To mark the International Women Day 2013, seminar of women with disabilities in development was organized by Special Talent Exchange Programme with Government of Pakistan, CHEF International, National Forum of Women with Disabilities on March 8, 2013 in Islamabad, Wife of Ambassador of Saudi Arabia,H.E Abdullah bin Andul Ghadir honored us with her participation and expressed her commitment to take practical steps towards the implementation of UNCRPD.
Each year around the world, thousands of events occur to mark the achievements of women on the day. This year The Day will be commemorated under a general theme “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.
Annual Report 2012
Disability Leadership Professional Exchange Program, 2 – 16 April, 2013
MIUSA and STEP is calling for expressions of interest from Pakistani NGOs and Disabled People’ Organizations and networks working in the field of disability rights and services. Selected organizations will be offered 14-day group-centered program in Eugene, Oregon, USA. During the two-week program in the US, two representatives of selected organizations from Pakistan will have opportunities of participation. The program is designed to reach the following goals:
1. To build the leadership capacity of people with disabilities in Pakistan.
2. To strengthen the capacity of organizations to effectively empower people with disabilities in Pakistan.
3. To promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States of America and Pakistan.
All expanses for the fellowship will be borne by the funding organization that includes;
Accessible public transportation will be provided.
Please find the application form in the attachment, the deadline for the submission is 20 Dec 2012.
National Day of Persons with Disabilities, 5 July 2012
Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in the collaboration with Director General of Special Education & Social Welfare, Sightsavers Pakistan and Lenoard Cheshire Disability (LCD) Pakistan observed the National day of persons with disabilities since on the completion of one year since the ratification of the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Representative of International and national NGO’s and person with disabilities in large number participated in the seminar. The theme of this year is “Right to Work” which is article 27 of United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Under this article we distributed sewing machines and Rs. 35,000 for initiating the enterprise of Persons with disabilities.
20th Abbottabad National Sport Festival was held on 26th June 2012 in Abottabad. It included a number of sports designed especially for persons with disabilities of Pakistan such as Blind Cricket, Wheelchair cricket, Wheelchair Marathon etc.
The organizations that attended the event were Milestone, Leonard Cheshire Disability, USAID, SADA, A Star Association and CHEF International. The chief guest was Muhammad Atif Sheikh, president of STEP.
Events and competitions such as these boost the morale of Persons with Disabilities and go a long way in mainstreaming them through sports.
The Winners of the tournaments were as follows:
• Wheelchair cricket : Multan
• Blind Cricket : Gujranwala
• 100 meter Wheelchair marathon : Mardan
• Shooting : Karachi
National Stakeholder Workshop, Islamabad Hotel, 13 June 2012
In collaboration with CHIP, DFID and Sightsavers, STEP completed a 4 year project of leadership training and mentoring of PWDs in Jhelum and Sohawa. The villages were made models for the Government and other organizations to replicate in other rural areas. At the National Stakeholder workshop, STEP invited local and international NGOs as well as the government to present on the results of the leadership training. More importantly, the workshop briefed the NGOs and the Government on the guidelines to replicating the same model in other backward areas.
Director Telenor Open Mind, Norway Ms. Ingrid Ihme Visited Pakistan,
June 19-20, 2012
Ms. Ingrid Ihme Annette, a representative of Telenor’s Open mind program (a part of Telenor’s Corporate Social Responsibility) from Norway visited STEP’s office in Islamabad in June 2012. She met with STEP members and discussed the possibility of Open Mind Program in Pakistan. Open Mind Program trains disabled persons for a year and then they are employed on merit. As part of her visit, she visited Assistive technology National Institute of Special Education in Islamabad where she discussed future collaboration with DGSC and the implementation of Open Mind Program. She also met disabled persons in NISE.
Dialogue on “Defining Disability” April 11, 2012
The Dialogue on ‘Defining Disability’ has been organized by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in collaboration with Director of Special Education & Social welfare, Pakistan institute for Social Research and Advocacy (PISRA), Sightsavers Pakistan & Saach TV on April 11, 2012 at Helen Keller Friendship Center, National Library and Resource Center, Islamabad.
The perception and understanding of disability are formed through the influence of history, culture and society and the relate to all aspects of lives of people (Barnes, 1994), therefore it is difficult to develop a universal definition of disability with the simple statement, although various attempts have been made (UN 1999). Further definition can influence the way in which non-disabled people respond to disabled people. Center for Disability Studies, University of Leeds defines disabled person as person with impairment who experiences disability. Disability is the result of negative interaction that takes place between a person with impairment and her or his social environment. Impairment is thus part of negative interaction, but it is not the cause of, nor does it justify, disability. Here ‘impairment” is an injury, illness or congenital condition that causes or is likely to cause a loss of difference of physiological or psychological function, while “Disability” is the loss or limitation of opportunities to take part in society on an equal level with others due to social and environmental barriers (Chadwick, 1997).
