SWAT: There are more than 15,000 children with disabilities here, who have neither proper schooling nor support from the government, despite the presence of a district community development department.
The ratio of disability has always been high in Swat, but after the military operation it has increased substantially. Unfortunately, no government body or authority has paid heed to the sector leaving special people uncared for.
In these circumstances, a young group of people from Ditpanrai area of Matta tehsil, despite scarce resources, has taken the responsibility of educating special people.
“I am visually impaired so when I was admitted in kindergarten, my teachers used to tell me to leave school and learn some craft. They said I could not get educated, so they expelled me from the school. Then I got admitted in another school. There too, the teachers did not accept me,” pioneer of Matta Special Education, Naeem Sultan, told The Express Tribune.
Bitter experiences from my past were fresh in my mind and I decided to open a school to educate special children of my area, he added.
There are many obstacles in Sultan’s way. “Now that we have started the school we have a problem of salaries, rent and furniture. We requested the Handicap International in Swat to help us but they did not even reply. I requested the Federal Minister for Special Education Samina Korki and the chief justice to take action, but there was no response from their side either,” he said.
Sumaira Rahim, a teacher at the centre told The Express Tribune, “We have chosen to come in this field because these people are neglected in society. They need somebody to take care of them, because such children are considered a burden on society.”
“I personally feel great pleasure when they learn a word from us as it is difficult for them to pick up new things. Plus, controlling special children and keeping them calm is really hard, which often puts us down but then we resolve our mission and start again, said another teacher Sumaira Naz.
The teachers say that there is a major problem of transportation in the area because of which many children are not able to come.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 25th, 2010.