Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir)
To reinforce their commitment towards inclusions of persons with disabilities in every segment of life, be it economic, social or developmental, Sightsavers, HANDS and other stakeholders organized a National Conference of Community Based Inclusive Development Network (CBIDN) at a local hotel in Islamabad. The theme for this year conference is Paradigm of Development, Economy and Equity: Unsolved Dilemma of Inclusion and Social Mainstreaming.
Faisal Karim Kundi, Minister of State on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety graced the occasion as chief guest. While speaking at the occasion, he appreciated the role of CBID network in ensuring inclusion of persons with disabilities in the developmental process and ensured his commitment towards effective representation of Persons with Disabilities in the parliament. He highlighted the importance of their work for registration of persons with disabilities and issuance of Special CNIC (SCNIC) so that they may avail resources from government beneficiary programs such as Benazir Income Support Program. He further said that we as a society needs to facilitate women in general and women with disabilities in particular through well-deserved financing through Benazir Income Support Program.
CBIDN member organizations requested the minister to connect social and economic safety programs such as Benazir Income Support Program with disability networks such as CBID and Organizations of People with e Disabilities (OPDs) that was very well received by the Minister of State.
Ms. Munazza Gillani, Country Director Sightsavers said Persons with Disabilities and their representative organizations should have a collective platform and space to discuss their opportunities, challenges, possibilities and solutions. There is a strong need to educate and sensitize the masses, policy makers and stakeholders. We need to focus more on opportunities than challenges and connect with the support out there.
Ms. Khem Phaokhamkeo, Project Manager ILES Application in Pakistan’s SMEs, ILO said we have many international conventions and recommendations to promote inclusive employment, and social protection of Persons with Disabilities. She focused on the importance and need to create employment service centers in Pakistan to connect the employers and the job seekers with special focus to provide income opportunities to persons with disabilities while protecting their rights.
Dr. Shaikh Tanveer Ahmed, Chief Executive HANDS said that few years ago there was no law for the protection of disability rights and opportunities for them, CBIDN made this possible and joined hands with the government to ensure development and implementation of related legislations. We are committed towards ensuring rights of persons with disabilities at all levels and implementation of laws and legislations.
Some of the key thematic areas that were discussed on the first day during different sessions of the conference were: Disability Inclusive Legislations and Policies, Status of Pakistan in alignment with Global and National Commitments, Gender Equity and Mainstreaming, Inclusive Employability /Economic Empowerment of persons with disabilities.
On the second of the conference, a special emphasis was placed on global treaties/conventions and Pakistan’s commitments by heads and representatives of different organizations such as HANDS, PPAF, WaterAid Pakistan, WHH Pakistan, AAR Japan, HelpAge, CBM and other development organizations.
Dr. M. Sarwat Mirza, National Coordinator CBIDN thanked the stakeholders, panelists and participants for their meaningful contribution towards making Pakistan a better place for persons with disabilities and ensured that they will continue their efforts for social and economic inclusion of persons with disability and fighting for disability rights.
Overall, the 10th CBIDN conference was a big success in terms of bringing together all stakeholders who are working for the empowerment of the persons with disabilities. The work of organisations of persons with disabilities was particularly showcased to sensitize and encourage the overall society on inclusive development.