Regional Leadership conference for PWDs starts
By: Yasir Ilyas
ISLAMABAD, July 31: ‘The Regional Leadership Conference for Persons with Disabilities in South Asia 2010’ was commenced in a local hotel here. The three-day conference has been organized by Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), SightSavers Pakistan and Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education in Partnership with Telenor Pakistan’s flagship corporate responsibility program ‘Khuddar Pakistan’.
Some 80 leaders of the organizations working on issues related to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) from Pakistan as well as dignitaries from Bangladesh, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and US attended the function
Chief Guest at the occasion, Vice President Corporate Affairs and Chief Strategy Officer Telenor Pakistan Aamir Ibrahim while commenting on the event said that aim of the Telenor program was to provide disabled community of Pakistan with integration and inclusion opportunities. He further said that platform like the Leadership Conference enables participants to devise ways and means to resolve the issues they face. He termed this an opportunity for the government and corporate sector to get a clear perspective on steps necessary to mainstream PWDs.
Country Director, SightSavers Pakistan, Niazullah Khan appreciated the initiative as a positive step towards inclusion of PWDs. He said, “We are extremely satisfied with how the conference has progressed from a national initiative last year, to a regional one during 2010.” He hoped that conference will achieve its desired results and will continue to grow as patent platform for PWDs.
Mr. Irfan Haider, representative of Telenor stressed the need of change in mindset with respect to the PWDs. Mr. Ali Habeeb from Standard Bank highlighted the steps taken by his bank to give opportunities to the persons with disabilities. He said that 15 disabled persons are working with Standard Chartered Bank and they are producing results even better than normal employees of the bank.
Others who spoke at the occasion were Muhammad Atif Sheikh, President STEP; Akiie Nino, Executive Director, APCD; Dong Lin Li, Country Director, ILO Pakistan; and Toshia Sapo Chief of JICA.
The conference is expected to provide various Stakeholders with an understanding of upcoming developments in the disability sector and the needs of PWDs. The conference will end on 2nd of August.