Bijbehara: A wheelchair bound man from south Kashmir's Anantnag district is among the five J&K residents who received the Padam Shri Award from the President of India on Monday.
Javed Ahmad Tak a resident of Pamposh Colony in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district while talking with a local news agency said that he is delighted to get the award as it has given him a more responsibility to strengthen the voice for the welfare of the physically challenged people.
Tak said that in 1997, when militancy was at its peak in the valley, unknown gunmen fired upon his uncle who was NC block president Ghulam Qadir Tak.
“The bullets missed the target but they pierced through my spinal cord and made me permanently bed ridden,” he said.
Tak said that a year or two after the incident he met with a renowned disability rights activist Javid Abidi who himself was physically challenged at a conference in Srinagar.
“His work and vision inspired me that being disabled is not a shame but a greater responsibility to stand up for hundreds of people like me,” he said.
“Later in year 2003, with the help of my own ex-gratia relief, I started an NGO humanity welfare organization helpline and through this organization, till now I have helped thousands of physically challenged persons,” Tak said
Tak said that after completing his masters in social work from Kashmir University in regular mode in 2006, he started an institution namely Zeeba Appa School for disabled where at present over one hundred disable students are studying.
“Besides that I have worked at many forums and struggled for the education, employment and accessibility of disabled persons and my struggle bears fruits as I have managed to empower thousands of disabled persons,” he said. “I have also worked for the last two decades for the implementation of laws that will benefit the disabled persons.”
Javid Abidi, who was the director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for disabled people, taught me that people with disabilities need employment and education and deserve to live independently so that they can carry on their lives.
Tak while expressing his gratitude to the people who helped and encouraged him said that recognition is important which he got after Padmashri.
“There is still a lot to be done to bring change in policies of the government about disabled persons,” he said while adding that at present he works on projects for child rights through UNICEF.
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