Coming back to life: Ray of hope for children with disabilities

Welfare organisation helps those of G-B to move forward

Shabbir Mir June 21, 2016
Welfare organisation helps those of G-B to move forward. PHOTO: FILE

GILGIT: There is pin drop silence in the room as Chand Mukhi starts speaking about her experience when it comes to her decade-long experience of helping children with disabilities.

“This girl had acute health issues related to urination,” Mukhi tells those present in the room. Those listening to her speak can relate to parts of the talk as most of them have spent considerable time with people with disabilities in Gilgit. “The child’s parents had no hope for her life and that’s why they would also try to stop us from spending time with her.”

Six years on, Mukhi says Tabassum is now a high-achieving student at a school near Oshinkhandas, her village. She is in Grade-II at the moment.

On the horizon 

However, Tabassum is not the only one to have been helped back to life by Mukhi. She works for Mehnaz Fatima Educational and Welfare Organisation that has done a lot in Gilgit under a programme called ‘Community Interventions for Children with Disabilities’.

Of at least a dozen staff members of the organisation’s special education centre, Azra and Kosar have also played a vital role in looking after children with disabilities, In fact, they have made it their mission to help such individuals.

“The inner satisfaction that comes through this job is hard to come by otherwise,” says the principal of a school run by the organisation.

The teachers, who have now become trainers, have helped well over 300 children with disabilities through well-orchestrated programmes. These include home-based ones which are free of cost for those from low income backgrounds. More than 20 children with disabilities enrolled in the school are orphan.

Gates open

At present, more than 45 children with disabilities are in the school, while those helped under the home-based programmes are at least 90.

“What is unique and inspiring is that children with disabilities are not taught [in a separate classroom],” says a parent, whose child was in a vegetative state, but has become a self-reliant student of the school. “This approach makes the [student] feel at home.”

Every trainer has long stories to tell, says Ghulam Abbas, the incharge of the project. He wishes to transform the organisation into one of the leading advocacy centres for children with disabilities in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2016.



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