Saaya Association organized a seminar to mark polio day on 24th October 2013 at Pak Continental Hotel Islamabad with the support CHEF International and ICCO under the umbrella of Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) Network Pakistan. The ceremony was attended by various persons with disabilities; NGO’s working on disabilities and academicians.
The ceremony was started with the recitation of Holy Quran by Mr. Hassan Ali Khan. After that Mr. Asim Zafar Secretariat Coordinator (CBID Network) gave brief introduction of Saaya Association. He emphasized the importance of polio day for polio awareness and eradication. He was followed by Mr. Imran Nazir, Country Representative LCDD who presented an overview of polio and educated the participants on the dynamics of polio and related disabilities. He explained how polio damage can be minimized if effective measures are taken timely. Ms. Saima Aslam, Director Project PCAS briefed about the essential of Personal Care Attendant Service for severely disabled people so as to make them a part of the mainstream society. A documentary to illustrate the concept of attendentship was also played for the audience.
Ms. Abia, President National Forum for Women with Disability elucidated upon the need for fighting the menace of polio through international coordination. Mr. Atif Sheikh Deputy international coordinator CBID stressed upon the need for polio awareness at grass-root level. Mr. Sohail khan CEO CHEF International acknowledged the efforts of disability NGO’s and emphasized that commitment for polio eradication must be made not only at organizational but individual level. Mr. Faisal Nadeem Project Director Saaya Association explained how the masses in Pakistan are depriving their children of the right to polio vaccination merely on the basis of heresy. He urged the various segments of the society to stop following rumors and secure a healthy, independent life for their future generations. Mr. Nadeem, also member Sayya shared his experience on attendant care. He avails the attendant facility being provided by Saaya. He explained how confident and complete he felt after availing this service.
Mr. Nizamani, International Coordinator, also a polio affected, narrated his tale of survival from a ruthless polio attack. He explained how he received education through the services of an attendant who carried him on shoulder to school for years. He urged the masses to open up and stop receiving polio vaccination as any conspiracy if the future of this country is to be protected. Dr. Sajida from Fatima Jinnah Women University emphasized the role of academia in spreading awareness about polio. She also stressed the need for utilizing the potential of youth for the purpose. Ms Waheeda Memon, a social sciences instructor at szabist shared her experience of working with disability organizations. She elucidated how her students have worked with persons with disability for many years. She also assured of any future support in her humble capacity.
In the last Mr. Asim Zafar thanked to the donors, supporters for their contribution. He also thanked to the Saaya team for their commitment, dedication and support. The event was concluded by distribution of two wheelchairs for victims of spinal cord injury.