KABUL (Pajhwok): Despite the existence of laws safeguarding the rights of special people, little attention is paid to individuals with disabilities, who continue to be ignored in housing schemes.
Such individuals lack the ability to work or earn livelihoods because they have lost their body parts. Instead of being sympathised with, they are generally taunted and mocked.
Government officials acknowledge the problems being faced by the disabled, pledging to provide them all facilities. They say effort are underway to ameliorate their lot.
Insult & disappointment
Nangyali Noori Nizami, 19, head of the Parwan Blind Association, has memorised the Holy Quran, the provincial capital.
He lost his eyesight when a plastic mine he was playing with exploded. He was seven years old at that time, recalls Nangyalai. He is upset by slights from people and loss of eyesight. He has considered committing suicide several times.
“Generally, the blind are subject to jokes and insult by other people in the family or society
He is pained beyond description when some people call him blind and some Qari. People believe Qari is someone who is blind. Nangyalai goes to school with the help of his brother and uses the books made for the blind.
Recalling the bitter moments of life, he said: “One day, when I entered home, my uncle angrily told me I have nothing to do with school. Instead I should sit in a corner of mosque and recite the Holy Quran. You are moving too much here and there.”
In a palpably disappointed tone, Nangyalai says he could never forget the exam day when one of his teachers said: “Nangyali has become a headache for us.”
But the young man does not weak or incapacitated. He established the Blind Association in Parwan four months back. Nangyali, with the help of an NGO called Sarf, managed to learn computer programming. He works at Dunya Radio where he conducts Kahkashan and Qandeel-i-Marifat programmes.
In Parwan, he said, around 300 blind people have been registered. Of them, 120 including seven women have got membership of the association.
Nooria Nabizada, 20, lost her eyesight when she was four. She complained against the wrong attitude of people and said: “I have bad memories of insult and disgrace. I am disappointed with jobs given to the blind.”
A student of 12th class, Nooria said during her school days, classmates teased her a lot. But now she has become used to the behaviour.
Qari Abdul Hameed, 23, a resident of Qalacha area, said he lost his eyesight as a result of a bomb blast in 2003.
Wakeel Ahmad Sohail, head of the Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled Department, confirmed some people insult the blind. For addressing their problems, meetings are held with people to spread awareness regarding the importance of behaving well with the blind and this drive may be expanded.
None-implementation of law
Abdul Zahoor, 51, and Hafiz Kalamullah Majid, residents of Charikar, were blinded as a result of a blast in their childhood. They often visit the Education
“I have 40 students and want to admit them to the central Darul Haffaz. I want to be appointed as their teacher but the Education Department is not ready to accept this,” he complains. they demanded the certificate of 12th class.
Qari Mumtaz Ahmadi, 22, hailing from Syedkhel district, was born blind. He says the Education Department has awarded him the 12th class certificate but he is still unable to find a job.
“During the current year, I appeared in an examination for the position of teacher. Having no recommendation, I was unable to get appointed as teacher,” he comments.
But Nizamuddin Rahimi, administrative head of the Education Department, denied corruption in appointments and examinations of teachers.
The blind individuals, who want to be appointed as teachers of Quran, should have 12th class certificates. He adds currently 10 blind individuals are teaching in seminaries and Darul Haffaz.
Earlier, the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) said teacher posts were up for grabs and there was massive corruption in the department.
Article 22 of the Disabled Rights and Privileges Law says the government is bound to consider a three percent quota in appointments for the disabled in different organs, including ministries and departments.
Sohail, however, claims less than 50 percent of government employees in Parwan were disabled. All government institutions have been told to consider Article 22 of the Disabled Rights Law.
Lack of facilities
According to Article 25 of the Law on Rights and Privileges of the disabled, ministries and government departments have to provide facilities for them while constructing buildings, recreational areas, grounds and transport routes.
However, the Parwan blind say that the article has not been implemented. Qari Mehrab Shah Omar, a person with sight disability, tis assisted by one of his students when going to the office of the Parwan Blind Association on the third storey of the municipality building.
“My foot twice hit by the stairs of the municipality building, no any of our rights are given to us, no any buildings have the facilities for people with disabilities particularly for the blinds,” he said.
The 19 years old, who lost his vision during a surgery when he was four, is disappointed with the government’s failure to enforce laws protecting people with disabilities. Nangyali has visited many government organs to earn the visionless people their rights. But he faced problems while getting to the top floors of buildings.
He has fallen several times in stairs. One of his hands was once broken. Ironically, the department of labor and social affairs lacks facilities for the disabled people.
The labor and social affairs director says facilities for the disabled do not exist in the department’s building. However, a proper building for the department would be constructed next year.
Khwaja Roohullah, Charikar mayor, confirms many government buildings lacked facilities for the disabled. However, he adds the municipality building contains those facilities. Around 10 government buildings, which are under construction, will also have such facilities.
Emphasis on help
Islam stresses the need for helping the disabled. Harassing them runs against Islamic teachings. Abdul Samay Sadaqat, a scholar, says one earns God’s pleasure by resolving problems of the blind.
The public and the authorities concerned should pay more attention to the rights of the disabled, he adds.
Ahmad Zia Langari, a member of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), has fought legal battles for the rights of the disabled by holding meetings and publishing reports about the situation of the special people.
The director of labor and social affairs says he has held many meetings with officials, people, students and government and non-governmental organisations on how to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities.
According to a Pajhwok Afghan News %AF”report, the rights of people with disabilities are violated in other provinces of the country as well. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) puts the number of blind people in the country at 500,000.