Need to bring specially-abled children into mainstream: Secretary Tourism

Srinagar, Dec 4: Administrative Secretary J&K Tourism Department, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah Monday called for collective efforts to ensure that individuals facing challenges or disabilities were integrated into mainstream society.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function organised at Government College for Women MA Road Srinagar by Chotey Taarey Foundation on eve of the International Day of Disability, Shah said that merely relying on governmental efforts was not enough but it was the responsibility of society as a whole to actively come together and ensure such individuals are integrated into mainstream society.

   

“The government through the Social Welfare Department is providing support to all NGOs like Chottey Taarey foundation and other similar NGOs. But efforts should be made to create an inclusive and dignified living environment, offering opportunities for a livelihood for these people who are struggling with physical challenges,” he told reporters.

Shah said there was a need to establish an enabling ecosystem that addresses the specific needs of individuals with physical challenges.

“In my opinion, we all need to come together and work collectively towards this goal. Social action is required. These individuals do not need any charity but rather sensitivity, love, and affection. Most importantly, the entire society should treat these individuals with respect and provide them with opportunities for a dignified livelihood,” he said.

Referring to the performances of the specially-abled students Shah said that witnessing the capabilities and strength of these children gives all of us an inspiration.

“It was a highly emotional occasion where many children performed and spoke, even those who usually struggle to communicate were making an effort to express themselves,” he said.
He said the confidence with which these children were performing on stage serves as a lesson for all of us. “It teaches us that the strength and motivation to confront life’s challenges head-on come from facing the harsh realities of life,” Shah said.

He said while the support from the government sector will continue, it is crucial for society to unite and actively contribute to the well-being of these individuals.

As part of the government efforts, the J&K School Education Department (SED) has set up 44 Resource Rooms throughout Jammu and Kashmir to cater to the specially-abled students.

“The department has set up Resource Centres for these children under Samagra Shiksha and each centre has a dedicated resource teacher as well,” an official told Greater Kashmir.

The official said 4 centres each have been set up in Srinagar and Jammu district while two centres each have been set up in other districts as well.

“We conduct regular health checkups of these kids and also provide them with braille books, hearing aids and other machines. Each kid gets Rs 200 as stipend per month,” the official said.

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