The International Day for Disabled Persons, which comes annually on 3 December, was first observed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly after the adoption of Resolution 47/3.
According to the latest statistics issued by Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) in 2020, there are nearly 20 million Egyptians with special needs nationwide.
The president’s directive came in a Q&A session held during the event between him and citizens with special needs, including children, in which he stated that he would rather it be called the ‘Differently Abled Fund’ rather than the ‘Disability Fund.’
El-Sisi accordingly asked Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, the Senate, and the House of Representatives to draft a legislation that would allow donations to the fund.
Decent Life directive
El-Sisi also gave a directive to the government to include the needs of Egyptians with disabilities in the countryside-focused Decent Life national project.
“I seize this opportunity to call for more programs that include Egyptians with special needs in the national programs and mega national projects,” he said, praising the efforts to empower Egyptians with special needs to participate in all fields of life.
The Decent Life national project (Hayah Karima in Arabic), whose first phase was officially launched in July 2021, aims to improve standards of living, infrastructure, and basic services including health care across the countryside.
The project covers 4,658 villages across the country, which are home to 58 percent of Egypt’s 102 million population, with an estimated budget of EGP 700 billion (about $44.6 billion).
During Sunday’s celebration, El-Sisi also directed the government to expand the training of teachers to properly teach and work with Egyptians with special needs.
The president also called the government to prepare training programs for Egyptians with special needs to help them qualify for job opportunities.
He also called for TV productions to be inclusive and include the lives of Egyptians with special needs, showing their talents.
Before the celebration, El-Sisi also inaugurated an exhibit for special products made by Egyptians with special needs.
Celebrating Egyptians with special needs for the third year in a row, the event highlighted the latest achievements of Egyptians with special needs, as well as the achievements of the Egyptian government in that regard.
Ministry of Social Solidarity’s role
The event was attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj, and Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy.
In her speech during the event, El-Qabbaj presented the ministry’s efforts to provide activities and services to people with disabilities, announcing that the Ministry of Health and Population added 17 genetic diseases to its early detection of disability programme in 2021 after it previously had only two genetic diseases.
She also revealed that Nasser Social Bank and the ‘Atta Fund’ joined the social solidarity ministry in providing job opportunities for special needs people. In the past period, Nasser Bank presented 15,000 projects to Egyptians with special needs.
According to the minister, there are currently 4,500 NGOs in Egypt currently serving Egyptians with disabilities, asserting the importance of the private sector’s support for them.
Furthermore, El-Qabbaj revealed that the Ministry of Interior has also prepared a booklet detailing the services the ministry provides in Braille.
The Differently-Abled Celebration for 2021 hosted various segments, including a talent show presented by Egyptians with special needs and parasports champions, along with famous TV hosts Sherif Madkour and Eman El-Hossary.
Famous Egyptian musicians and actors also participated in the event, including renowned pianist Omar Khariat and his orchestra, singer and actor Donia Samir El-Ghanem, comedian Ashraf Abdel-Baky, actor Mostafa Shaaban, and actor Youssef Sherif.
In October, Egypt’s parliament — the House of Representatives — approved a legislative amendment that toughens penalties against bullying people with disabilities.