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Person with disabilities: Burden or resource?

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20th-Apr-2018       
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Jakir Hossan :
Amzad Hossain, a third year student of University of Dhaka. He is a visually impaired person can speak well front of thousand people and engaged with various co-curricular activities in campus. He is from Comilla and had to struggle a lot to come today and still surviving with various limitations.
Managing record clips of class lecture, managing scribe to attend exams and convincing someone to assist for moving the places he require are difficulties he faces every day but still he is struggling to lead his life being in such obstacles. All these couldn’t make him stoppable; he is going and doing well.
Then Emdad Hossain Mollick (30); a differently able painter and a person with high imagination power. He has legs but no arms and can't move independently. He has numerous sketches representing natural beauties and rural life of Bengali people and surprisingly by using mouth. But all he has achieved and done through great hardships. Our society, existing social values and thinking of people living in the society do not easily let these talented resources to bloom.
Amzad and Mollick can be said as the representative of persons with disabilities (PWD) in our society. They are also called differently able persons. The way we accomplish a job they may do the same job but in a different way. Existing social culture, social values and the way people think in our society about these people are not supportive to their growth and expansion of personal skills and qualities. In most of the circumstance these people lead their life with no hope, no dignity, no respect and no care to grow.
We cannot deny our responsibilities towards them. We have moral duties towards them, true social value tends to stand beside them, our religious value inspires us to work for them and lastly as human being we have our responsibilities and ethical obligations towards these persons with disabilities.
If we see it from the social perspective, we can find a clear concept how we oblige to stand beside the persons with disabilities as brother, as sister or as friend. Our society is a bonding where we all value everyone as human being without considering his religion, race or gender.
Person with disabilities can be a Muslim, a Hindu or a Buddhist and ultimately he/she is a human being from the same source. Our social bonding teaches us that we have our societal obligation to stand besides these persons whenever they will need us. It's like a family where if someone falls in difficulties other come forwards with supportive hand.
If we see it from religious perspective, we can see some references how religion ordered us to be supportive for these persons who are surviving with physical limitations. The religion of peace; Islam also support our duties towards disable persons in society. In Hadith, The Prophet (PBUH) said that “You are given sustenance and victory for the virtue of those is weak amongst you.” He also said that Show mercy to those on earth so that “he Who in the heaven bestows mercy to you.” Now if we look from the perspective of our ethics and morality we can also find some clues how we are obliged to these persons. Whenever we see someone passing road with a stick in his/her hand wearing black glass. We just see, but how much difficult it for someone who is visually impaired not possible to feel by our heart. That is where ethics or morality kicks to get down from vehicle and force our mind to help this person to cross the road and have their directions.
On the other hand persons with disabilities who are women in gender have to face a lot more than facing by the male in nature. In our society where women with no disabilities have hundred social and family obligations which confine them in four walls of home, it is unthinkable in terms of women with disabilities how much hardships they experience. These women are considered as burden of family and no one cares for them. No one cares of what they like, what they desire to be and even they are deprived of their right from country because social unawareness.
But being in the 21st century, indeed there is no chance to term these persons as social burden. There are also some elite examples how these differently able persons are doing great by representing our country.
Recently Bangladesh Wheel Chair Cricket Team has own championship defeating out neighbor country India in bilateral three-match T20 series. The captain and leader of this cricket team Mohammad Mohsin and all other player has physical limitations but still they are differently able to play cricket and enjoying the taste of life being stuck in wheelchair. So how could you define them as burden?
We can present Ashrafun Nahar Misti who is the Executive Director of Women with Disabilities Development Foundation (WDDF). She is confined in wheelchair but visited a number of countries and doing the great job of raising awareness to remove negativities people hold in their mind about the persons with disabilities.
Time has changed and so our perception needs to be changed. No one in this society is our burden even if he/she is a person with disabilities. Our care, love and supportive hand always can bring some talented face like Mohsin and Misti who has abeled to changes our think-tank towards the persons who are confined within their physical bindings.
Mohsin, Ibrahim and Misti can be presented as evidence how these differently able people are doing more than a person who has no single disabilities. If we show moral and ethical duties towards them, if we care them in regards of their rights, their wellbeing and their desires, one day these flowers will bloom and spread smell of excellence in different fields.
If we be sincere towards our duties from own place we belongs to that would be enough. As a student we can be supportive to our friends who are differently able, as a colleague we can move for inclusiveness and proper right for the person with disabilities, as an established women we can also support the girls suffering from family and social obstacles being differently able, as a human being we can be supportive whenever we see someone with disabilities facing difficulties with their life. Whenever we will move our perception with positivity we can be a part of inclusive society movement. It will be such society where every disable person will have proper care, proper rights, proper dignity, proper support for personal and professional excellence and growth.

[Jakir Hossan is 3rd year student, University of Dhaka, Management Associate, Youth Network Wing Physically-challenged Development Foundation (PDF)]

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