ANNUAL WHEELCHAIRS DISTRIBUTION CEREMONY

According to World Disability Report issued by WHO and World Bank, one billion people or 15 percent of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. Persons with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, worse health outcomes, less employment, and higher poverty rates. Poverty may increase the risk of disability through malnutrition, inadequate access to education and health care, unsafe working conditions, polluted environment, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation. As a result, disability may increase the risk of poverty, through lack of employment, lower wages, and increased cost of living with a disability.


Saaya Association (Organization of Disabled Persons) is a registered and cross-disability association, which supports people with disabilities (PWDs), enabling them to realize their full potential through new opportunities, personal choice, and community involvement. The association is working for improving the ultimate status with the dignity of people with disabilities. Saaya is focused on Independent Living, Inclusive education, Barrier Free & Right-Based society and access to justice.


The mission of the Saaya is to contribute to improving the social-economic, cultural condition of people with disabilities through the promotion of information, knowledge, skill, awareness and advocacy through the mass media. 80% of staff of the association are persons with disabilities and contribute on a voluntary basis. Our main focus is to work for the betterment of people’s attitudes towards persons with disabilities and enhance, promote access to their opportunities in all facets of life including the health sector, the education sector as well as in sports. By achieving that, much secure and better living conditions for persons with disabilities can be made possible. People with disabilities are still finding it hard to accept their disability; as a result, they are not able to play a much constructive role in society.


Saaya association intends to bring such people out of their shells of misery into mainstream life. It also intends to create an environment in Pakistan in general but with special emphasis on Independent Living Center where People with Disabilities (PWDs) can visit the marketplace and other places of public interest without being sneered at or without feeling ashamed of being in a wheelchair or any other assistive gadget.


The 20% of the total population of Pakistan comprises of disabled people, their lives are handicapped by physical and social barriers. Such children & adults face a life that is segregated and debased. Since the foundation of Saaya Association Islamabad in 2009, a tradition of help has been followed by the distribution of wheelchairs & Eid gifts in the Holy month of Ramadan. Association has been thankful to Allah Almighty for providing an opportunity to help people in need, within its capacity.


The Saaya association has been able to distribute hundred wheelchairs and Eid suits to persons with disabilities under the umbrella of CBID Network in Collaboration with HANDS Pakistan on 22 June 2018 at hotel Pak Continental Islamabad. Person, Women and Children with disabilities from different parts of Pakistan came to receive the customized wheelchairs. The ceremony was attended by Almost 150 persons with disabilities, parents, and the local Community.


The session was begun with the words of Allah; Mr Osama has recited a few verses from the Holy Quran. Prior to this, the registration desk was set up for formal registration of Wheelchair receivers. An assessment was done by the Saaya Association team to give people wheelchairs according to their needs and disability.


Mr Asim Zafar has formally begun the session. He gave an introduction about the organization to acknowledge the efforts of his team, volunteers and honourable guests. He told that Saaya Association wants to contribute to improving the social-economic, cultural condition of people with disabilities such initiatives are only a small step towards achieving the goal of equality and right based society.


He also introduced the team member one by one. First, he introduces Ms Saima Aslam who is contributing to Saaya as program manager (women with disabilities), she serve in the disability movement for the last 12 years, despite her severe disability she has done a lot of work for women with disabilities. Next Mr Asim invited Mr. Tahir Javaid who has muscular dystrophy and serve in Saaya as sectary finance, his mother & father has also same disability. For the last 8 years, he gave his services to Saaya, doing a lot of work for people with disabilities.


Mr Asim introduced Mr Kamran Khan a young student with a disability having polio, he is serving Saaya as program manager (Accessible Pakistan Accessibility for all) for the last 5 years. He is also studying M.Com from Urdu University Islamabad. Next to him Mr Amir Khan working as HR & Resource mobilization in Saaya Association has done his BSCS from Urdu University.


Wheelchairs (Manual & Power) are the most important part of the person with disabilities and when one feels any problem in the wheelchair no person can repair these wheelchairs but we have the blessing of Allah that Mr Shafi Ullah & Mr Hasnain Ali a wheelchair maintains technicians working in Saaya. If one has faced any problem in his/her wheelchair they repair the fault and let give them mobility. Mr. Asim introduces Ms Ayesha as having C.P disability working as an Admin officer in Saaya Association, she is also a student and doing her B.Com from Allama Iqbal University Islamabad. Mr Ansar, Mr Arslan, Mr Sajjad and Ms Uzma also worked as team members in Saaya Association. Mr. Asim said that his team contributing voluntarily in Saaya with dedication and commitment. They all faced so many difficulties to continue the journey of life with pride and diginity but they have passion to contributing in this movement. He said that they all are not paid staff except few are financially supported for education & Personal Attendant by HANDS Pakistan. He also pays gratitude and thanks for their continuous support to person with disabilities.


Mr. Asim said that in second phase wheelchairs will also be distributed in some rural and far area. Where there are scarce opportunities and lack of awareness regarding persons with disabilities.


Dr. Sarwat Mirza has introduced HANDS Pakistan in his speech. He appreciated the services of Saaya Association for the benefit of persons with disabilities. He further informed that it’s just a beginning and in future HANDS will collaborate with CBID Network and its member’s organization in HANDS working area.


Brig Zafar Imtiaz one of most respectful guest person of the event, He is also a board member of Saaya Association. He mentioned that he feels very humble to be part of this organization since the foundation and playing his part in doing any good he can. He acknowledged the mission of Saaya Association and appreciated the efforts of Saaya Association team for holding up such a different and an important event. He also acknowledges the efforts of Mr. Asim in this disability movement and serves the disability community.


Major Genral Masood Hassan Was also invited on Stage to shared his views , He acknowledged the mission of Saaya Association and appreciated the efforts of Mr. Asim and his team for their good work , He said that no one can stop journey of  life due to his / her disability because life is the gift of Allah , one can do anything which they wish . Medically the person may feel some issues and faced problems but whatever disability you have, it never stops you from socializing.


Eid gift suits distributed among the wheelchairs receivers. Refreshment was also served to all the people who have attended this event, group photos were taken in the end.


At the end Mr. Asim Zafar thanked all the guests and his team for their unlimited dedication and strong conviction despite all the hardships.