Stories about disabled

Braille phones: Helping the blind connect with the world

It’s sad that even with the leaps and bounds mankind has made in technology, there are no special offerings for the disabled or the visually impaired. However, with the launch of a new phone by a British company called ‘OwnFone’, their dilemma with technology is finally over. This new cell phone uses a braille board and finger pads to communicate efficiently and  also includes the option of adding raised text so anyone, who can’t read braille, can still make a call.  Moreover, this wonder phone includes many common apps such as messaging and email services while some sets even have the option to play ...

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Facing disabilities: Until we do something about it, no one will

Having a disability does not necessarily make you worse off; it simply means you have to do things differently. However, it is sad to say, our society is plagued with ignorance when it comes to meeting the needs of mentally or physically challenged people. A blind eye is turned towards the needs of these people and because of this ignorance we do not realise the fact that most of the public places lack the basic necessities, such as ramps, integral for the physically challenged. Apart from this, very few schools exist for children with developmental delays. In a social setup like this, it is ...

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Hopeful: The story of my adopted disabled dog

The first time I saw Hopeful I was shocked. Could anything look so pitiful? I was expecting a healthy dog that just couldn’t use his hind legs but what I got was a bag of bones with a protruding vertebra and red raw bedsores where the bone was visible at places. He was encrusted with months, perhaps years of faeces and smelled like a whole coop of hens. What really got to me was the thick rusted chain that was looped around his neck. For God’s sake the dog couldn’t even drag himself a foot away and here they ...

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Photojournalist Farrukh: A true inspiration!

I first met Farrukh when I was speaking at the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) event in Karachi. I saw him sitting there on his motorised chair smiling and listening attentively. As soon as I was done speaking, I stepped down from the podium and went straight over to him to sit down and talk. Farrukh is an inspirational human being because he has not allowed his physical disability to slow him down. Below his neck, he only has command over one hand, with the rest of his body paralysed. However, he is a photojournalist who just had his first exhibition this year. Farrukh’s family ...

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My experience at the not-so-swift NADRA offices

“What’s so special about this special Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC)?” I asked. The man wearing the volunteer card replied, “It will give you small privileges over the rest of the people.” “Such as?” I asked, curious. “You won’t have to wait in any long lines, for instance, and all of your work will be done on fast track.” Having visited a National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office once before, I had learned not to trust any claim of this agency. But this was not any Nadra office — it was a camp organised by an NGO at a local university in Karachi for ...

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I am blind, not disgusting

His name was Hamza and he wasn’t born blind. He was the only son amongst five daughters and was not very well off. A cricket ball plunged to the back of his neck took away his eyesight but was not able to take away his desire to learn. He had a beautifully haunting yet a wise way of looking at the world and accepting it. I was assigned as his teacher during an internship at the Ida Rieu School for Deaf and Blind in my final year of undergraduate school. He was placed in the special class, where students who weren’t ...

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They are differently abled, not disabled

Who among us has stopped at a red light in the inner city and not been visually assaulted by a dozen individuals with gross physical abnormalities walking, limping, crawling and rolling towards our cars? What we’re observing is not necessarily poverty, but ‘ableism’. ‘Ableism’ is a belief that only those with a certain set of physical and mental attributes may be counted as a normal part of the society. Those lacking such attributes must either hustle to fit into a non-compliant society, or remove themselves from the mainstream entirely. One of the most heart-rending sights you may come across is that of a ...

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Why Barfi made me barfy

Last week I watched India’s foreign film Oscar contender, “Barfi”. This is the story of a young man who is deaf. He lives in Darjeeling and falls in love with a girl who he can’t have. He gives up on her and falls in love with another girl who he can have, but not without the requisite twists and turns, including a murder investigation, a kidnapping, poverty, and a lot of singing and dancing.  Oh yes; the young man is deaf, the first young woman is able to hear, and the second young woman is autistic. While the movie was beautifully shot, ...

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My brother has Down’s Syndrome, not a contagious disease

Coming from a closely knit family, it was a tradition for all of us to personally go and receive any relative coming to Karachi, at the airport. My aunt was expected and all of us including my youngest brother, who is a special child, suffering from Down Syndrome, went down to receive her. On our way back from the airport, we decided to stop at a restaurant to enjoy some family time. The restaurant was jam packed with people, as it was a weekend. Mostly families from the colonies nearby were there with their kids. We led my brother to ...

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He who changed my life

I was part of the elite ─ the privileged, the damned. Yes, I was a part of those cadres of people who have dominated this country since its inception, crippling it in the nexus of nepotism and corruption. Fickle lives and distraught ambitions were what defined me in that period. Life was great or at least it felt to be so. All that changed on that fateful night. The night of March 3, 2005 changed who I was. It was around three in the night. Coming back from the usual late hangout with my friends, I stalled at the Atom Chowk, since the ...

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