Persons with Disabilities Take Oath as Ilm Ambassador
The session of Ilmpossible workshop took place in Laraib Inn, G-9/4 Islamabad on March 23rd, 2012. A total of 45 participants attended the workshop, which began at 10 in the morning and ended at 4pm.
The session took off with an informal introductory activity, in which the lead facilitator, Ali Shabbar, asked the participants to intermingle with each other, introduce themselves and ask three questions. After that, when the participants became familiar with each other, introduction was given about the organizers: STEP, Shashca and British Council, and about their campaign of Ilmpossible. The participants were told about the Article 25A of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Wheelchair Distribution Ceremony, February 26, 2012
Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in collaboration with Mahvash & Jahangir Siddiqui Foundatin, US based Walkabout Foundation and UNHCR distributed 300 specially customized wheelchairs to the flood affectees as part of its initial phase at Marriot Hotel Islamabad.
To mark this occasion, Mr. Richard E. Hoagland, Deputy chief Mission – US Embassy Islamabad, Ms. Carolina Bunster, CEO – Walkabout Foundation and Mr. Ali J. Siddiqui, CEO – Mahvash and Jahngir Siddiqui Foundation, Mr. Ali Munir – a UK based Pakistani investor and entrepreneur, and may other notable dignitaries were present and spoke regarding the initiative.
The Culture Fashion show, titled “Welcoming 2012: Culture Fashion Show of Persons with Disabilities”, was jointly organized by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), Monthly Pakistan Special, Embers and Shahzads Designs on December 29, 2011 in National Library Islamabad.
Empowering Youth for Peace and Development (EYPAD) project aims to develop peace, tolerance, knowledge in the youth by encouraging exchange of ideas through different means of communications, like the internet, photography and video films etc., to build bridges for solidarity and brotherhood on the local and international level.
Attended by various important figures, such as revered disability experts, UNESCO representatives, members of different national and international NGOs and persons with disabilities themselves, the Consultation had aimed to review the status of Access of Persons with disabilities to Education (article 24 of UNCRPD), Information and Communication Technology (article 9 of UNCRPD) and Mainstreaming of women with disabilities in development (article 6 on UNCRPD).
Talking to the gathering, Dr Kozue Kay Nagata, Director UNESCO said that she is hopeful about the outcomes of the consultation and expects it to bring a marked change at the policy level.
After presentations from noted government, UNESCO, DPI, STEP and CADD, the participants were divided into five groups and discussions were held on Gender Mainstreaming and Women with Disabilities; Inclusive Education; Literacy, Right to Education & Barrier-Free Communication and Information; Barrier for implementation of UNCRPD; and Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) supported by WHO, UNESCO and ILO. The event culminated with a representative from each group presenting about the solutions they had come up with.
With a globalization and dozens of international languages is use, we have our own limits on how fast we can learn different languages and communicate fluently with others. "Sign Language" can help us communicate with any person with limited language skills.
Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) brought Professional Sign Language Course for all those who wish to learn sign language - out of necessity or interest. Beginning from August 17th and ending on August 18th, Professional Sign Language Course aimed to transcend the barriers of communication between the disabled persons and the society by becoming their voice, at a very nominal registration fee. Conducted by trained professionals from the field, the two day course was held at STEP office, from 10am to 2pm.
Launching the "Make the Right Real" Campaign, Pakistan, 26-31 January 2011.
The local and international stakeholders working for the
rights of physical-challenged persons Saturday announced the implementation of
Third Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled persons starting from 2013 – 2022 as
Pakistan ratified the UN convention on rights of Persons with disabilities
(UNCRPD) on January 26.
The local and international stakeholders working for the rights of physical-challenged persons Saturday announced the implementation of Third Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled persons starting from 2013 – 2022 as Pakistan ratified the UN convention on rights of Persons with disabilities (UNCRPD) on January 26.
The government of Pakistan has agreed and endorsed the establishment of “South Asian Disability Forum (SADF)” that will network various DPOs and NGOs in South Asia, representing all disabilities, to address a regional point of view in South Asia.
The decision was taken at the end of the Regional Leadership Conference for Persons with Disability jointly organized by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in close collaboration with Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education, Asia-Pacific Development Centre of Disability (APCD), Sightsavers, Telenor Pakistan and British Council Pakistan. More than 150 representatives with disabilities from the Pakistan and south Asian countries participated in the conference.
