The JJs List Blog

Postcard to Pakistan

Posted by on August 13, 2013 - 0 Comments

Pakistani Disability Advocate, and Guest of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Experiences JJ’s List Innovations

 

 

When Pakistani advocate and businessman Fahad Bilal visited Chicago recently as a guest of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, he spent a day at JJ’s List learning how we use social networking to build a powerful disability advocacy in the United States.

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities reached out to JJ’s List on behalf of the Empower Access Program through WorldChicago and the State Department to host Fahad and we were happy to oblige.

Fahad, a wheelchair user, started  the Society for Special Persons (SFSP), a nonprofit in Pakistan dedicated to help move people with disabilities out of the shadows of Pakistani life and into the mainstream.  During his visit, Fahad learned about accessibility, inclusive policies and details of the ADA (American with disabilities act).  ”I am feeling myself a lucky person as I have got an opportunity to work with you,” Fahad told the JJ’s List team.

“Fahad is a strong, hard working advocate who helped show us a little about life in Pakistan as well as his drive to improve accessibility of all persons in that country,” said Peggy Parfenoff, Executive Director of WorldChicago, “While we still have room for improvement, Chicago is a leader in accessibility and disability rights, and we are delighted to be able to showcase that to other disability rights advocates from around the world.”

Pakistani disability advocates have had a tough time pushing legislation for its own equivalent of the ADA so far. This is partly because many Pakistanis share a cultural belief that disability is caused by sins of the parents, so people with disabilities are often ostracized. To try to change effect change, the JJ’s List team spoke with Fahad about three main issues:

1. Nothing About Us without Us – All legislation should have involvement from people with disabilities

2. Fundamental Rights – Each person, including people with disabilities, should have accessibility

3. Equal Employment Opportunities – A person with a disability should not be at a disadvantage when applying for a job

Be sure to watch the video above and post your thoughts about it below. And keep an eye out for Pakistani National Disability Day on October 27!

 

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