GRACE Association Pakistan has been invited, together with 46 other established relief organizations working throughout the country, to set up found a national Disabled Peoples' Organizations Council.
The invitation came from Bait-ul-Mal (PBM), the Pakistan Government-sponsored body responsible for the provision of social protection to needy segments of society, including the disabled.
At the end of March, PBM facilitated an inaugural meeting at which all 47 invited organizations participated. The two-fold objectives of the meeting were to promote solidarity among organizations working in the area of disability, and provide a single, strong voice aimed at creating a clearer understanding of, and a more effective response to, the needs of disabled persons
Zamurrud Khan, Managing Director of PBM, welcomed delegates to the meeting, and pledged full support for the new venture by the Government. GRACE Founder, Khadim Hussain was elected as an Executive Member and Muhammad Ibrahim selected as Provincial Coordinator for Gilgit-Baltistan.
GRACE Association Pakistan expresses particular thanks to Mr Khan and Mr Shafiq-ur-Rahman, Head of the Normalization of Persons with Disabilities Directorate at the PBM, for their efforts in working to improve services to disabled persons in Pakistan.
The newly established DPO Council has resolved to work effectively for the benefit of disabled persons as well as accelerate efforts for the creation of an inclusive, barrier-free society throughout Pakistan.
In term of next steps, The Chairman of the new organization, Asim Zafar, resolved to create a constitution for the DPO Council within the coming weeks in order for the Council to become active as soon as possible. In addition, the PBM needs to ratify the Disabled Peoples' Organizations Council, and a request will be made for the President of Pakistan to meet the Council to review new policies designed to benefit disabled persons.
GRACE endeavours to empower and improve the quality of life of the marginalized and vulnerable communities in the least developed parts of Pakistan through welfare, participatory research and development, capacity building, promotion of best practices and partnership building, advocacy, and by launching sustainable and replicable innovative projects.