As Gilgit-Baltistan moves towards a very crucial phase of the fight against Coronavirus pandemic, social activists, volunteers and concerned citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC) living across the globe are coming forward to help hard-hit families back in their hometowns. Many businesses, enterprises have been affected following the extended lockdown, especially the tourism industry, which is one of the biggest contributor to the economy of these mountainous regions in Pakistan.
Ghulam Muhammad Baig, originally from Hunza Valley, is one such activist who is aiming to raise one million Pakistani Rupees to help the families in need, especially those who have a family member with a disability.
As a student of social sciences at the City of Glasgow College, Ghulam Muhammad Baig has teamed up with two other disability activists Amjad Nadeem and Irshad Kazmi, both from Gilgit-Baltistan, in a bid to not only raise funds for vulnerable individuals and families but also to raise awareness about the needs of special children and people with disabilities.
Ghulam Muhammad Baig is also an active social media activist. Through his social media awareness forum called The Gilgit Baltistan Goodwill Movement, he has been raising voice on the issues of people with disabilities in Gilgit-Baltistan.
In a chat with GBee News, Ghulam Muhammad Baig commented that in G-B, people with disabilities (PWDs) are already marginalized and are living in poverty. Persons with a disability in Gilgit-Baltistan can find themselves facing a huge amount of societal problems and as a result, they might not receive proper care and even if they do, it is not up to the mark and never enough to cater their true needs.
He further added: “There are insufficient resources to aid the disabled citizens of G-B like food, fuel, shelter and the access to medical treatments, particularly in this current Coronavirus pandemic.”
Unfortunately in Gilgit-Baltistan, there is no proper infrastructure that could provide special services to people with disabilities during this unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19. Families of people with disabilities are in uncertainty on how to alter their special care plans and are deeply concerned about how food and medical treatment will be provided during this lockdown.
He said that organizations like the Gilgit-Baltistan Disability Development Foundation are a dire need of the day to provide support to these disabled people living across Gilgit-Baltistan in tough situations.
According to Irshad Kazmi, the president of the Disability Development Foundation, there are as many as 15,000 registered PWDs in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Amjad Nadeem, the Chairperson of the same foundation, has appealed the masses across the world to come forward and donate to this COVID-19 fund that will go towards ‘helping the disabled people in Gilgit-Baltistan who need the most attention during these pressing times.
Speaking to GBee News about how the funds would be used, Ghulam Muhammad Baig said they want to ensure that the affected households have proper meals and medication within the community. They will also assess how the needs of the disabled people of Gilgit-Baltistan can be met.
They will try to inform the families of the disabled about how to deal with Coronavirus if a disabled person gets affected. Raising awareness both nationally and internationally about the needs of disabled people remains their top agenda.
To donate to this cause, head to the fundraiser set up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/donate/251667446019785/.