KP govt’s laudable step for special persons


The Social Welfare Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has recently taken a laudable step by setting up the first ever braille printing press towards improving plight of the special persons with different disabilities including visual impairment. The works of local poets, writers and common visually impaired persons would see light of the day and would have access to modern technology through the advanced braille system.

The percentage of visual impairment is 7.2 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to the 10 percent among 15,000 registered special persons in the merged tribal districts where not a single institution is available. The total number of special persons suffering from various disabilities in the province stands at 375,752 in different categories and age groups.

According to the available data, 105,000 special persons are registered with the Social Welfare, Special Education, Usher, Zakat and Women Empowerment Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, out of whom, 83,000 are physically and 2,000 are mentally challenged persons while 20,000 are deprived of hearing and sight senses. The facility is being set up in Peshawar at a cost of Rs40.3m which would benefit around 3600 visually impaired students studying in 44 schools for the special persons.

It is pertinent to mention that the incumbent KP govt has approved the said project as non ADP to be made fully operational by the end of June this year, thus has fulfilled a long-standing demand of the special persons of the province. The braille printing facility will bring out textbooks for visually impaired students as well as general books including history, Islamiyat, culture and literature in Pashto, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and English enabling local poets and writers to compose their own works.

Earlier, the KP govt used to purchase braille books for students from Punjab and Sindh with contents not compatible with local history, literature, heroes and cultural traditions. Most of the visually impaired students would leave education after primary level but now the special persons will have the facility for the first time to get education till 12th grade under the guidance of trained and technically-sound teachers and the move would also help raise literacy rate among the special persons.

Under the plan, 13 teachers are being trained to operate the braille system with a customized software and also design special characters and symbols of local languages for reading purposes. One can hope for the special persons hailing from the tribal districts to get the same facility at their doorsteps so that they could participate in the race for better and bright future.

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