A team of around 40 especially trained teachers and other professionals including physiotherapists, speech therapists, sign language experts, nutritionists and supporting staff are providing education to over 129 children with diverse disabilities at a school in Daharki. Almost all of the students are from poverty-stricken backgrounds, said the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP) in a statement. It said that the plan to build a small school was initially devised in 2017 which scaled up after the survey conducted in the field area of the Mari Petroleum Companies Limited as the company was a joint partner in this humanitarian cause. Subsequently, the prevalence of children with disabilities in the area was found as 7 to 8 percent of the targeted population. “Keeping in view this magnitude of disability a larger scale project focusing on special education needs of children with severe disabilities and STEP having experience of more than two decades pledged its commitment to transform this vision into a reality,” said a statement. It added that after strenuous efforts of both partners, a building for the aforementioned school had been designed on the universal standards of accessibility equipped with rehabilitation facilities and remarkable ambience. The children with disabilities are most marginalized in the rural areas of the country that have been deprived of access to education, health and rehabilitation facilities. As per plan, the model of a school providing basic education and rehabilitation services was conceived and initiated to prepare them for mainstream education and a developing society. The STEP said that transportation has been a biggest barrier and a reason for keeping children with disabilities out of the school and to address this issue two busses have been dedicated for the pick & drop of children with disabilities Director Special Talent Exchange Program at STEP , Atif Shiekh explained that through early intervention mechanism individual education plan are being developed for each child according to their disability and skills assessment He said that followed by a number of brainstorming sessions and consultations with special education departments of KU, AIOU and NISE a curriculum and pedagogy was adopted by a team of experts led by former general special education. He recalled that the curriculum is available in all the formats addressing the needs of children with different disabilities including Braille, large prints and digital. In the school, he highlighted, an innovative technology known as wonder tree was adapted as pedagogy tool to teach children with severe disabilities Moreover, sign Language Interpreter has been recruited for teaching children with hearing impairment and to train teachers and parents on sign language. In library a value addition was done through introducing pre-recorded books in digital formats named as audio library serving the needs of children with visual impairments. Braille Lab equipped with Perkin Braille embosser and frames under the supervision of a professional Braille is ready to convert documents into the Braille format for children with visual impairment. Vocational Training facility has been provided for developing arts and crafts skills of children above primary schooling age to develop their employability and skill set. A spacious and well equipped physiotherapy room is addressing all physical rehabilitation needs of children with physical impairment managed by enthusiastic male & female physiotherapists who accepted the challenge of working far from their homes. All children with disabilities identified and enrolled in the school have been assessed by professional audiologists, ophthalmologists, and physicians for their need of assistive technology. Tailor made wheelchairs and assistive devices have been provided to the children with disabilities keeping in view their mobility needs. A dining hall has been set up under the supervision of a nutritionist providing a social space to train children with disabilities in etiquettes and having good eating habits at home. Uniform has been designed carefully and a supply chain has been managed through a well-known vendor in the field. A digital platform has been developed for real time updates on the ongoing activities in the school through a Management Information Dashboard. Chief Executive of the National Forum of persons with disabilities Abia Ikram deems disabilities not as deprivation, saying that she was proud of being disabled instead of taking it as disappointment. She suggested that such persons should not be treated with discrimination. Abia Ikram, is also Director Program at STEP Pakistan, suggested that the rights of persons with disabilities should be recognized on state level.