The Middle East working for people with disabilities will also attend the conference.
World Social Forum-2006 (24-29, March) Karachi
Disability News May 2006 - April 2006
How Motability helps disabled people become mobile   6 Feb 2006
New Support For Disabled Research Students
Smoking and sight loss

How Motability helps disabled people become mobile
A new information leaflet, aimed at health professionals, is proving useful in keeping people up-to-date about the help that is available for disabled people and their families.

Set up in 1978, Motability has helped literally millions of people to use their government-funded mobility allowances to have a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter.  The leaflet aims to provide practical information on helping disabled people become mobile, and covers:

  • Standard production cars, wheelchairs and scooters

  • The types of adaptations and controls available

  • Loading wheelchairs into a car

  • Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

  • Financial Assistance.

Motability's Director, Don Brereton CB, said: "These leaflets are available free of charge for all health professionals to use when helping and advising clients.  Over 420,000 disabled people currently use the Motability Schemes. Nevertheless, some 1.2 million other disabled people are eligible to join but haven't taken advantage of doing so. We want to be as sure as we can that it is not simply because they are unaware of the benefits of the Scheme. We hope that this leaflet will enable health professionals to help us reach those who are eligible and could benefit from the Motability Scheme."

Motability has a range of literature available to use when advising disabled people or for passing directly onto the disabled person, or their family.  To order copies of this new leaflet or any other Motability literature.

 New Support For Disabled Research Students

A team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne has developed the world's first web-based resource aimed at supporting disabled research students through their courses.

The resource was developed after research by the University found that many disabled postgraduate research students faced barriers which hindered progress and dampened confidence.

The research also showed that supervisors and institutional staff could readily help remove or lessen the barriers, by putting more thought into tailoring the research environment and their working practices to meet the requirements of these students.

These findings led to the development of a world-first web-based resource specifically aimed at those who work with disabled postgraduate research students. It will be launched on September 8 at the British Academy in London and has the potential to be used by higher education institutions around the world.

Smoking and sight loss

Summary: New research proves the link between smoking and age-related macular degeneration.

The facts about smoking and AMD

13 million smokers in the UK are doubling their chances of sight loss in later life according to definitive new research published on RNIB Eye Test Action Day (7 September 2005).

The link between smoking and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is now as strong as the link between smoking and lung cancer, yet few people are aware of the link or even of AMD.

AMD is the UKís leading cause of sight loss. Around 500,000 people in the UK have AMD and an estimated 54,000 people have the condition as a result of smoking.

A new report published by AMD Alliance UK, reveals that only seven per cent of people know that AMD affects the eyes but that seven out of ten smokers would either stop smoking permanently or cut down if they thought it could harm their eyesight.

The benefits of quitting smoking are very real. Studies have shown that people who stopped smoking 20 years ago have a similar risk of developing AMD as non-smokers, and that the risk starts to decrease after ten years of not smoking.

Disability News

1) Good Practices to Combat Social Exclusion of People with Mental Health Problems

The first phase of the project consists in the analysis of the current situation of social exclusion of people with mental health problems in the involved countries, in access to health and social services, employment, education, training services, transportation, leisure as well as the protection of civil and human rights. To this end, the ten partner organizations involved are currently in the process of contacting various stakeholders such as representatives from the governmental, non-profit/NGO and private sectors. Together with the stakeholders the partner organisations will first, analyze the current situation of social exclusion and, in the next step, identify good practices combating the social exclusion of people with mental health problems based on defined quality criteria.

A European Advisory Committee has moreover been established, consisting of members of European Networks active in various different areas such as mental health, poverty, ageing, disability, homelessness and other social issues. The Committee will help the partner organizations and MHE to identify and evaluate good practices as well as to disseminate information about the project and its outcomes. A first meeting of the European Advisory Committee is planned for May 2006 in Brussels (to be confirmed). The second partners meeting will take place 10-11 March 2006 in Paris.

2) Consultation on the Green Paper on Mental Health

MHE launched the consultation on the Green Paper on Mental Health "Improving the mental health of the population: towards a strategy on mental health for the European Union" already early December.

