Women with disabilities in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD  – Around 100 amazing Pakistani women from different regions and fields gathered in Islamabad to celebrate the achievements of disabled women who are confronting discrimination and working to improve the lives of women and girls.

“Disability is not a disease but a lifestyle! We have to come forward together to change society’s attitudes and not ourselves” young and energetic Anam Khan declared. Anam’s claim visibly resonated in the hall and hearts of all the extraordinary Pakistani women who have overcome disabilities with their impressive attitude.

Maria Qureshi, who hails from Sialkot, had a very hard time at the age of 15 when she became a a ‘special person’ from a ‘normal person’. “Growing up with spinal cord injury, I was literally waiting for the day of my death” to be relieved of the burden of depending on others for very basic needs. “But then I meet these amazing people who were disabled yet they had a fun lifestyle and that was the beginning of a new life.”

Self-management training, she believes, changed her life. “Without exercise, I was literally bedridden but after regular training, I feel I am living my life to the fullest.”

Wheelchair-bound but independent and spirited Maria Qureshi is now working at National Forum of Women with Disabilities and mentoring young people how to improve their lives on their own.