KARACHI: The first exhibition in Pakistan organised by any provincial government for differently-abled people will be held in Karachi on February 25 at the Expo Centre.
This was announced by the secretary of the special education department, Dr Zulfiqar Ali Shallwani, at a press conference on Monday. The exhibition, the 'Abilities Expo', is being organised in collaboration with the Karachi Vocational Training Centre (KVTC).
"The expo will be of great help for special people and will encourage them," said Dr Shallwani, announcing that the exhibition will be held for one day from 11am to 7pm. The main reason for holding this event is to motivate differently-abled people to find opportunities and make them feel like average people, explained the secretary.
Stalls will be given to organisations free-of-charge and the exhibition is open for all and free-of-charge. "We will also have a job fair so the participants can get equal [employment] opportunities," said Dr Shallwani, adding that stalls from all over Pakistan will be set up for products that can be used by differently-abled people such as wheelchairs and hearing and visual aids.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has extended his support for the initiative. "The only expense for the exhibition is of the Expo Centre hall booking, other than that all the non-governmental organisations have come forward to support the idea," said Dr Shallwani. He said 52 special education schools run under the provincial government will also be participating in the event.
KVTC's director of projects Farhan Khan explained how activities will take place at the exhibition. The expo will be spread out in three halls; hall one will host the job fair, crafters exhibition, art gallery and virtual stimulation, hall two will be hosting seminars on disabilities, performance and art shows and stalls by 50 special needs schools from across Sindh while hall three will have sports and games by Special Olympics Pakistan. The Pakistan Air Force, Army and Navy have also signed up for a stall to participate in the event.
The exhibition will have more than 50 differently-abled and other crafters, 25 multinational companies for the job fair, 500 volunteers from mainstream schools to guide people and the turnout it expected to be around 20,000 people.
The additional secretary of the special education department, Waheed Shaikh, and KVTC principal Rubina Inam were also present at the press conference.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2017.