Not only MHE's member organisations received an invitation to comment on this Green Paper, but also all stakeholders in the mental health field and representatives of civil society. On the basis of the outcomes of the consultation process, the European Commission will prepare a proposal for a EU strategy on mental health, which would be presented by the end of 2006. You will appreciate that this consultation process is of utmost importance and a golden opportunity for all of us. As many organisations and individuals as possible (including the public at large) should be encouraged to have their say and to comment on this Green Paper.

Please consult your membership, your contacts, your friends and colleagues, and send your findings to your national, regional and local governments as well as to the European Commission, BUT ALSO TO MENTAL HEALTH EUROPE! The Green Paper has been translated in the 20 languages of the European Union, so you have no valid excuse not to participate in the consultation process! You can find these 20 texts at the following link. Background information has been prepared by MHE in 3 languages: English, French and German. Deadline for the European Commission is
31 May 2006.
We look forward to hearing from you by
15 April 2006 at the latest. This gives us 6 weeks time to collate the reactions we will receive. Source: Mental Health Europe

3) WHO Photo Contest "Images of Health and Disability 2005/2006"

Main theme: "Children and Youth" with a special invitation to young photographers Special Prize: Health and Disability at work

After the successful launch of the WHO Photo Contest in 2002 in conjunction with the release of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the World Health Organization invites photographers around the world to participate in the international photo contest - Images of Health and Disability 2005/2006.

The photographers are incited to photograph the notions of health and disability in a variety of ways:

  • Showing how people and in particular children and youth live with a disease, injury or health condition

  • Showing these themes from different perspectives, such as the body, person or societal perspectives

  • Capturing health and disability in the working environment

  • Illustrating key conceptual features: what is health? Can we measure health? Disability as universal human experience, which cuts across mental and physical conditions.

Exclusive call for young photographers: this year children and youth are invited to send us their photos on health and disability. We strongly encourage you to give your creativity free rein. Further information on Health and Disability and the display of awarded photos from the last years photo contest can be given found on the ICF website. The closing date for entries is 31. March 2006.

4) UN Ad Hoc Committee 7th session

Seventh Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities 16 January - 3 February 2006 The United Nations Ad Hoc Committee drafting the first-ever convention on the rights of persons with disabilities met from 16 January to 3 February 2006 at United Nations Headquarters (Conference Room 4) for a second full reading of the draft treaty.


Rights of Person with Disabilities

Event held on 27th March, 2006

At  D-103

World Social Forum-2006 (24-29, March) Karachi

At KMC Complex, Kashmir Road Karachi


By Ghulam Nabi Nizamani


Before organizing an event in World Social Forum (WSF), organizations of Person With Disabilities (PWDs) contacted organizing committee (OC) to register an event on disability issue because in 500 events covering all segments and issues of life except disability issue. However, they failed to achieve any result from WSF organizing committee. At the eve of opening ceremony, some PWDs put black strips on their arms, during the ceremony they chanted slogan ďRight of PWDs IgnoredĒ They also blossomed black strips and shouted for their right of inclusion in WSF. After the opening ceremony, PWDs threatened for hunger strike through out WSF events. Some organizers contacted with PWDs, Mr.Barkat told them if PWDs can arrange an event, WSF OC will provide space. The Mr.Aijaz event organizer contacted with PWDs, he told them disability issue was on their agenda and some organizations from Islamabad and Lahore contacted with them to register an event on disability issue but those organizations failed to register any event. Then PWDs from south contacted with us but disability issue not included by mistake, WSF OC not deleted this issue deliberately. He informed PWDS that OC will provide space for the event and other facilities to PWDs complimentary as they exempted individual registration fees for PWDs and he confirmed venue at D-103 from 6:00-9:00 pm on Monday 27 March 2006.

On given date and time PWDs from 18 Organizations of cross disabilities gathered on the gate of KMC Complex. When participants of WSF saw a huge quantity of PWDs, they attracted to wards them. Including with many people Mr.Yaseen Malik (one of the fame of WSF) prominent leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) from Indian held Kashmir including with him Indian Members of parliament also joined with PWDs. PWDs staged a rally from gate of KMC Complex to venue of the event (D-103).

