If you are a disability rights advocate or love someone with special needs, are in Pakistan or follow the news about Pakistan, you know that a young girl named Rimsha Masih has been in solitary confinement for about a week now.
She is accused of burning a Noorani Qaida (an introductory level reading material for children who are learning to read the Quran sharif).
There was outrage and the girl was beaten and taken to the police station where she was arrested.
...but there is more to this story...
The NGO Christians in Pakistan has reported that Rimsha is a child with Down's Syndrome.
There is spotty information about her age (anywhere between 11-16), and the level of her Down's syndrome and if she has ever received any therapy, education or assistance for her special needs.
..think about this....unlike other cognitive, learning, mental, some physical, occupational disabilities that are often missed because they are not seen ---but you cannot miss a child with Down's Syndrome. They are visibly different.
The fact is that no one cared to look into this facet of the child's existence, and that is just sad. How angry does one have to be to forget that the object of their anger is a child.... with special needs?
Here's the truth we follow: We're all Pakistanis. We look out for our own, especially those that are more deserving of our help. Such incidents should never happen, not on our watch. We are a nation that is inherently compassionate and kind. There is more that binds us together than what sets us apart.
Take five minutes of your day to inform yourself on the many ways children with special needs in Pakistan are sidelined when it comes to their rights and quality of life. And please do a little (or a lot) to help those you see in need -- even if it means to quietly separate yourself from the mob that wishes to vilify others based on cockamamie notions.
Help us spread this word of tolerance towards children with special needs and support disability awareness in Pakistan! Please sign this petition and pass it on to your like minded friends and family!
We will mail this petition to the President of Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan.