Emerging Leaders

I was not disabled in America

Maria QureshiIt was honor for me to be the part of International Visitor Leadership training program in USA as it empowered, encouraged and had been a life time experience for me. It is worth mentioning here that during the said visit my earnest dreams come true as I lived independent life there, which was not possible in my own country because of accessibility issues. It was the very first time I feel myself a blessed human being because I could enter any place I wish, it may be any building , public place or shopping mall, every place was totally accessible in states and there was a feeling of independence that I ever wished to move like this, it was a feeling of comfort wherever I traveled on public buses and train with my non-disabled friends, and the sense of being disabled disappeared and lost as we all were equal rightful and valued human beings, without and discrimination and sense of deprivation.

Written by:
Maria Qureshi

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“Learn from yesterday, live for tomorrow”:

Azima Zahdi“Learn from yesterday, live for tomorrow” is key to a successful life. I learn every day from people around me and get inspiration to move on. I, Azima Zaidi was born in 1993 with a physical disability. My hands below wrist and legs above knee are absent. This disability has fortunately never created any barriers along my way. Despite my disability I’ve enjoyed every moment of my life. For me it has been as unpredictable as a mystery box. In today’s competitive world I learnt to survive, and the best way to do that as my parents say is through education! Especially for people with disabilities education is food for life. “Educate yourself to such an extent that people have no choice but to follow your footsteps” states my dad. If today I’m educated, confident and independent, it’s all because of my parents.

Written by:
Ms. Azima Zahdi

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Muniba Khurram 

Muniba-590x521A courageous Pakistani woman who turned an adversity into a life-changing opportunity, Muniba Khurram is known as ‘an optimist who is physically challenged and differently able’. Rendered paraplegic after a car accident and wheelchair bound, her spirits and talent is boundless. A full-time mother, an acclaimed artist, content writer and a part-time volunteer social-worker, Muniba is currently running her own brand by the name of ‘Muniba’s Canvas’ and is ready to lead National Forum for Women with Disabilities (NFWWD).With a message of ‘Never Give Up’, Muniba stands strong as an inspirational example of strength and courage – and a woman who dares to be different.

Written by:
Ms. Muniba Mazari

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Ramp Movement: A step forward for the disabled:

Tanzila KhanKhan, a student at the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design in Lahore, founded the Ramp Movement in September last year after exchanging ideas with young people during a visit to Sri Lanka. “The basic aim of the movement is to create the realisation that facilities like ramps should be an essential part of any architectural design,” she said. Ramps facilitated the mobility not just of the disabled, but also old people, pregnant women and people with temporary disabilities, she said. Officially launched on December 3 last year, the nascent “disability rights movement”, as Khan calls it, has so far registered 300 volunteers from across Punjab, most of them from Lahore. The Movement was launched simultaneously in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Khan says that the idea gained greater popularity in Sri Lanka owing to a greater general understanding of the issues of physically-challenged people.

Pakistan is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Khan said that the law did provide protection and facilities for physically-challenged persons, but even government offices were not wheelchair-friendly.

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Ms. Shumaila Naz
Women with Disabilities (SOCIO Pakistan) Quetta, Balochistan

Tanzila KhanIn Balochistan Women are ignored in every field of life and women with disabilities are not able to use their right of mobility, accessibility, education, health, employment, devices, marriage, There is almost no social interaction within family and society and socio cultural taboos restrict their equal participation in public life.
Discrimination in quota in Government jobs for women with disabilities.
“In Balochistan woman in general lags behind men in all aspects of life and women with disability are doubly deprived.
“We should strongly advocate for the inclusion of issues of women with disabilities and for these to receive atmost priority in program and service development, policy development and legislation, participation in decision making and governance, and resource allocation for women with disabilities .
“We commit ourselves to promote an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for people with disabilities, and in particular for women with disabilities
Following measures are recommended in specific:
Integration on women with disability aspect in all policies on the provincial and national level.
Effective implementation of women with disability related sections of CEDAW.
Social protection measures to be introduced for women with disability, including the launch of District level fund on Critical illnesses as well as social protection.
Clear policy of Election Commission on facilitation of people with disability to fully use their right to vote and one window operation to facilitate them with CNIC registration(NADRA to provide mobile vans )
Special measures to protect women with disability from Gender based violence, including a well defined referral mechanism.
Integration of women with disability aspects in the emergency response and DRR plans.
The process of getting disability certificate to be made easy
Friendly infrastructure for easy access and mobility of people with disability

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Rahat Shrif

Rahat SharifI congratulate to NFWWD for launching its website. We had a very nice meeting in Karachi in 2011 with NFWWD chairpersons Ms. Abia. We are willing to collaborate with NFWWD for the empowerment of WWD, in future.

Women who are Deaf face too much difficulty because of communication barrier, it keep us back and unable to participate fully. There are only few trained interpreter and usually we do not have access to interpreter due to lack of funding.

We hope to work with NFWWD to improve the situation of women with disability and to ensure their inclusion in mainstream society and as well as in disability movement, equally.

naheedNaheed Tara 

 My name is naheed Tara I would like to describe my life story shortly. My Eye sights were totally normal by birth and spend my life with great pleasure. When I was able to go to school ,my father get admitted me in school I has passed my metric from govt girls high school Jogewara Peshawar after my metric I has done my FSc  Govt  Girls College Peshawar ,I did my BSc from frontier women college Peshawar. After my BSc I got admission in university of Peshawar for getting Master of Science Degree in chemistry. After completion of my MSc chemistry degree I did not stop my education and my ambition was to do my M phil in chemistry and serve the people of my country. Getting admitted for M Phil in chemistry I felt that all my desires are about to complete But unfortunately I  suffered from very severe headache and my father took me to CMH hospital .After the doctors diagnosis they said that I have migraine .I have continuously used medicines for this but I found no improvement from the medicines. After a few months my father took me to another doctor and he advised me CTscan .In my CTscan I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the doctors advised me immediate surgery. My father did my operation in Lahore hospital. The doctors said that with this operation my eye sight can be affected .After the operation I became blind completely at this moment all my desires broke down and my parents were very worried for me and I was very sad because i went to a darker side of my life from colorful one. After this incident I was completely dishearten but an organization came and they motivated me and guided me that many people are living a successful life without eye sight and with this I started a new life. I attended mobility trainings in Islamabad and Faisalabad in different institutions.  Now I am working on women with disabilities, motivation. Promotion, inclusion and right based society for all. Now I am a role model for other women with disabilities and I am coordinator secretary of SPDA (special person development association).

Rahat SharifI was seven years old when words started to appear as tiny worms to me. That is when it was discovered that I was suffering from a genetic disease. Since then I have been coping with low vision. My family took me to the United States of America where the doctors diagnosed what was different with me. My parents did everything in their worldly power to make life better for me.
My family never made me feel like an unwanted or excluded member of society. They educated me like every other child in my family was being educated. No compromises were made to my education or life style because I was disabled. I was taught in one of the best education system that was available in Pakistan. Encouragement was always given to me and most importantly I never learnt or was taught from my surroundings that I am disabled so therefore sky is the limit for me. I was always taught to aim higher than the sky even and that nothing should be a hindrance for me .this gave me the confidence to do anything on my own and also limited my dependence on other people.