Karachi Symposium on SRHR and Disability

Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority


Visionary Foundation Pakistan in collaboration with RutgersWPF organized 1st Karachi Symposium on SRHR and Disability here in Karachi.

More than 20 organizations working on disability was part of the Symposium with their heads and members.

Over one billion people, or approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population, live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities, “the world’s largest minority”, often face barriers to participation in all aspects of society.

Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination. The result is that persons with disabilities do not have equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice.

The development sector of Pakistan has shifted its focus to youth development, especially considering the fact that it comprises of the 64% of the total Pakistani population.

Despite the fact that many programs are being designed and implemented for the capacity development and income generation of youth, so far not much has been done for the development of youth with special needs.

Presently, majority of the vulnerable youth with special needs tends to withdraw from the society, hiding its talents and potential, while the ratio of the determined few who take up the challenge against all odds and excel in their respective fields is very small.

Mr. Rashid Khan, CEO of Visionary Foundation Said, “During the last few years, the international community increasingly recognized the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Although Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) are one of the focus points, there is still little attention given to people with disabilities in this area.”

[pull_quote_center]Now this is the time we must put one step forward to discuss Disability…Mr. Rashid Khan, CEO Visionary Foundation Pakistan.[/pull_quote_center]

“According to the ’World Report on Disability’ released by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in June this year, around 15% of the world’s population has a disability. This means that the sexual and reproductive health and rights of a large part of the world’s population are being neglected. This is even more pronounced in developing countries, where around 80% of the world’s population is living.”

Mr. Qadeer Baig, Country Representative Rutges WPF Said“Marriage, building a family, and access to information about SRHR are less self-evident for persons with disabilities than for their non-disabled peers. People with disabilities are more often the victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Informed consent for treatments such as sterilisation and abortion is often denied to persons with disabilities. People with an intellectual disability are at higher risk of becoming victims of unauthorized proceedings.”

Ms. Sundus Ahson, Focal Person ASK, VFP gives presentation on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, she ended her presentation on “Sexual Rights are the Human Rights.”.

Ms. Kishwer Zehra, Member National Assembly, from MQM said, is her speech” There are many challenges for Pakistan to create equal rights and access to sexual and reproductive health for all. Often, legislation and policy at the national level insufficiently protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Research is essential for increasing public understanding about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for people with disabilities. This topic needs urgent attention.”

Dr. Shahida Sajjad, Dean Faculty of Education, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Mr. Noor ud Din Kaka Bhawani, President Awareness Pakistan, Mr. Zeeshan Siddiqiui, Executive Director, Markaz-e-Umeed, and Mr. Richard Geary, Executive Director, FESF shared their expert opinion.

The Symposium caters all 4 major disabilities Visually Impaired, Hearing Impairments, Physical and Mental Impairment; more than 50 people participated from all major disabilities.

About the Organization:

Visionary Foundation Pakistan is a youth lead registered organization working with a vision to develop youth and disable – friendly environment through awareness, services, training & capacity building. Educate and aware society on physical, mental, psychological and social issues, availing their basic rights, move for social development, Increase literacy rate through learning environment and ensure meaningful youth participation.


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