People with disabilities are invisible citizens mostly unseen and unheard in schools, on buses, in the workplace and restaurants .They are not only unseen on individual level but no heed has been given to them on institutional level. Few years back there was no understanding even, about this segment of society and to facilitate them with an unusual focus. Disability “summarizes a great number of different functional limitations occurring in any population in any country of the world. People may be disabled by physical, intellectual or sensory impairment, medical conditions or mental illness. The UN estimates that there are 500 million persons with disabilities in the world today. In Pakistan, the estimated 15 million of its population may be categorized as persons with disabilities, of whom about2.82 million are below the age of 18 years. But the aforementioned data is a rough estimate and the actual figures are supposed to be even higher than this. The other useful rough figures about disability in Pakistan are +18: are- 2.402-m); visual impaired 1.41-m and 1.201-m; hearing impaired: 0.705 and 0.6-m; mental disability: 1.41-m and 1.201-m. these people represent the 10% of the whole Pakistan population. 77% of the people with disabilities have no access to education. 66% of the people with disabilities live in rural areas .Women with disabilities are twice as more likely to be abused than women without disabilities .Disability may be genetically pre-determined or may be caused by environmental conditions such as poverty, violence, unsafe working conditions, malnutrition, poor health care, lack of sanitation, neglect or abuse .The rate of literacy among people with disabilities is 24% use.70% of the people with disabilities are unemployed.
Keeping in view the sufferings and the current situation of PWDs, SPADO is serving this vulnerable segment of society in various parts of FATA and KPK. The organization has carried out various projects through participatory approaches. The services of the organization have been acknowledged and appreciated globally especially in child protection, Mine risk education and Serving the persons with disabilities. The organization is serving Persons with disabilities around the country through various projects and activities. The organization has its awareness campaigns against land mines which are one of the many causes of disabilities around the globe.
SPADO has launched many an efforts to assist Persons with disabilities.
Initiation of the KM project in collaboration with LCDDP in District Swat to assist around 200 of PWDs through grants to initiate small businesses, different skill based and livelihood trainings, distributing wheel chairs and other helping devices among the PWDs in Swat.
SPADO is the member and focal point for International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC). It has performed its role in the campaign against small arms and land mines which are one of the many causes of disability around the globe. SPADO, in coordination with the aforementioned forums, has its dedication to ensure and promote the top mandate of disability rights. The approach to carry out the task is to discuss the rights of persons with disability, With Government at Policy level and through advocacies on national level too.
In 2008, SPADO launched an intervention, focusing persons with disability at various IDP Camps targeting 245 persons with disability and carried out the task successfully. In the process, wheel chairs, hearing aids and other motivating tools were distributed among persons with disability.
In 2009 again, SPADO had its focus upon this segment of society and through various interventions in many parts of the country especially in FATA, remained intact with 325 persons with disability. The facilitation efforts proved very helpful to motivate these persons towards the start of a new life.
In 2010, SPADO further expanded its efforts to be intact with these persons with disability and facilitated about 538 persons through various interventions. As the implementation, about 200 wheel chairs and hearing aids were distributed in District Swat and many other parts of KPK and FATA.
The journey has not taken an end yet. SPADO has its plans to expand its efforts further in 2011 in this regard and help as much as 1000 families of persons with disability in the calendar year.
Efforts in the Jalozai camp
The recent years have seen the great influx of the IDPs from various parts of FATA towards the settled areas accompanying with thousands of Persons with disabilities. The fight between militants and Pakistan army was one of the great reasons of such a great proportion of disability side by side with malnutrition in Bajowr and the adjacent conflict affected areas.
Just after the arrival of IDPs in Jalozai camp, SPADO geared up to facilitate the IDPs in the camp through various programs keeping an eye on persons with disabilities.
The organization commenced the activities through establishing child friendly spaces in the camp and ensured the representation of children with disabilities in the activities. Activities focusing the children with disabilities are the part of the work plan and special facilitation of such children has been carried out throughout the intervention.
Having a particular focus on these children, the organization arranges especial facilitation programs like wheel chair and hearing devices distributions among the disable children. (The details have been provided under the heading “SPADO and PWDs”). The under discussion event takes place on 31st March 2011. The Children with Disabilities in jalozai camp are beneath the open skies waiting the peace to be restored. The conflict has left them with disabilities and these are the harsh days for these children but SPADO is in the field, committed to assist them. The organization distributed 07 wheel chairs and 02 hearing aids with collaboration of Unicef and arranges 03 hearing aids as its own contribution to the cause disables facilitation.
SPADO carried out a careful assessment in the camp and collected data about the disable children. The collected names of the beneficiaries were evaluated and verified within the team. As a process the child Protection Committees and child protection groups were also in hand. Because of the limited numbers of assistance available, the organization prioritized the beneficiaries on case to case intensity and need level. The list of beneficiaries is attached with the document.
Mr. Ayyub the camp Administrator was the chief guest of the event. He in his speech appreciated the efforts of SPADO and hoped for the rest of the children to be provided with wheel chairs and hearing aids. He in his remarks added that the example has been set and just demands to be followed in future. He said that SPADO has keen observation of the situation in the camp being the leading contributors in both child protection and disability sector. The organization has set such examples in the past too and thanked SPADO on behalf of camp administration. SPADO CP Jalozai coordinator, in his remarks expressed the commitment of the team to further facilitate the PWDs.
The organization is further committed to strengthen the efforts through other interventions and to help this segment of society to get more of them and to utilize their energies in a more effective way. Activities to enhance the capacities of persons with disabilities will be initiated this year in the context.