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Public Buildings are not Friendly for Persons with Disabilities

sannaijazEnding violence against women/gender alliance Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally administered tribal area (EVAW/G Alliance KP Fata) in collaboration with Shirkat Gah, UN Women and Social work department organized Award distribution ceremony and panel discussion for those human rights defenders who are contributing in their respective fields to end violence against all genders and groups. In those winners we had two females who are person with disabilities. Syeda Shabnum who wrote two books on women issues (Prose and Poetry) and Ms Afshan Afridi who is working for the rights of person with disabilities. Two of these women didn’t attend this event. Now the question raises what were the reasons behind their absence? The arrangements were good, high profile people like Australian High commissioner Margaret Edinson and country directors of INGOs and chairperson of departments from UoP were there. Tea was good, Media personnel were there. Any guesses? OK let me tell you .Event was held in Sahibzada Abdul Qayoom Museum Hall university of Peshawar. This building is not friendly, I mean its not accessible for person with disabilities. Our buildings should be barrier-free and adapted to fulfill the needs of all people equally. As a matter of fact, the needs of the disabled coincide with the needs of the majority, and all people are at ease with them. As such, planning for the majority implies planning for people with varying abilities and disabilities.

Here I am not only talking wheelchair users but also about People with limited walking abilities, the sightless, the partially sighted and others. We sent their awards to their homes and one of these ladies Afshan Afridi said “We sometimes miss opportunities just because the lack of accessibility and limited mobility”

Syeda Shabnum Said “Few months back friends insisted to take me to the event and with their help  I attended the event and then due to injuries I was on bed for weeks”

I wish on this international human rights day we could start thinking about these persons with disabilities and can pass our reservations to decision makers that please do consider the accessibility of these people while planning building and especially those public buildings and educational institutions.

By Sanna Ejaz

The writer is a Chairperson Gandhara Center for Peace and Cultural Education. She blogs at




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