One of the greatest flaws within our community include our inability to acknowledge the rights of the disabled. Disabilities can exist in various forms, both physical and mental. It is a misconception that disabilities are only physical, but in reality, neglected conditions (e.g. Autism) are also a form of disability, as they provide hindrance to an individual when they wish to live a “normal” life. There are limited schools for the disabled, and what is most tragic is that even families refuse to support their disabled relatives and instead they tend to abandon them. This leaves them with no place to go to, and a majority of them are left homeless and unemployed. Even though these people have great ability to excel in their fields of interest, due to the discrimination they face, their talents are repressed.
Throughout history, there have been some intellectuals like Stephen Hawking and Helen Keller, who, despite their disabilities, were given the opportunities to prosper. It has been said by many that if these great minds were based in our country, their talents would have been ignored, and they would have been unable to achieve their maximum potential. In our country, there are limited resources and opportunities for the disabled. There are only 531 special schools in Pakistan and about 200 non-governmental organizations and disabled people’s organizations offering education to people with disabilities. Even if these resources were provided, people’s attitude towards the disabled is the thing that stands as the strongest barrier between them and their well-being.
In 2020, the Disability Rights Act was passed for the disabled under which it is stated that no discrimination is to be done in any institution, or place, on the basis of a person’s disability. The passing of this law is an appreciable step; however, keeping in mind our people’s prior behaviour, it can be inferred that despite legal action for the disabled, it is quite likely that the citizens will still not adhere to the law. What is most alarming is how being human, our society tends to deprive human beings of their rights. The disabled are deprived of basic rights essential for their prosperity, like the availability of medical facilities, suitable educational institutions and an appropriate place to dwell.
Many may argue that much cannot be done on an individual level, but the simplest, most essential thing that can be done is to acknowledge, respect and love the disabled. They are as incredible as anyone else can be, and hence deserve the best of all which the world has to offer. On a greater level, donating to organizations for the disabled can be done, along with spreading awareness regarding the gravity of this issue.