US Counsellor for Public Affairs, Christina Tomlinson, joined the members of the National Assembly and non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives on Thursday to celebrate the achievements of Pakistani women with disabilities. At the Special Talent Exchange Programme (STEP) conference, she emphasised on the importance of supporting the rights of women with disabilities, so they can fully participate in all aspects of the society. “Promoting disability rights is an integral part of our efforts to promote human rights more broadly,” she said. “We want to remove barriers and create a world in which disabled people can enjoy dignity and full inclusion. We work with governments and organisations like the STEP to protect and promote the rights of disabled persons, and provide practical support to ensure their inclusion and full participation in the society.” This conference marks the conclusion of a one-year programme to support Pakistani women with disabilities, costing $375,000, funded by the US Embassy and implemented by the STEP. Throughout the past year, STEP has organised more than 90 training sessions, TV talk show discussions, and provincial workshops to increase public and Pakistani government awareness about the rights of women with disabilities and to provide trainings for women with disabilities.
STEP Programme Director Abia Akram said, “STEP, with the support of the US Embassy in Pakistan, we initiated the ‘Supporting Women with Disabilities’ to promote disability rights.” As this programme concludes today, the US Embassy and Mobility International USA have started to work on a new project to empower Pakistanis with disabilities, he added.