Accessibility, employment and acceptance are among the many things that most of us take for granted – but due to societal barriers, these are not as readily available to persons with disabilities (PWDs). NOWPDP added yaqeeen to its ranks in 2014 to address these barriers and to provide a holistic and sustainable approach to making institutions disability inclusive.
In order to achieve an inclusive environment, the project focuses on four key areas: Building infrastructure to provide accessibility, raising awareness about disability to ensure sensitisation, empowering people with disabilities through access to equal opportunity employment, and institutionalising diversity through changes in the policy framework.
This April, yaqeeen will begin working at 30 branches at HBL across Pakistan thereby laying the foundation for HBL to become the pioneering bank leading its way to complete inclusion of persons with disabilities in Pakistan.
With the initiation of the first phase of the project – Research and Review, yaqeeen will conduct focus group discussions and interviews at 18 HBL branches in Karachi to gauge the perceptions of existing employees about persons with disabilities. The project will continue its research at 12 additional locations in Lahore and Islamabad. Collecting views and opinions of at least 20 percent of 500+ employees during these discussions, will allow yaqeeento specifically model sensitization sessions meant to inform HBL’s employee base about disability etiquette.
Simultaneously, yaqeeen will also conduct accessibility audits with the assistance of Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP) at these branches and compile reports of necessary infrastructural changes needed to create an accessible environment.
In this two-year collaboration, NOWPDP and HBL aim to create an environment in which both staff and customers with disabilities are given the value and respect that we all deserve.