Event started with recitation of holy Quran, and Naaet Rasool Maqbool then Father Mohan (Christian religious leader) prayed. Mentally challenged children presented welcome songs. Ms Ester Jane told on behalf of WWDs that we always discriminated by saying disabled women, if we may be think as women only that will be better for us. She said Major problems of Women With Disabilities (WWDs) are education and Empowerment. At public places, there is no accessible bathroom. If a WWD may be empowered or educated she can play a productive role in the community. Brother Yunus spoke on behalf of mentally challenged persons. Brother Yunus spent his 25 years working for MR children. He said it is a common attitude towards MR people that they canít do any job but here you seen how they performed very well! If these people may be trained properly and given opportunities they can be useful citizens. In any family there may be any member with disability exists, people avoid to marry normal member of that family because of fear that may future generation become with a disability. Because of these attitudes parents hide child with disability or family members hide PWD. Mr. Javed Raees spoke about the importance of mobility of PWDs, he said that we PWDs face discrimination in Public or private transport at large. If we may be provided facility for our own to mobilize, our lives will be easy. He gave his own example before his motor tri-cycle, he always waits and waits for transport but now he has his own mobility source so he always enjoy with his family and friends with him to ride on his motor tri-cycle. He said after permission in Central Superior Services  (CSS) competitive examinations, a PWD obtained 3rd position on Pakistan level. It proves that PWDs are talented but discriminated by government not providing them equal opportunities. He emphasized that deaf community may also be provided driving license as the may be mobile as well. He said transporter may be educated to respect white cane. Mr. Lal Muhammad Balouch spoke on behalf of the PWDs of rural areas. He told that in rural areas people donít know about the needs of PWDs. He gave example that if any PWD wants to study and face trouble because of handicapping environment people say him, why are you studying? What will you do after completion of your education and studies? No need for you being a PWD to be educated and getting trouble. Silently sit at home and enjoy we are for you donít worry we will help you. People of rural areas must be educated for understanding needs of PWDs. He further told that because of inaccessible environment PWDs of rural areas always face difficulties and people with sever disabilities die in their homes. Mr. Siraj Gaya spoke on behalf of visual impair persons, he told VI people have a big problem of transportation, as they canít drive themselves so the depend on public or private transport and attitude of transporters is worst to wards PWDs. He gave his own example that in the early age he was not Visual Impaired but after fifteen years of his early age he became totally blind but he not gave up completed his education in Braille and got job in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) He said we need opportunities, we can prove our abilities. If some one says us how will you do some job? I reply that we can see with our inner eyes we can do each that job which so-called normal people can do. Here sighted people are behaving like blind. Mr. Naeem Ansari spoke on behalf of PWDs living in urban areas. He told that he was not born with disability, he was living a normal life but after an accident, his both legs lost. Therefore, disability can come on any time or stage of life. He gave two examples In negative example he told for marketing of estanara magazine, he went in an office the executive of that office was retired colonel. When he entered in that office (Retd:) Colonel said who allowed the PWD in my office? It told him that I am not a bagger but I am a marketing manager so please behave properly. In other case when he visited the office of a retired Brigadier, the executive stand up on his chair, welcomed and said I salute you because in such a condition you not gave up and working like a normal person. Mr. Jaffer Shah spoke about importance of agitation of PWDs. He told that I am a spinal cord injured and Doctor told me that you can walk with in two weeks but I always tell them that I donít want to walk. I want to live in my wheelchair and work for PWDs. He said, he is a government officer in local government but he always agitates against the Government for the rights of PWDs. He said if your rights may not be given then snatch your rights. Mr. Yaseen Gujjar advocate with disability spoke about legal ways to achieve the rights of PWDs.  He told that there is no law for PWDs in Pakistan so we face a lot of difficulties and discrimination to achieve the rights of PWDs through a court of law. Mr. Azeem spoke on behalf of Person with sever Disabilities that people always neglect person with sever disabilities and they think that we are burden on the society. He gave his example that he is also a person with sever disability by birth but he completed his matriculation examination and working too, earning some for my family and studying further. He said I am thankful of Mr. Mobin and Ghulam Nabi Nizamani they provided me electric wheelchair that ease my life. He said if person with sever disabilities may be provided proper assistive devices they can prove their abilities. Ghulam Nabi intervened and told that this chair for Azeem was from DPI regional office. Mr. Benjamin Pascal spoke about rights of minorities with disabilities. He told that in Pakistan two major minorities are living, Hindus in Sindh province and Christian in Punjab province. Always member elected on minorities seats but they donít think about minorities with disabilities. Most of minority people in Pakistan are living below the poverty line so there is a large number of PWDs available in minorities. Even Churches and Hindu panchayet committees are silent on the rights of minority PWDs. Mr. Mobin spoke on behalf of person with Physical disabilities. He told that we always give our problems but donít give solutions. He said we must give solutions as people may react positively. We have rights but same time we have responsibilities. Let us see are we fulfilling out responsibilities. Our first priority should be unity in our ranks. You people saw unity of PWDs of south now we are a part of WSF. Mr. Ghulam Nabi Nizamani who was also Master of Ceremony told that we are thankful to WSF organizing committee they allowed us to hold such a wonderful event. He said we proved that we are capable and in a very short time, we PWDs conducted such a successful event. He congratulated all PWDs of south who worked hard to include disability issue in WSF. He again thanked OC of WSF as they exempted individual registration fee of PWDs. He said OC WSF taken such steps later rather then never. During the program on one stage, he said I just received SMS from deaf people the are stopped at gate of KMC Complex by security guards as they were late and not be allowed to get in the WSF events. Organizer went on the gate and brought deaf people in. But it was too late for them to present their presentation for the rights of deaf community, which they prepared on power point. Father Pascal said that I heard that in a very short time, PWDs organized a good event but I protest organizers of WSF that they have given venue to these wonderful people at an invisible and non-accessible place. PWDs are discriminated again among the mainstream civil societies. In the end a color full cultural program organized by PWDs with music, songs and drama from deaf people. This event remains in focus of other WSF participants. Many people congratulated PWDs of organizing an event in a sort time. Mr. Sheikh Majeed, Labor Unions leader said that all other events are closed, I have been there, all people were talking about the event of PWDs. Program ended at 11:30 P.M.


