Zaheer Jan – Eminent specialist and Social Worker fighting for rights of persons with special needs
News Kashmir Exclusive
Zaheer Jan, paediatric Rehabilitation specialist and professional Social worker has been untiringly working with persons with special needs especially children with special needs. He has seen how parents face difficult challenges while dealing with the issues faced by their children with special needs.
He talks on diverse issues faced by the Special needs people with News Kashmir.
” In 2011 the population of Jammu and Kashmir persons with special needs was around 4 lac,now it would be much more as we don’t have exact data on it .
When I saw persons with special needs especially children facing lot of problems, I founded the organization Save the Destitute Foundation and I am its Chairman. The aims and objectives of the organization are Child and disability rights , Capacity building and Advocacy for persons with disabilities, inclusive education, disasters and health issues. We have different areas of burning concern to work in our organization . When we saw as organization there is no awareness in Kashmir related to inclusive education, early intervention, job policy and we thus organised many conferences and workshops to create awareness on same,” States Zaheer Jan.
He observes :” Parents face much different and difficult challenges while fighting for rights of their disabled children . We as organization approached number of schools to provide admission quota rights to children with special needs. We also wrote to higher authorities .”
Zaheer Jan opines that despite so much efforts in this regard the school responses have been so far been dismal.
Zaheer believes with article 370 abrogation many bright central laws on persons with special needs automatically applied on Jammu and Kashmir . So me , Dr .
Chintanjeet Kaur ,Mudasir Sahaban wrote to Director School Education and Chief Secretary to implement RPD act admission for children with special needs ,but there was no response . We then knocked doors of judiciary via PIL and the then Chief Justice JK ordered Government and schools to answer on the points.
The school excuse was that they don’t have accessible building ,educators for same but the court ordered to take full steps to ensure RPD act is implemented in letter and spirit.
Zaheer Jan believes that he still gets to know lot of painful things from parents that their children with special needs are not getting admission in schools .
He states as soon as child is diagnosed with any disability he needs immediate early intervention.
Zaheer Jan opines that infrastructure related to children with special needs from schools to health centers and other early intervention centers here in Kashmir are located mostly in few selected urban hubs and the awareness about such schools is lagging . He believes that both resource rooms and number of educators have to increase ,and the infrastructure for children need to be fully equipped to deal with their needs . He believes that such things are lagging . Zaheer Jan has successfully won several cases in favour of children with special needs .
Zaheer Jan currently works with Brainpreneur and Child Development Center organization of Sunaina Tickoo, which has centres both in Jammu and Kashmir . The Organization is focused on early intervention wherein they tackle from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome all problems related to disabilities . The Organization also helps poor children in their treatment . The Organization gives treatment to children according to their needs.
Zaheer Jan states that Sunaina Tikoo via occupation and speech therapy are focused on readiness to School so that children are able to go to mainstream schools. The Brainpreneurs also aims to setup vocational education for children with special needs
Zaheer Jan has a fervent appeal to Government to draft a policy to Private schools to fix a percentage of admission quota for children with special needs, he also urges the Government to ensure establishment of vocational training centers, wide ranging friendly infrastructure, more trainers, more institutions and Job quota for persons with special needs or disabilities.