On December 3, 2009, Grace Association Pakistan, in collaboration with the Prime Minister for the Primary Healthcare Initiative in Skardu, coordinated an organized Walk to raise awareness about World Disability Day. Aimed at helping people with disabilities to demand more rights in Gilgit Baltistan, the walk took participants from Grace Public School to Radio Pakistan Chowk Skardu.
More than 1200 people belonging to different groups participated in the event and expressed their solidarity with people with disabilities. Participants included the Skardu Deputy Commissioner, District Health officer, journalists, teachers, students and representatives of civil society organizations.
Mr. Ghulam Ali, a disabled person, presented an appeal, calling for: Inclusive Education, a 2 percent employment quota to be approved by the national Government, accessible public transport and Ratification of the UN Conventions on Rights of People with Disabilities.
Addressing the Rally, Mr. Muhammad Ali Yugvi, the Deputy Commissioner of Skardu, expressed appreciation for the efforts of GRACE and PPHI Skardu for their participation in World Disability Day celebrations at District level. He announced an employment opportunity in his department for a deserving person with disability. He also committed to provide warm clothing for persons with disabilities in Skardu. In addition, he said that the District Government has allotted land for the construction of a Rehabilitation Centre in Skardu with funding from the Federal Government.
The Chief Executive Officer of Grace Association Pakistan, Mr Wazir Shamshad Hussain, highlighted the issues of people with disabilities in the region and appealed to the Government and the Deputy Commissioner for Skardu to support the cause for peopole with disabilities to receive special and inclusive education, rehabilitation, employment and healthcare. Mr. Shamshad also alerted the meeting to the efforts being made by Grace Association Pakistan for the rehabilitation and development of people with disabilities throughout the country.
He announced that Grace Association Pakistan will refer and facilitate persons to the HDF-Orthotics Prosthetics Centre at the Physical Rehabilitation & Training Centre in the Department of Physiotherapy at the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi. The decision follows the announcement that the HDF Project Director, Dr. Irtaza Kazmi, reserved some of the Centre's for the benefit of patients from Gilgit Baltistan.
In his address to the meeting, PPHI Mr. Basharat Hussain gave details of the Primary Healthcare Initiative's provision of free healthcare, especially to people with disabilities. PPHI is working to reduce these problems by providing Polio Eradication Services, Mother and Child Healthcare services and an IDD Program.
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.