Disable persons in KP
Talha, a 9th grader disable boy sells vegetables to support his family of disable persons.

Mansoor Ali

It was just before dusk when Talha was riding on his push cart selling the vegetables in a thickly populated Bazar of Lund Khwar located in the outskirts of district Mardan.

Talha’s push cart was surrounded by many customers who were buying some food stuff from him and Talha was looking happy as he had more customers as compared to the other vegetables sellers standing near him.

The best scene worth noticing was that Talha had a book and notebook with him as his 9th class board exams were going on and besides selling the vegetables he was preparing himself for his coming paper.

Talha a fifteen year old disable boy who is the single bread earner of his family composed of fourteen members out of which five of his siblings are born disable.

“I am badly disable and I even cannot walk on the road, I do not have any other option but to work and support my family” says Talha

Talha is the last hope for his family because there is no one in his family to run the kitchen.

“I was only twelve when my father was diagnosed with T.B and doctors had advised my father to stay on bed and avoid lifting heavy burdens” Talha said

Talha’s father was working as a laborer in the local market and has quit working on daily wages as he was diagnosed with T.B.

“When I came to know about my disease, I was broken, I had no idea what to do because there was no one in my family to support us, there was a time when I was thinking for begging but Talha asked me not to disgrace your honor and dignity and he took the responsibility of the whole family” says Talha’s father.

“At the very starting days it was very difficult for me to be a vegetable seller because I had no idea what to do and what not but slowly and gradually I got the skills and now at the same time I am supporting my family and also attending my school on regular bases” Talha says

A young boy standing near Talha with his own push cart says, “ He is a man of courage, we all support him and appraise his struggle, because despite his disability he is struggling like a normal person and supporting his family”.

He elaborated that “ Talha is far better than me because beside selling vegetables Talha is also attending his school on regular bases”.

Shahid ali one of his class fellow says” Talha is a role model for us and he is the only guy whom attendance is almost 100% and his reputation in studies is also very impressive”.

According to the latest report of UNHR about 93 million children with disabilities ‘among the most likely to be left behind.

UN human rights chief says, “States should do more for an estimated 93 million children with disabilities who are “among the most likely to be left behind and the least likely to be heard”.

“I am almost in my 50s and I was working in fields to support my husband but now Talha has asked me to remain in home and pray for me so that Allah gives me the strength and courage to support my family and run the kitchen” says Talha’s mother.

According to the neighbors of Talha, “We do not have words to explain the poverty of this family, but we are short of words too to define the courage and bravery of Talha as despite his disability he is the hope for his family”.

According to the Amnesty International and World Health Organization disable person are more likely to be ignored and even they will not be given access to speak for their basic rights.

Talha says “Many people had asked me to quit selling vegetables as it is difficult for you because of your disable body, but have never listen to them because I do not want to be burden on society”

He added that many people had asked him to start begging on the roads but I had turned a deaf ear towards them because I did not want to degrade the honor of my family by begging.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) “There are less than a million disabled persons living in Pakistan as per the latest census data and it constitute just the 0.48 per cent of total population”.

Many reservations have been raised on this figure of disabled people in Pakistan because experts say this figure is not the realistic one.

“I remember the time when for the first time I got out of my home in search of work and I had not even a single rupee in my pocket, but when a man has courage Allah will definitely help him”. Talha elaborated.

It is unfortunate that continual state failure to preserve the rights of disabled persons across areas such as education, work and social security has exacerbated extreme inequalities.

“I am disabled too and have undergone multiple surgeries of my feet and cannot even stand properly, I want to support my family and give a helping hand to Talha but my health is not allowing me do so”. Says Abdur Rehman the elder brother of Talha

“I know my health conditions are not going to support me for the long period of time but I do not have any other option and I have nothing but to struggle and work hard for the sake of my family and specially my mother because whenever I look into her eyes I see hopes in her tears flowing from her eyes”. These were the last few shocking words of Talha.

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