MULTAN: God helps those who help themselves. In life, nothing is impossible to achieve, when one has enthusiasm, optimism, confidence, and commitment. This was the gist of discussion among one dozen young physically-challenged persons, when they convened an extra-ordinary and maiden meeting in October 2008, to establish an organisation, “Society for Special Persons”, (SSP) with an aim to pursue and secure their due rights in an organised manner.
Initially, the organisation, headed by a courageous and motivated wheelchair girl Zahida Hameed, comprised of 12 persons only, including deaf, blind and wheelchair users.
SSP expanded with rapid pace and within a short span of one decade, it became one of the biggest organisations, not only of south Punjab but also the country. Now, it comprises over 18,000 registered members, said SSP Chairperson Zahida Hameed while talking to APP.
She said that SSP conducted a series of meetings with government officials, politicians and civil society workers. Similarly, it also arranged walks, seminars, and workshops to sensitise society about rights of the physically-challenged, said Hameed.
Hameed recalled that SSP launched easy accessibility campaign in 2011 and managed construction of standard ramps in almost all important buildings of city, including Bahauddin Zakariya University, colleges, schools, hospitals, parks, PIA, railways station, historical buildings and metro bus stations.
SSP also worked for construction of disabled-friendly toilets at public places. Although, the task was difficult, the organisation succeeded in creating awareness among masses about the issue.
The chairpersons said that there were about 1,000 physically-challenged persons who were well qualified and SSP in collaboration with Social Welfare and Labour Department managed jobs for hundreds of unemployed persons. Physically-challenged persons were working almost in all departments.
SSP had to face problems to manage wheelchairs for the disabled persons. The organisation, itself established its manufacturing unit of customise wheelchairs. She said that customise wheelchair unit was making wheelchairs as per demand of the users.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2019.