Despite being paralysed in a car accident, Nasreen Aziz, 52, has a story which inspires. She may be restricted to a wheelchair but refuses to allow her body to hold her back. And since then she has worked tirelessly for the survivors of the 2005 earthquake by setting up a welfare institute.
“After the road accident, I lost my confidence for a while, but later decided not to lose hope and keep moving,” the high school teacher told The Express Tribune.
In light of this indefatigable community service, Nasreen was awarded the pride of performance award in 2007, and was conferred the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in 2010.
Twenty-five year old Shumaila Naz of Quetta was struck with polio when she was only five years old. But this woman too has refused to let the physical girt the mental. Today she is working for a welfare organisation.
“Living in such a conservative society where disabled women are considered a curse and the result of sin, it was not easy for me to achieve my dreams,” she says. “But my mother supported me a lot, and recently I completed a bachelor’s degree. I am now geared up for further education.”
Not losing ‘sight’
Twenty-four-year-old Maria from Rawalpindi holds a post-graduate degree in Mass Communications, and is now working as an administrator at an international organisation. She is blind.
“I never gave in to my disability and never paid heed to the discouraging comments made by some people around me,” she says.
Neither did Nageena Tahir, 29, who is deaf since birth. She is among 20 people who have been selected for a Mobility International USA (MIUSA) international exchange and development programme. After her bachelors in Fine Arts, Nageena has been working as a sign language trainer, and is well-versed in knitting, embroidery, cloth stitching and candle making.
Abia Akram, the director of projects at the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), 29, has worked for the welfare of people with disabilities for the past 15 years. She has made her mark on the national and international levels and was the first to introduce the term, ‘Women With Disabilities (WWD) ‘ in Pakistan.
“My dream is an inclusive society where women with disabilities live with dignity, respect, and equality,” she says. She is disabled too. But perhaps that is completely the wrong word to describe her and indeed all these women.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.