Usually restricted indoors due to his disability, Zaman got a chance to have a leisurely time at a festival for children with disabilities organised at the F-9 park on Thursday.
Despite the hot weather, a huge crowd turned up at the festival that was organised by the Special Education and Social Welfare Division, in collaboration with Plan Pakistan.
People with disabilities and their families were seen enjoying the various activities organised at the event, which included dance performances, singing competitions, magic and puppet shows, among others.
Like other children, Zamaan, 13, was full of life and enjoying the festival with one of his friends, Umer Faheem, who was on a wheelchair.
“I already had one plate of gol gappas in the morning which cost Rs50 and I’m now left with no money to eat more or to go on the swings,” said Zaman, 13, who is physically challenged from birth. “My father is a drug addict and I did not want to take money from him but he insisted because he wanted me to have fun which I usually miss out on,” he added.
Dressed in a suit, Suleman, 12, who is visually impaired, was excited about taking part in a naat competition. “It is the very first time in my life I have enjoyed so much; I had an ice cream, went on the swings and now I want to recite naat,” he said.
Moreover, 10-year-old Attaul Qadir, who is mentally-challenged, sang ‘Aj kala jora pa’ and received a big round of applause from the audiences. He is apprenticed with a carpenter and wants to be a singer in future.
Visually-impaired children presented a dance performance on ‘Aay Jawan’. The performance forced Abdullah, eight, who was in a wheelchair, to try to dance to the beat but he could not do it as his lower body is paralysed. “It is a great moment for me to see my son enjoying like this. After neurosurgery paralysed his body, I have always seen him depressed,” said his mother Shaista*.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Director General Special Education Mustafain Kazmi said the idea behind organising this event was to erase the sense of discrimination among children with disabilities. “In this festival, they are free from the fear of being stared at by people who make them feel they are from another planet,” he said.
Kazmi said the event was planned to give them an opportunity to showcase their hidden talent and prove themselves.
*Name changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2012.
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