The International Day of People with Disability was observed on Saturday 22 December 2018 in Sydney at Dar-ul-Islam in Bonnyrigg organised by Seena Incorporated, a not for profit organisation that publishes AMUST.
United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD) is observed on 3 December every year to promote an understanding of disability issues and support for the dignity, rights, well-being and the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
The theme to mark the day in 2018 was “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.”
The event brought together diverse people for networking purposes and included disabled people, their carers and family members, social workers, community leaders and disability service providers.
The program was started with the recitation of Quran by Hafiz Dr Waliullah Bokhari with the following meaning projected on the screen that emphasised the believers to take care of the weaker sections of the society.
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous. (Quran 2:177).
The President of Seena Inc, Mrs Mehar Ahmad during her welcome address listed the objectives of the organisation as follows:
- Render social services to the community at large.
- Develop web media skills among people with disability, women and people from diverse backgrounds.
- Establish multimedia enterprises for the expression of ideas, exchange of information and entertainment.
- Provide a forum for ethical learning and teaching.
- Exchange skilled and experienced personnel in the field of administration, accounting and technology with other organisations.
- Mrs Ahmad during her presentation gave a history IDPwD initiated in 1992 by the UN in order to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability as well as to celebrate their achievements and contributions.
She said that in Australia, the National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 commits all governments to a nationwide approach aimed at improving the lives of people with disability and provide support to their families and carers.
“The Strategy’s ten-year national framework for reform focuses on better inclusion for people with disability and seeks to create a society that enables people with disability to fulfill their potential as equal citizens,” Mrs Ahmad explained.
The keynote speaker at the event was Mr Waqas Shiraz, the Managing Director of Sydney Health and Care Services (SHCS), an NDIS approved disability service provider for NSW.
Mr Shiraz said that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was initiated by the Australian Government for Australians with a disability, including people with intellectual, physical, sensory and psycho-social disabilities.
“The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is an independent statutory agency and its role is to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which will support a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers,” he further explained.
While introducing his organisation, Mr Shiraz said, “Sydney Health & Care Services is a disability service provider offering a wide range of disability support services throughout the Sydney Metropolitan as well as rural NSW, with prospects to expand interstate.”
“Our mission is to provide unprecedented quality and flexible “one stop shop” care for our participants, we work hard with third-party organisations and our employees to broaden our service scope to enhance participants lifestyle and choice for maximum inclusion in the community,” he further explained.
Mr Shiraz together with his colleague Mr Rehan Masood fielded questions and comments from the audience.
Mrs Robina Yasmin, a social worker with vast experience in the field commented on the teething issues during the implementation of the scheme while Ms Najla Turk, an experienced community worker and author interrogated Mr Shiraz on the detailed workings of SHCS and offered some valuable advice.
The event ended with dinner, compliments of Mrs Mehar Ahmad followed by Maghreb prayer and dua by Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad, who highly appreciated Seena Inc initiative in organising a highly successful event for the benefit of disabled people, young and old, their carers, family members, experienced community workers as well as service providers.