YES alumni in Pakistan are striving to make their communities more inclusive and create service projects that are disability-centric and inclusive. With the 30th Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), right around the corner, it is important for alumni to be equipped to make any alumni project inclusive so all persons can participate, regardless of their ability or disability. Pakistan alumni hosted the "YES Alumni Discussion on Making Community Service Projects Inclusive of Everyone" on June 18, 2020 for YES alumni to learn more about inclusivity. Because of COVID-19, this was a virtual discussion, featuring YES alumni panelists who either have a disability or have considerable experience of working with disabled community. The panelists were Abdul Haseeb (YES 2011-12, a YES alumnus who is deaf), Azima Haider Zaidi (YES 2011-12, a YES alumna with a physical disability), Safira Bibi (YES 2012-13, a YES alumna who is partially-blind), and Azima Dhanjee (YES 2013-14, who is CODA, which stands for “Child of a Deaf Adult” and is the co-founder of ConnectHear, a start-up that actively works towards empowering deaf community with skills/knowledge of 21st century). The discussion was moderated by YES alumnus and iEARN-PK staff member Hassan Saeed.
The panelists shared their idea about the importance of making YES alumni activities inclusive for persons with disabilities. The panelists also shared the perspective of persons with disabilities during such activities, and ways to achieve successful outcomes. Moreover, the panelists shared various ideas for activities to be conducted with persons with disabilities, and help them in elevating to better standards of life. In addition, the panelists encouraged the YES alumni to use their network to raise a voice for the disabled community so they can be given their due rights in national workforce, academics, and related endeavors.
The discussion was attended by 15 YES alumni nationwide, who put forth their questions to the panelists and got clarification. The attendees also showed interest in working together to find common loopholes, and address them through the activities of YES alumni network in Pakistan. The alumni were encouraged to stay vigilant and active in their circles, and work towards the betterment of their communities in a collective and inclusive manner. Altogether, the discussion was a wonderful success. A special thanks to Azima Dhanjee who interpreted the entire discussion for the deaf community.
Alumni mentioned in this story:
- Safira Bibi (YES 2012-2013, Pakistan, hosted by ASSE in Louisville, KY)
- Azima Dhanjee (YES 2013-2014, Pakistan, hosted by ACES in Royal, AR)
- Abdul Haseeb (YES 2011-2012, Pakistan, hosted by PAX in Metairie, LA)
- Azima Haider Zaidi (YES 2011-2012, Pakistan, hosted by AFS in Eugene, OR)