A awareness-raising walk was organized, starting at the GRACE Public School, with the finish line at Radio Pakistan Skardu. Joining people with disabilities (PWD) to show their support and celebrate the day were: Deputy Commissioner of the Skardu District, Mr. Arqam Tariq, Program Coordinator of GRACE Association Pakistan Wazir Shamshad Hussain, Manager of PPHI Skardu Kacho Basharat Hussain, other district administration heads, media representatives, Kacho Basharat Hussain manager members, volunteers and staff of GRACE Association, local schoolchildren and a number of other community members.
Addressing the awareness rally the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Arqam Tariq expressed his appreciation to the organizers of the Disability Day, noting the importance of raising public awareness about human rights for people with disabilities and to assist in creating a welcoming environment for them to participate in the society. He pledged full cooperation with GRACE Association and PPHIs work on behalf of the disabled in Skardu district.
Addressing participants and visitors, GRACE Association Program Coordinator, Wazir Shamshad Hussain, noted that disability is not so much a personal issue, but an affliction of society. We need to change our behaviour towards people with disabilities, endeavoring to create a friendly environment for people with disabilities.He mentioned GRACE Association's efforts, specifically the inclusive education programme, and the English ACCESS program, both designed to create access for people with disabilities into the mainstream education system.Sharing his views on the occasion, Kacho Basharat Hussain, the Manager of PPHI, noted that recognition of Disability Day is designed to strengthen everyones commitment to secure the rights of people with disabilities in the area. PPHI works toward the prevention of diseases that cause disabilities, and has been successful in combatting polio through its EPI program that was introduced in this region.
Representing people with disabilities, Mr. Muhammad Ali demanded that government and other development actors secure the human rights of people with disabilities. This process, he continued, would necessarily involve consultion with all active parties regarding policy documents, plans and other activities. He thanked GRACE Association and PPHI for organizing the rally to raise awareness among the population. He further demanded that the government introduce into the constitution a 2% employment quota for people with disabilities. In addition, he requested civil society organizations to focus on developing the skills of disabled people, and so prepare for employment and to take a more active role in society.
Many participants at the rally showed their support for the disabled with banners and display cards, quotations and slogans. On a broader note, the success in spreading awareness of The International Day of People with Disabilities was underscored by the decisions of local cable networks, PTV and Geo TV to telecast the event.
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.