On Saturday, Pakistan’s first shop that sells craft items made by people with disabilities opened its doors in Karachi. The shop called “Jiddat” (means loyal and compassionate in Urdu) connected to Karachi Vocational Training Center (KVTC) in the Defence House Authority neighborhood.
At Jiddat, artists with disabilities are taught by KVTC to block print, screenprint, embroidery, tailoring, and woodwork. They also run a job placement program other than providing therapy and education to young people. KVTC creative director Bushra Mir told a publishing site, “This is the first outlet in Pakistan exclusively selling the work of special children.”
“Previously, we would sell their work at exhibitions, but then we came up with the idea of Jiddat, to sell the great craft produced by these exceptionally talented disabled persons,” Mir said.
According to Human Rights Watch, in Pakistan, with a population of 220 million, people living with physical and intellectual disabilities vary from 3.3 million to 27 million, which is a significant number. Law in Pakistan requires 2% of disabled people to be employed by an establishment.
Last year in August, a court ruling made it mandatory for the federal and provincial governments to do the needful that helps people with disabilities participate following the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Pakistan ratified in 2011.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was present at the inauguration ceremony. He inaugurated the outlet and promised his full support and said his government would give work opportunities to 5,000 disabled persons by 2030.
Shah said, “This is a gigantic task, and the KVTC and its team deserve appreciation and our support.” He also said that such outlets must be opened in every Sindh province so people with disabilities feel inclusive.
One of the artists, Mudassar Faisal, could not continue his education at an ordinary school and stopped at grade six before he joined KVTC.
An artist from the center, Mudassar Faisal, couldn’t study at an ordinary school and had significant trouble. A KVTC teacher, Farah Deeba, said, “He stuck as he couldn’t concentrate, and his parents surrendered, but the good thing they did was to bring him to the center. After his eight years in the center, Mudassar now not only produces wood trays and trollies and other accessories made of wood but has also resumed his studies.”
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