SUKKUR: The lack of interest on the part of officials of the social welfare department and financial constraints have brought the rehabilitation centre for disabled children on the verge of closure.
Sahib Dino, who heads the centre told The Express Tribune that the centre was established in 1979 in a rented building in Old Sukkur. Later the centre bought a new building in 1988 at Bunder Road. At present 33 students are enrolled at the centre, out of which 12 live in the hostel. The children are provided education from class-I to class-VIII. They are also provided vocational training like woodwork, sewing and knitting chairs.
He said that there were two categories of children at the centre – physically disabled and deaf and dumb. The centre could also offer the facility of physiotherapy but cannot afford to hire a physiotherapist.
Similarly, the minibus, which was being used to provide pick-and-drop service to the children, broke down five years ago but no effort was made to get it fixed.
The government then provided the centre with a Suzuki van as most of the children use the centre’s transport.
Most of the children residing in the hostel belong to Shikarpur and Ghotki, he said.
“We are short of funds and that is why we cannot provide the students with everything they need. Some affluent people provide uniforms, books and stationery for the students.”
A student of Grade 3rd, Mohammad Ehsan Khan is very much interested in sewing. “He is good at sewing,” said Khan’s teacher. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Ehsan Khan, who is physically disabled said that besides getting education, he was interested in learning sewing as he wanted to become a tailor like his uncle.
Another student Mir Murtaza, who is a student of Grade One, is also interested in learning sewing and embroidery. He also wanted to become a tailor master.
The social welfare department’s deputy district officer, Abdul Qudoos Memon said that they were getting a fund of Rs166,258 per year, which is insufficient to manage the centre and meet expenses like utility bills, uniform, stationery, transportation and food.
The centre is spending Rs15,000 per month for using Suzuki pickup to provide pick and drop service to the students.
He said that according to the jail manual Rs100 per day was fixed for providing three meals to a prisoner.
If Rs100 per day was fixed for a student then they would need Rs1200 per day to feed 12 students.
Memon regretted that despite repeated requests local traders and businessmen were not willing to extend help for this noble cause.
However, the Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC) has promised to construct tile flooring and three rooms on the first floor for an orphanage house at the centre, Memon said adding that FFC had also helped in the construction of the second block of the building, which had collapsed.
The Mari Gas Company had also promised to provide a Suzuki Bolan for the provision of transport to the students and they might get it in a couple of days, he hoped.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.
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