The International Day of People with Disability was marked on Saturday 7 December 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 2019 was “The future is accessible”.

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 who had registered free of any charges through Eventbrite.

The President of Seena Inc, Mrs Mehar Ahmad with advance meticulous planning had lined up three high calibre speakers involved with innovative programs serving people with disability:

  1. Ms Hanan Dover, an accomplished Clinical and Forensic Psychologist who had established one of the most successful psychology clinics that serve culturally and linguistic communities of Western Sydney, Psychcentral.
  2. Yasser Zaki, the Chief Executive Officer for Tender Loving Care Disability Services (TLC) delivering person centred outcomes for people with disability.
  3. Raian Hoblos, an ambassador for the Deaf community in Sydney who was born full deaf with her first language was Auslan (Australian Sign Language) which she used to communicate with her family and currently studying for her Diploma in Dental Technology.

The program was started at 6 pm sharp by Ms Sakinah Ahmad, President of Islamic Foundation for Education and Welfare (IFEW) by welcoming the guests and a brief introduction of who is who.

Ms Sakinah Ahmad

Dr Wali Bokhari recited appropriate verses from the Quran from Surah Abasa, befitting the occasion, emphasising the Islamic value of giving attention to people with disability.  The translation  of the verses was explained by Master Eesa Bokhari with the help of overhead presentation.

Dr Wali Bokhari

Mrs Mehar Ahmad, President of Seena Inc during her presentation highlighted the various activities conducted through the year by Seena in addition to its main project of publishing AMUST, now in its 6th year of publication.

“Seena is an inclusive organisation involving people with disability from diverse backgrounds and faiths and celebrating UN days for People with Disability, Grandparents Day, social outings, collaboration in conducting multi-ethnic cooking classes and helping the refugees,” Mrs Ahmad elaborated.

Mrs Mehar Ahmad

Mr Yasser Zaki, CEO of TLC presented a video of a true event developed by his team showcasing the moving story a person who used to play the sport but got injured and couldn’t play because he was confined to wheelchair and he was getting depressed and isolated, but his friends took the initiative of involving him in soccer.

Mr Yasser Zaki, CEO of TLC.

Mr Zaki talked of impact of social exclusion, stigma in the Muslim community and discrimination against disabled people and gave examples of how TLC helped inclusiveness in the community for disabled people.

Ms Raian Hoblos who attended the event with her family members as well as deaf community members articulated her views with the help of a video presentation with cartoons, audio as well as sign language on how to communicate with deaf people with facial expressions and body language while maintaining eye contact.

Ms Raian Hoblos.

She was accompanied by Mark, a sign language interpreter who facilitated the program.

Ms Hoblos demonstrated some examples of Australian Sign language (Auslan) and urged people who were not deaf to learn sign language and communicate with deaf people. A number of audience showed great interest in learning Auslan.

Ms Hanan Dover, clinical and forensic psychologist and a social media celebrity talked about the disability challenges within the Muslim community drawing upon her rich experience during her professional practice and knowledge of Islamic teachings regarding disability.

Ms Hanan Dover.

Towards the end of the program a lively Q&A session was conducted by Mr Nasim Zereka, a primary school teacher who is involved with the Rahma Islamic Association Australia and is an executive member of Mission of Hope.

Mr Zia Ahmad highly commended the speakers for informing us of unique, innovative and highly successful projects that were serving the community very well.

Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad.

Ms Mobinah Ahmad presented a vote of thanks to all speakers and participants while Dr Qazi Ashfaq Ahmad made dua while appreciating Seena Inc initiative in organising a highly successful event for the benefit of disabled people, young and old, their carers and family members.

The event ended with dinner, compliments of Mrs Mehar Ahmad followed by Maghreb prayer at 8.15 pm.