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Brick by brick: Differently-abled children’s future hangs by a thread

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: Rehman Khan sits on a stone in the middle of the school ground, gazing in hope at a structure that could change the destiny of his children. On his right, some children with disabilities are learning ways to lead a life without being dependent on others.

On the left is the under-construction building, which, after completion, will accommodate more of children. His thoughts go back to his own house where three of his four children suffer from physical disabilities which have taken their toll on the family
as a whole.

He and his wife are unable to look after them properly at their home. “I can’t understand why this has happened to my kids. It’s like we are dying with each passing moment,” Rehman tells The Express Tribune.

The under construction building is a ray of hope for the likes of Rehman. It is being constructed by a nongovernment organisation which is certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP). With trained professional staff, the organisation hopes to provide therapy and other programmes for differently-abled children, but a lack of funds is a major hurdle in the path of this goal.

“I wish this building completes overnight,” says the man whose hopes hang on the completion of the structure as it will be the only learning place for special kids in G-B.

It is believed that children with disabilities number in their thousands in G-B. However, few people discuss these matters as being differently-abled is still considered a taboo in society.

More than 20 differently-abled children enrolled in this school are orphan. However, the programmes is in desperate need of expansion as more people approach the organisation.

“We have started the building, but the lack of financial support is hindering the progress of work,” says project incharge Ghulam Abbas.

“We appeal to philanthropists to come forward and help us with the cause,” Abbas says. He adds the cost of the structure is estimated at over Rs23 million. “The donations will be utilised with utmost care for which we have a transparent audit system in place.”

The double-storey building will comprise six rooms and as many washrooms. It will have the facilities required to help those with disabilities.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2016.

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