All about inclusivity: differences don’t matter
December 09 2019 11:51 PM
Abia Akram works with Special Talent Exchange Programme, an NGO in Pakistan, and runs a forum for wo
Abia Akram works with Special Talent Exchange Programme, an NGO in Pakistan, and runs a forum for women with disability.

By Mudassir Raja

People with disability are finally on the global agenda. The voice of about 1.5 billion people around the world is being heard at every important international stage. Everybody is speaking about inclusiveness. 
Community recently spoke to a group of people with disability who were taken on a tour of Qatar National Museum post their participation in the recently concluded Doha International Conference on Disability and Development (DICDD). The two-day-long conference was organised at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). The conference was under the theme: ‘Leaving No One Behind’.
The visitors were seemingly happy while having the tour of the splendid piece of architecture and were upbeat about the final outcome of the international conference.
Eddie Ndopu, an award-winning activist, humanitarian, and public intellectual from South Africa, also one of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals, expressed his satisfaction over the success of the conference. “The people with disabilities are finally on the global agenda. I am tremendously thankful to the organisers for the conference and affirming the humanity of 1.5 billion people,” he said.
Eddie, who holds Master’s degree in Public Policy from Oxford University, further added, “If we speak about inclusion and if we speak about the importance of leaving no one behind, then it is absolutely imperative that we include and reflect the aspirations of the people with disabilities.”
Eddie, who was all out praise for the hospitality he received in Qatar, said, “In September, the UN Secretary General announced that we are now embarking on the decade of action. We have 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and most of the countries around the world are off track. Inequality is deepening. Climate change is upon us and it is really precarious right now for the planet as a whole. I think now more than ever we require international solidarity to not only ensure that we achieve the SDGs but we do so in a true inclusive manner and that we reach the most vulnerable population first. In Qatar, I love the push for innovation. I think people are thinking in terms of innovation.”
Sebastian Flores, is from Equator and struggles with his vision. He said, “I am really amused about many things that we have in common between my region and this part of the world. The vision about disability has gone far from the medical point of view only. It has become a social one now. There is now more action then just talk. The focus is more on how their accessibility can help in the progress of a nation.”
Forty-year-old Sebestian, a diplomat and entrepreneur working with young people around the world, believes that business can do a lot in terms of accessibility and inclusiveness. “I do not focus on what I cannot do. I just focus on what I can do. I have my own way to see the world like every other single person has his or her own way. I am simply another individual. I went to mainstream educational institutions and got my university degree in International Relations. I see my role in the world as a catalyst.”
Abia Akram, who works with Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP), an NGO in Pakistan, and runs a forum for women with disability, said, “This conference was well devised because the Government of Qatar had invited all important stakeholders.”
 “I think this is important because now we are moving towards the 2030 agenda and we are moving towards implementation of the UN conventions on right of the persons with disability. This medium was really important to move forward and to share some good practices and the gaps and situations that we are facing.
“I talked about the sexual health and reproductive rights of the women with disabilities in a panel discussion.
Abia, who holds master degree in gender and international development, said, “I really like my disability because that is my identity.”

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