets.
To give access to these people, the availability of wheelchairs was being ensured in every building in Karachi and Islamabad, he added.
The president said the society should come forward and extend all kinds of support to these persons, as they were part of the society.
He underscored the need for proper care of differently-abled persons and philanthropists to come forward to support them.
“Our Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had stressed philanthropy and social revival,” the president said.
The government had provided Rs2,000/month to special persons under the Ehsaas programme.
Applauding the efforts of the Ehsaas programme during the Covid-19, he said, Pakistan had efficiently coped with the situation and the world had appreciated the steps taken during the pandemic.
President Alvi said that the universities have been directed to play their due role in providing physical access to the differently-abled persons in schools, colleges and universities.
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has issued directives to the universities not to charge fees from special persons to encourage their education, he added.
The president appreciated the efforts taken by the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) for running the schools for special children, asking the people, especially from Karachi to donate for such work, which could help the special children live a better life by playing their role within the society.
PIA chief executive officer Air Marshal Arshad Malik urged the society to come forward in fundraising to support the special cause.
He also said Al-Shifa was the flagship set up of PIA commenced as a social welfare agency in 1967 in collaboration with the Civil Aviation and converted into Al-Shifa Trust in 1981.
Emphasising the need for acceptance of differently-abled persons in the society, he termed it a great gift for them.’ PIA was fulfilling corporate social responsibilities, besides its corporate role, he added.
A beautiful tableau was presented by special children of Al-Shifa Trust at the end of the ceremony that was highly applauded by President Alvi and Begum Samina Alvi.
The ceremony was attended by foreign diplomats, MPAs and dignitaries.