Islamabad – December 1, 2016: American Ambassador David Hale met with approximately 25 Pakistani disability rights advocates to discuss the achievements of individuals with disabilities in Pakistan, America, and elsewhere around the world. The group also discussed how to address challenges that individuals with disabilities still face in society today, such as difficulty accessing mainstream education and health services.
“At the State Department, led by our Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith Heumann, we campaign to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with disabilities,” said Ambassador Hale. “Earlier this year in conjunction with the Paralympics, we started a campaign called ‘Without Limits.’ This campaign focuses on ensuring that persons with disabilities are employed on an equal basis with others.”
The American Embassy recently concluded a one-year $375,000 program, managed by the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), to support Pakistani women with disabilities. Through this program, STEP organized more than 90 training sessions, TV talk show discussions, and provincial workshops to increase public and Pakistani government awareness about the rights of women with disabilities and to provide livelihood training for women with disabilities.
“While we observe and celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we also need to commit ourselves to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which can create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities,” said STEP President Atif Sheikh.
Now, the American Embassy, Mobility International, and STEP are beginning collaboration on a new program to empower Pakistanis with disabilities and their allies. The American Embassy also supports the rights of individuals with disabilities through exchange programs and other activities, such as the International Visitor Leadership Program. For more details about the American Embassy’s work in Pakistan, please visit https://pk.usembassy.gov.