The rehabilitation of the disabled is a huge challenge for a developing country like Pakistan. It can be tackled through a meaningful public-private partnership, speakers at a charity dinner said on Sunday.
The Lahore Businessmen Association for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (LABARD) had organised the event. The funds generated from the event will be used to provide medical treatment, education, vocational training and employment opportunities to persons with disabilities.
National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said it was a happy omen that the private sector was working for the rehabilitation of the disabled. “It is the responsibility of the state to look after all segments of society. LABARD is sharing the government’s burden and supplementing its efforts for the rehabilitation of the disabled,” he said.
British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton said that the rehabilitation of the physically challenged people was one of the major challenges being tackled by developing countries. “All members of society should play their role in this regard,” he said.
He said that maximum cooperation would be extended to the LABARD for the cause. “We cannot have a healthy and growing society unless the communities we work in are healthy and sustainable. We are committed to improving the quality of life in all parts of the world,” he said.
US Consul General Zachary Harkenrider said that United States would continue to work with the LABARD in its endeavour to impart vocational training to the disabled. “Though the rehabilitation of the disabled is a huge task, it can be handled through a positive approach,” he said.
MNA Pervez Malik, the LABARD president, said that there were very few facilities available for the physically and mentally challenged people. “These talented people can be treated and provided guidance for earning a respectable livelihood and place in the society. However, we need continuous support from individuals and organisations for this purpose,” he said. He said that according to a rough estimate, 2.4 per cent of the country’s population comprised people with disabilities. “To help them lead fulfilling lives with dignity, the businessmen of Lahore, with the support of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), have been working to raise funds under the administration of the LABARD,” he said.
LCCI President Ijaz A Mumtaz said that the government should help the LABARD and similar organisations. “The private sector too should take steps to provide jobs to the disabled people,” he said.
LABARD secretary general Muhammad Saeed Khan said that the organisation had arranged jobs for hundreds of disabled people. “We will soon establish a state-of-the-art training centre in Lahore to train the disabled. They will then be placed at various organisations,” he said.
Finance secretary Abbas Khan said that the rehabilitation of disabled people was a sacred duty. “The LABARD is getting a very good response from the registration camps at union council level,” he said.
Senator Aitezaz Ahsan, Adviser to CM Nasir Saeed, MNA Shaista Pervez, Mian Nauman Kabir, Mian Nusratuddin, Bushra Aitezaz, Saeed Khan and Abbas Khan also spoke on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2015.
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