Anantnag: Javed Ahmad Tak, a specially-abled social worker who was awarded Padma Shri has a special message for disabled people: “See your abilities, not your disabilities.”
“The persons with disabilities should not wait for others but fix a goal and remain committed and honest towards their work,” Tak told Greater Kashmir over the phone from New Delhi.
He said independent living should be the prime aim with a focus on capacity building through education.
Tak, hailing from Bijbehara town and himself a specially-abled person, has been confined to the wheelchair since 1997.
He has a postgraduate degree in social work from the University of Kashmir (KU).
In the year 2000, he founded an NGO ‘Humanity Welfare Organisation Helpline’ for the welfare of the poor and disabled persons.
In 2008, Tak setup ‘Zeba Aapa Institute for Inclusive Education’.
The school, the first-of-its-kind initiative in south Kashmir, caters to specially-abled persons, particularly those with visual disabilities.
It employs special teaching methods to cater to the specially-abled children enrolled in the school.
They also use orthopedic aids to help students with orthopedic disabilities to walk without the need for support.
“It is highly important to be mentally strong to achieve your goal. Yes, we can’t do manual labour but can utilise our capabilities of mind to overcome all other challenges,” he said.
Tak said he dreams of an accessible Jammu and Kashmir and wants to see every person with a disability as a contributor and not a parasite.
“See your abilities, not your disabilities,” he said.
Tak dedicated his award to all the disabled children with whom he had been working for the past two decades and those of his school.
“These people are my strength,” he said.
Tak also dedicated his award to late activist Javed Abidi of the ‘National Disability Network of India’.
Abidi who passed away in 2018 served as the director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and was the founder of the Disability Rights Group.
DC Anantnag Piyush Singhla extended greetings to Javed on the brilliant feat.
“The recognition of his services will serve as an example and encouragement for others to do their bit towards the welfare of the weaker sections of the society,” he said.