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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

2020-12-03

 (Amman – HCD) On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, commemorated this year under the theme, “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”, countries around the world observe the day, taking stock of its theme, and shedding light on the challenges persons with disabilities encountered during the COVID-19 Pandemic, including the health and economic impact borne by nations the world over.
 
Over the last 9 months persons with disabilities and their families endured grave challenges and conditions, resulting from the precautionary measures put in place to prevent a spread of the disease. This, in turn, negatively affected students with disabilities’ access to education, due to the fact that e-learning platforms are inaccessible and not inclusive of their access requirements. Students with disabilities in higher education institutions also faced similar challenges, with websites and online platforms in need of design and development vis-à-vis the various access requirements that enable them to utilise and interact with such platforms.
 
Persons with intellectual disabilities were the most affected by the conditions brought about by the lockdown, with their moods changing continuously; their accumulative knowledge-based and behavioural skills deteriorating over the course of the last months –regressing and losing perhaps the benefit of years-long work, due to the interruption of their educational, rehabilitation, social and behavioural programmes.

 

The pandemic caught us all off guard, placing us all–institutions, stakeholders and individuals concerned with disability issues alike – in an unwanted position that is not to be envied, requiring us all to respond quickly and answer to the gaps and needs in the face of a lockdown, the interrupted face-to-face teaching, and limited mobility. With your help and support, we were able to overcome many of the grave challenges. We were able to provide e-curricula for students who are deaf and blind via our website, specialised platforms and on various social media platforms. Our staff members worked tirelessly to meet the needs of many of our brothers and sisters; fathers and mothers; and sons and daughters with disabilities, who were left to fend for themselves. Together with partners we are proud of, we also provided medical supplies and treatments via the Jordanian Charitable Physician Organisation and the Spinal Cord Injury Society. In addition, and through a distinguished partnership with the Hashemite Charitable Organisation, we were able to provide daily living supplies, while our collaboration with Al Basira (Vision) Initiative and the Habayebna Platform we were able to provide the minimum educational requirements for students who are blind and those with intellectual disabilities.
 
The pandemic has revealed the need for a comprehensive system of emergency services that are inclusive of the access requirements of persons with disabilities; a recommendation reiterated by HCD on more than one occasion, and more recently to the
Crisis Control Centre and the Prime Ministry.
 
Today, as we celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we look ahead beyond the pandemic, toward our collaborative efforts and partnerships, which are undoubtedly a moral obligation, and not a choice. You are the experts and stakeholders of the cause- our partners in the journey of mainstreaming the rights and issues of persons with disabilities within a system of policies, legislation and programmes, in order for these rights and issues to become an integral part of the development agenda and national priority work areas.
 
We extend our hand to each and every person willing to work and persevere for the purpose of growth and development, and our thoughts and ideas are open to any suggestion and recommendation, as well as criticism that is constructively provided to improve and create positive change.
 
A happy and blessed day to all persons with disabilities, their families, loved ones, and our beloved country and its leadership.