Steps Towards Social Inclusion in Gilgit-Baltistan

By Bushra Ali 

‘’Disability can be a physical limitation but nothing can limit the skills of a person’’

God Almighty is the creator of all miniatures and gigantic objects either it is an ant or elephant, a giant or a human being. Indeed he is the best and unique inventor. Among all the creations, human being is the greatest one and known as the cream of all the creations of God. This is because of one and only his wisdom and the ability of thinking and acting accordingly. All other creations are also unique and beautifully designed but they are inferior to human beings due to lack of wisdom or thinking power. The sole authority is vested in the hands of God, he does what he wants. All human beings are same with respect to wisdom but are distinguished in terms of physical appearances. Unfortunately some people are born with a kind of disability and some may become disable at any age maybe it’s just two years or 50 years. I must say life is unpredictable so are the circumstances. We do not know at all what has to happen next. If something unpleasant happens in any individual’s life and this incident causes the person’s ability weak or completely lose. The affected individual will be called a disable guy. Disability could be defined as a kind of impairment which resists a person to function daily life activities properly. Disabilities can be invisible or invisible.  They are related to thinking, speaking, walking and listening impairments. More precisely, disability is a person’s physical or mental impairment that limits his or her major daily life activities. It may be caused because of various environmental factors or a kind of illness. I strongly agree with the statement that disability is only a physical limitation but nothing limits a person’s skills. God gifted skills do not rely on the physical perfection. Skill itself has proved the definition of disability wrong. Skills and wisdom remain alive if the particular individual’s courage and determination are alive.

We have plenty of examples in our daily lives that skills and wisdom have defeated the physical barriers so bravely that no one can deny the fact. A person who cannot hear can be a master carpenter. A live example related to it is a guy who belongs to my own home town Gilgit baltistan. Unfortunately, he can not speak by birth but his skills in carpentry are so marvelous that he earns more on daily basis compared to a “normal” individual. If we glance at history, it has unlimited such sort of amazing examples. Let’s talk about the famous scientist Stephen Hawking who was the founder of centre for the theoretical cosmology, Cambridge University. He was a wheelchair physicist and of course one of the greatest scientists of the modern time. In spite of being a disable, his thinking skills made him one of the influential personalities. I must quote his own words, “Disability need not be an obstacle to success”. The work he has contributed to the modern science is the proof of the statement he said. Another example is of Mark Pollock who went blind at the age of 22. Being a young man, it was extremely difficult for him to face life using a white cane. But he never lost hope and realized his disability. He did not stop thinking about his future dreams. He says that I began to race in deserts, mountains, across oceans and on the 10th anniversary of going blind I raced over 43 days to South Pole. Again i must say life is so unpredictable Aaah!  In 2010  an accident left him paralyzed and his new life was shattered but the courage he had, did not leave him alone rather encouraged him to fight against the both disabilities which existed simultaneously. He started working along with the leaders of communication and technology to fund and find a fast track cure for the patients of paralysis.

Hellen Keller who lost her listening and visual power caused by illness at only one. Her mother gave her the best education. She graduated and became the first deaf and blind graduate. She started writing and doing social activities, today she has 500 speeches and essays on variety of topics. She is an inspiration to all the deaf and blind individuals. Similar to this example i have another example of a strong girl Safeera Bano who belongs to the remotest area of Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan. She is born with weak eye sight. Despite facing challenges in life she continued her studies at Gilgit passionately and moved to Karachi Pakistan for higher studies. This independent disable girl with only 5 percent vision travelled to US and has been the ambassador of Pakistan in US. Her leadership skills are matchless. Blindness is just a physical limitation for her but her communication and leadership skills fought against the physical barrier while making her an inspiration for all the blinds especially for the women of whole Pakistan.

The finest artist Frida Kahlo was also a disable woman from Mexico. She was born Spine bifida, a defected spinal cord. At six, she was attacked by polio and left her one leg thinner than the other. Again at 18, her life was ruined by an accident. She was recovering gradually, found her love for painting. She became one of the finest artists in the world. For Jim Abbott it was nothing of that kind but for people it was only a disability. He was born without a right hand and had an amazing career in baseball and football. Manami Ito is another inspiration. She is famous for playing violin with her artificial arm. She lost her right arm in an accident and plays basketball with her prosthetic arm. She is a paralytic swimmer too.

World is full of such brilliant personalities but still for all stereotyped individuals, these all examples sound like fiction stories. Still we have the misconception that disables are weak that they are not as productive as others. People expect less of them and have negative attitudes towards them. We are unaware of the fact that disables are the greatest asset of the society. In spite of disability they motivate themselves to create ability through their skills. They are more experienced of facing challenges but shall be able to overcome challenges if once they get an opportunity to utilize their skills.

Acceptance starts at home. The foremost important thing is to remove the prejudices and misconceptions from the minds of stereotype people towards disable people. Disables are also a part of the society and has the equal right to be valued and respected. If parents and siblings have positive behavior with them and give them the best education then who am I to disrespect him or her? Unfortunately this acceptance at home is lacking in our society. In spite of exploring and polishing their skills, we directly or indirectly discourage them and realize them that they are not like normal individuals so they can not be as reliable as others. Government and private organizations have to establish proper organizations for the disable people that would encourage them to get education and feel comfortable with in the environment where all disables are treated equally. Career counseling is mandatory for them. At a certain age, they will be able to know their skills and would be lucrative for the development of Pakistan. Awareness sessions on the career of disable children must be held for those parents who do not know the importance of their gems.

Moreover, government has to encourage the disable people through outlining policies to increase the involvement of disable people in the governmental and social activities. They must be provided authority and leadership opportunities. This all will remove the misconceptions from the minds of people about the capability of disable people. Every member of the society irrespective of race, color, disability and gender discrimination has the right to get access to every opportunity and live a life with dignity.

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