More pictures from the event
On November 26, 2009, the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) convened a Workshop on Promoting Electoral Access: Participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Electoral Process, in Islamabad.
Funded by the USAID, through IFES, the workshop was attended by 31 persons with disabilities from 13 organizations of disabled persons representing all provinces of Pakistan and Kashmir.The first of its kind in Pakistan, the workshop examined barriers to electoral participation for persons with disabilities, taking as its starting point the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This Convention calls on state parties to ensure the effective and full participation of people with disabilities in political and public life on an equal basis with others, including the right and opportunity of persons with disabilities to vote and be elected. Pakistan has signed, but not yet ratified, the Convention. To increase electoral access in Pakistan for persons with disabilities, workshop participants recommended the following:
- Establishing a National Forum of Persons with Disabilities on the Electoral Process;
- Reform of the electoral law;
- Reform of policies, election regulations and procedures;
- Hiring of persons with disabilities by the Election Commission of Pakistan;
- Awareness training for ECP staff;
- Election observation by persons with disabilities;
- Civic and voter education outreach; and
- Inclusion of disability issues in the platforms of political parties and candidates.
One priority of the National Forum would be to ensure that the election law fully protects and promotes the rights of persons with disabilities. Understanding that the Election Commission of Pakistan and others are working toward electoral reform, it is critical to include electoral participation for persons with disabilities on the reform agenda.
STEP achieved another landmark in its on going endeavors for the persons with disabilities when Vice Admiral (retd) M. Haroon, Rector Bahria University, announced jobs and scholarships for PWDs in Bahria university at any level of studies.
This was announced at the occasion of Disability Equality Training held at Leadership Centre, Bahria University on January 14, 2010 under the project of American Institute for Research (AIR). President STEP, Mr. Atif Sheikh, and Bahria University Rector, Vice Admiral (retd) M. Haroon agreed on providing ample facilities to the disabled people in Bahria University.
As a follow up of this commitment, a Board at
Bahria University approved the appointment of Mr. Abdul Manan, physically
disabled, in Statistics department of the University. Another Wheelchair user
graduate, Abrar Hussain has been offered the position of teaching assistant at
University. Ali Shabbar who is visually impaired, has been offered to continue
his research degree in Supply Chain Management. Head of Leadership Development
Centre, Mr. Junaid Kiyani pledged his unconditional support for the PWDs who
are competent and interested in higher education at Bahria University,
Government of Pakistan, development organizations and self-help organizations of persons with disabilities all over the country are contributing in the rehabilitation, empowerment and mainstreaming of disabled persons since early 80s but a dire need has always been felt to have a national podium with shared goal. With the prime objective of carving a common agenda the meeting was called.
With the introduction of organizations a warm up facilitation organized for DPOs representatives for better understanding working as network. Next day a brain storming session started how to strengthen National level mechanism of DPOs in Pakistan. After an extensive discussion all representatives agreed to launch a “Campaign for Implementation of National Plan of Action (GOP) 2010-2012” launched. Five those targets selected from NPA were common among all.
2. Women with Disabilities
3. Political Rights and Inclusion
4. Inclusive Education5. Accessible Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
A video documentary on endeavourers of STEP produced by NISTE (National Institute of Science and Technical Education) under the Story based Knowledge Management Project of APCD Thailand (Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability), was launched in conjunction with observance of International White Cane safety Dayon October 14, 2009 in Islamabad. The event held at Auditorium of Pakistan National Council of Arts was attended by about 500 people from all walks of life including representatives of disabled peoples organizations, development sector, government, universities and media.
A declaration calling for the ratification of United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) was endorsed at the National Leadership Conference for Persons with Disabilities. Held at the National Institute for Special Education (NISE) from 12-14 Aug 2009, the conference was organized by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in partnership with Telenor Pakistan’s flagship corporate initiative “Khuddar Pakistan.”
The conference witnessed an unprecedented attendance of 50 Disabled Persons Organizations, key leaders from the disability rights movement, state officials, disability advisors, volunteers as well as Telenor Pakistan management.
Making the MDGs Inclusive: Empowerment of persons with disabilities and their communities around the world.
This article is an attempt to outline the significance of collaboration of among stakeholders to achieve an inclusive society, which is not achievable without strapping integration of internationals instruments for human development such as Millennium Development Goals and United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The trajectory of efforts of Disabled Peoples’ Organizations at state and international level has proved that MDGs can be achieved if persons with disabilities are included in development initiatives. This year on International Day of Persons with Disabilities all stakeholders need to join hands for making MDGs inclusive.