ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday stressed the need for an inclusive and well-equipped society to accommodate people with physical and mental
challenges by offering them tailor-made employment opportunities and facilities.

Addressing at an event titled ‘Sharing compassion with special persons’ here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President said the criteria to judge a great nation was not its financial strength, but the spirit to absorb its ‘people with slow pace’.

The event was organized by Akhuwat, a micro-finance organization that provides interest-free loans to the economically marginalized sections of society including disabled persons.

Terming special persons a ‘symbol of hope and courage’, President Alvi emphasized on formulating policies at government level to make them a productive segment of society.

He mentioned that allocating job quota in jobs for disabled people, ensuring access to public places through ramps and other specialized services could bring an ease in their lives.

He stressed that people with disabilities should be given education at regular schools instead of special-needs institutions so that society could get sensitized about their problems and requirements.

The President pointed out that insufficient reporting of disabled persons in national census was yet another reason for unavailability of accurate data.

President Alvi said technology could be used as an effective tool to facilitate and assist special persons in their everyday life.

He said Pakistani nation had immense passion of caring for needy people and recalled its generosity in difficult times including the post-2005 massive earthquake by giving support to affected persons.

He mentioned that Pakistan hosted millions of Afghan refugees for four decades, which he said was a glowing example of humanitarian gesture.

The President lauded the contribution of Akhuwat for providing support to the less privileged people and sharing the burden of the government through its multiple initiatives.

Executive Director Akhuwat Dr Amjad Saqib said starting 18 years ago with loan giving of a few thousand rupees, his organization had become a strong support for needy people who wanted to earn livelihood without compromising their dignity.

He said Akhuwat was based on the concept of brotherhood of the people of Madinah centuries ago who proved themselves as an icon of sacrifice.

He mentioned that with 99.9 percent return ratio of interest-free loans, the Akhuwat initiative was bringing happiness to deserving people through the loans currently touching Rs100 billion.

The President gave away 25 customized wheel chairs to disabled persons, while First Lady Samina Alvi distributed gifts among the needy women and children.