These recommendations were given and resulation passed by the participants that.

1)      Government must introduce and implement a law for PWDs like American Disability Act (ADA) and Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

2)      Government must implement National Action plan for PWDs.

3)      Government must change discriminatory policies which affect rights of PWDs.

4)      Government may nominate a representative, PWD will be preferable  for UN Convention rights of PWDs draft committee. Government may support and sign on the UN Convention for rights of PWDs.

5)      WSF must include disability issues in their future agenda.

6)      WSF include PWDs in their chapters and organizing committees.

7)      WSF must ensure accessible environment for all person with cross disabilities in their up coming events.

8)      All member organizations of WSF must mainstream PWDs organization in their activities.

On 29th March 2006, closing ceremony held. OC WSF respected PWDs in well manners. During the ceremony on demand of PWDs, Mr. Benjamin representative of PWDs allowed to speak on behalf of community with disability. During the songs, PWDs appeared on the stage and danced with other people. This effort was appreciated by all delegates of WSF-2006 with warm clapping. Electronic and print media gave full coverage to PWDs. Next day pictures of PWDs were published on the front pages of largest selling newspapers. Following link is one of the examples of that news.

The Middle East working for people with disabilities will also attend the conference.
Another Int'l event will be held in Arab World. Some 175 experts from across the world, associated with people with disabilities shall attend the first international forum on disability to be held at the new premises of the Shafallah Center on May 8 and May 9.

Cherie Blair, the wife of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair will deliver the key-noted address at the opening session of the conference on May 8.

This the first of the annual international conference on the disabled in Doha to be hosted by the Shafallah Center,  head of the organising committee is Dr Khalid bin Jabor Al Thani.

The conference will feature four panel discussions and three sub sessions, focusing on most relevant topics related with people with disabilities.

The topics include the study of genetics and its contribution to the care of children with disabilities, inclusive education, interactive approach and the role of therapies, the role of parent, family and the community, role of media in promoting the cause of the disabled and "ability rather than disability."

A host of experts and volunteers from the Middle East working for people with disabilities will also attend the conference.

Best Regards

Ghulam Nabi Nizamani