Potohar Mental Health Association is leading the initiative to introduce counselling and disability services for persons with disabilities
ISLAMABAD – A dedicated disability helpline providing counseling services to persons with disabilities and their families, and connecting them with to relevant professionals, will start its operations by February 2017.
The initiative is being worked by Potohar Mental Health Association (PMHA), a non-government organization working on mental health of children, youth and adults including persons with disabilities.
“PMHA’s helpline will be the first of its kind in entire South Asia which will also provide counselling and training services” announced PMHA President Zulqurnain Asghar.
Zulqurnain outlined how people with disabilities have to face what he called “attitudinal barriers” laid down by the people around. Often, people with their acts, such as name callings, end up ostracizing the differently-abled bodies.
The point was further endorsed by Ammar Masood, CEO AAAP Communications, who asked visually impaired students to not be led by negativities; instead, he encouraged them to invest in education, which will help them get good work opportunity, resulting into an attitudinal change among the people toward the people with disabilities. He encouraged them to learning talking computers, which will help them connect with the world.
Zulqurnain touched upon physical barriers people with disabilities face, sharing how they are not catered to in major infrastructure plans all over the country.
“As of now, only two of the Metro bus stations in Islamabad-Rawalpindi have accessibility facilities for people with disabilities,” he highlted.
He called upon all governments to translate promises into action. Every year, officials make promises for providing special amenities and facilities for the people who are differently-abled but every year, these promises are not fulfilled, only to be repeated next year. Even the implementation status of various amenities or jobs offered is questionable.
On this occasion, Maliha Husain Director Mehrgarh shared that people with disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual harassment; there is thus a need to inform more and more people about informing them that sexual harassment is now a crime, which can be reported to the relevant authorities.
Farrah Naz Country Representative Country Office Pakistan CBM International graced the event as Chief Guest along with other valuable guests from different walks of life.