The Disabled People of Shangla Still await a Christ

The Disabled People of Shangala Still await a Christ

Fahad Kamus, a resident of Dhilai in Shangla District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, gets out of the house in a wheelchair with the help of his young children in the morning.

Despite being physically challenged he still earns employment by selling naswar in his small shop in the area market.


Fahad said that the spine of Fahad was damaged in 2006 when an accident took place at a coal mine in Charat area of Kohat district. I had a son just born at that time. The second was just 4 years old. I could not bear his education tributes so he no longer went to school. They help me come up to the shop and prepare the naswar. Fahad day goes through conversations with customers and other vendors.


Fahad is not a unique person in Shangala. There are a large number of physically challenged people, including women. This area is different because it is a hit area of poverty and most of the country's mining companies are from here.


These mining also go to Sindh and Balochistan in search of work. The majority of disabled people here have been disabled due to accidents in coal ears and spinal injuries are not thought to be unusual here.


According to the Department of Social Welfare (SWD), 7,456 disabled people have been registered in Shangula as of January this year, but no of them has received any financial assistance from the government during the last 4 years.


Ehsanullah is a helpin SWD Shangala. He says he is receiving requests from disabled people, but no one has been funded so far due to lack of funds with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.


Malang Jan, 36, was injured in a 2006 accident at a chakwal mine just 4 months after his marriage. He submitted several applications in Pakistan Baitalmal and SWD but did not receive any response. They have moved to a rented house in Swat due to lack of facilities in their native Olyander.


He said my father and 4 brothers are also the mine, with some social workers, they help me financially, which is what i am treating and passing through.


Aziz Gul is an officer in The District Baitalmal in Shangula. He says there are no funds available for disabled people at district level but some of the People of Shangala had made applications at the Islamabad office of Baitalmal and after their confirmation they have been given cheques of Rs 10-20,000.


Niaz Badshah is also physically disabled and his 7-year-old son Nematullah has been suffering from kidney disease for the past four years. "It's my world, but I can't do much for it," he said. My father takes Nematullah to the hospital once a month and for that he has to take a loan. They are waiting to see when the tweet of the Prime Minister on December 3, 2020, in which the Prime Minister announced to give Rs 2,000 monthly to 2 million disabled people under the Ehsas Kiflat policy, will come true. The local SWD and Bait-ul-Mal have not yet received any formal orders in this regard.


Abdul Zahir, 47, was injured in a 2010 mine accident. Her son has polio. Although Zahir and his son spend most of their time together at home, their lives are very different from ordinary people. "My relatives take me to bed on Lingbar Road in Chakesar to take me to the hospital, Zahir said. They also help us finance the house and buy medicine.


Bakhtamin was also injured in a mine accident. He lives in Puran area and has 7 children. "I want my daughters to get married and my sons, who are still in primary school, to get an education, but my financial situation is a hindrance to both of my desires," he said. Bakhtamin said he had written to the government and welfare agencies for financial assistance, but had not received a response.


Muzdalifah is also a physically challenged woman from Chakesar. She works as a seamstress to feed her family. Like Bakhtamin, she wants her sons to get an education. After falling down the stairs, he spent two months at a paralysis rehabilitation center in Peshawar. Now she can only do housework in a wheelchair. She has registered with the SWD and has twice applied for financial assistance, but has not received any assistance.


The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dissecting Widows and Special Persons Welfare Foundation Act (Act No. 6 of 2014) was passed on 22 January 2014. The aim was to help widows and the disabled in the province with small businesses by providing them with training, equipment and space. But it has not yet been implemented in Shangla.


In such a depressing situation where there is an endless gap in government policies and their implementation, there are some people like Hussain Ali, 35, of Mian Kale who are helping others despite their disabilities. Hussein's spinal cord is also affected. In 2016, part of a 100-foot-deep coal mine in Charat fell on Hussein. He regained consciousness at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.


A few days later, he underwent spinal surgery at a private hospital in Peshawar. His family could afford a private hospital and wanted the best treatment possible. When Hussein returned to his village after treatment, he did not walk 133 steps to his home. He still lives in the same house and his brothers help him come and go, sometimes in a wheelchair and sometimes without him.


Hussein also needs help to get to his nearby shop. She opened a wedding dress, shoe and cosmetics store after her recovery.


"Before the injury, I used to meet people who had ear accidents and told me how difficult their lives were," Hussein said in a wheelchair outside his mud house. At that moment, I decided to work for their well-being. "


Hussain has collected data on 200 spinal cord injuries in Shangla. Most of them have children and families and are in financial difficulties. They use this data to support requests to the SWD and the Deputy Commissioner. In addition to helping people with disabilities, Hussein teaches about 25 students at home free of charge.


Ali has recently launched a campaign on social media in which he appeals to well-wishers to provide financial assistance and wheelchairs for the disabled in Shangla. He says the response so far has been limited, but positive.


Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Labor and Culture Shaukat Yousafzai was elected a member of the provincial assembly from Shangla. He said that apart from the welfare of the coal miners, he intended to meet the Minister of Social Welfare to include Shangla in the schemes of the Prime Minister's Ehsas program. In this way, financial assistance will also be provided to the disabled people of Shangla through Ehsas program.


But Ali Bash Khan, a social worker from Shangla, says financial aid is not the answer to the problems of people with disabilities in Shangla. The government should conduct a training program to teach skills to this class. In this way, they will be able to earn a living for themselves and their families.


Coincidentally, in September 2019, the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences published a study based on data obtained through volunteers from 16 government departments and Friends of Paraplegics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which exposed government indifference.


According to the study, out of 171,173 government employees, only 1,151 (or 0.67%) were persons with disabilities, but no government agency met the 2% quota for persons with disabilities.