KARACHI, Oct 15: Various programmes were organized on Tuesday by different organizations in the city to observe White Cane Safety Day, which is commemorated all over the world on Oct 15.

The day began with a walk early in the morning, when hundreds of visually impaired students of the Ida Rieu School for the Deaf and Blind — accompanied by their deaf colleagues and supporters — started the walk from their institute at Purani Numaish.

The participants, after walking through M.A. Jinnah Road and Sharea Quaideen, came to the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah where they laid a wreath on the mazaar and offered fateha.

A day-long programme comprising of segments of entertainment and competitions in different fields — including debate, poems, national songs, quizes etc — was organized at the Ida Rieu.

Ameenat secured the first prize in the debate competition, Hummna stood first in the competition of reciting poems, while Ikram was judged the winner in the national songs competition. Ameenat was also given a special prize in the national songs competition.

A function was also organized in connection with White Cane Safety Day for handicapped children by artist and social worker Jimmy Engineer at a local five star hotel.

Jimmy urged philanthropists and the government to solve the issues being faced by handicapped people on a priority basis.

He said that in western countries, handicapped people were given many extra benefits and facilities so that their lives could be made easier, while here, they were not even being given what was their due right.

He said that if everybody extended whatever help they could to the handicapped people and the organizations that were serving the disabled, the lives of these people could become much easier.

Fawzia Siddiqui of the Sada Welfare Foundation distributed goody bags comprising toffees and biscuits to the handicapped.

Over 100 handicapped children from Madawa Welfare Society, Prewa, Hope and Faith, Darul Sukoon, Burhani Blood Bank, Acelp, Al-Umeed and Ida Rieu were entertained for over a couple of hours.

The children enjoyed national and folk songs sung by other handicapped children, who were led by stage and television artist Farzana Naz.

GRIEVANCES: The Karachi Association for the Welfare of Special Persons has alleged that physically normal persons and “opportunists” were depriving physically handicapped and special persons of their just rights of employment, especially on the two per cent quota reserved for them in government institutions, adds PPI.

Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, general secretary of the association, Zubair Ahmed Siddiqui deplored that not a single political or religious party contesting the recent general elections mentioned any privilege for physically handicapped or special persons.

“Political parties did not even mention the rights of special persons in their manifestos” he accused, but expressed hope that the next democratic government would safeguard the interests of the physically handicapped population of the country.

He said that although the government had fixed a two per cent quota for special persons for jobs in government institutions and despite repeated clarifications by the federal and provincial governments, special persons were being denied their due rights of employment.

“When a physically handicapped or blind person applies for (a) job in any government institution, he is refused on grounds that a ban is clamped on fresh jobs”, he said, and appealed to President Musharraf for intervention.

He also regretted the presence of only one government-run training school for the blind and other disabled persons and urged the city government to establish more such institutions.