SAFIA ABBASI is
currently working as vice principal in a unique institution — Karachi
Vocational Training Center (KVTC). She is dedicated for training and
education to the mentally retarded children at KVTC, in fact she is
heading a team which remove 'dis' from disable children and hidden
qualities are identified and polished after which children are able to
join the society of 'capable' persons. Safia Abbasi is also coach in an
institution under the title of Special Olympics dedicated for sports
activities of special children. She was born in Karachi and graduated
from PECHS Girls College in 1971, only a year later, she married to a
businessman and became mother of three children. She had no problem
during her 12 year married life but entire world was changed for her
when her spouse died in 1983 in Manora Island where he had gone for a
picnic. He slipped and fell from a hill while fishing. This was not end,
only few time after his tragic death she came to know that out of three
her two children were disable and the elder son was not as bright as his
father. She took responsibilities of the 'father' apart from her natural
responsibilities as a mother. In the first step, she opened a tuition
center in her Sindh Muslim Cooperative Society house but later Safia
felt that she had to do more than this.
were the reasons that you join an institution for the training and
coaching of mentally retarded children?
when I noticed that my daughter and a son were not normal kids and I had
to pay more attention to them and started sending them in an institution
for education and care. But only within few weeks a question kept
spinning my brain; that, can someone else give true love to my children
and take care the way they needed? And that did not take long for the
decision that I had to join the institution where my children were being
taken care. Along with my own children, I started loving other children
too, that were natural sentiments came out from me. Many more children
came closer to me and the journey started.
that was the start of your noble journey, what after that?
In 1991, I joined the KVTC when it was being founded by a lady Mrs.
Rubina Inam in whom I found a nature like an angel. So I have privilege
to be a founder member of the KVTC. I joined here as a teacher, and now
I am vice principal of this organization. I have devoted my life to the
handicap children whether they are mine or others it does not make any
difference for me.
have spent an important part of your life with the handicapped children.
Are you satisfied with the available facilities in our society for the
Absolutely not. I would like to say that this is an indicator and a true
reflection of the civilization of our nation that this noble job is
being done in our society on donations and individual people whom All
Mighty Allah has given a sense and they have devoted their lives for the
you please tell us more about this, and your valuable ideas?
Look, there are countless professions and jobs in our society and in the
world for everyone, so if someone decides to join such a noble job for
devoting his or her love and patience for the special children they need
to be respected, recognized, and paid accordingly?. If I had not joined
this job than someone else would have been giving his or her love and
patience to my children, how he or she should be treated and paid by me.
I think if someone devotes his or her love to my children I can not or
no one can pay the price for this. Like here in KVTC a team of dedicated
people are taking care and educating hundreds of special children, in
fact they have taken the responsibilities of the mothers and fathers.
They are giving their precious love to the children. And 'patience'
towards special children is on top of that. Our society needs more
respect than any other noble professions including, school teachers,
doctors, religious leaders.
else should be done in this field?
At present, hardly one percent children out of total population are
identified and diagnosed about their physical and mental deficiencies
whereas others are many cases going undiagnosed and even unnoticed. We
need a nationwide network of diagnosing and examining every child
frequently. This should be a part of our Education Ministry so that each
and every child could go through a basic check up because this is the
matter of entire life of an individual. Secondly, we should have a
nationwide network to train the coach and teachers. Third, each and
every city should have a center like KVTC where mentally retarded
children should be kept. In order to have more and more dedicated people
especially young people in this noble field we badly need to give them
extra-ordinary status, respect and pay. This is the only step which can
attract the intelligent people to join this field otherwise, apart from
exceptional once why should somebody select this field.