HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of Qatar Foundation for Social Work, attended the opening of the inaugural Doha International Conference on Disability and Development held under the theme "Leaving no one behind", at Qatar National Convention Center on Saturday morning.
During her opening speech, HH Sheikha Moza called to redefine the stereotypical understanding of disability to curb discrimination and misconceptions about people with disabilities.
HH Sheikha Moza emphasized how stereotypes and misconceptions, perpetuated by a prevalent social culture and mentality, shape current and past understandings of disability, often overlooking non-psychical and non-medical types of disabilities like the psychological ones brought on by harsh environments, whether related to family, society or the effects of war and conflict.
"If our concept of disability is based on visible disability, and ignores hidden disability, then doesn't the illiterate suffer from an educational disability? Is ignorance not an intellectual disability? Isn't there also such a concept as political disability? And isn't the violation and assault against others a moral disability?" HH Sheikha Moza said.
She continued: "I also believe distinguishing people apart based on the definition of disability implicates a form of discrimination. Sometimes, I even feel that the exceptions we make for people with disabilities, with the intention of showing sympathy toward them, do more harm than good."
In closing, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser called on the global community to collaborate on mechanisms for greater investment in people with disabilities to allow them to play active roles in human development, especially through making education and employment opportunities more accessible.
The opening was attended by HE UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and a number of Their Excellencies Sheikhs and Ministers and specialists in these fields.
HH Sheikha Moza toured the exhibition set up for the conference to highlight the successes achieved by persons with disabilities and showcase a number of local initiatives, projects and assistive technologies in this field.
Source: Qatar News Agency
Image Source: Qatar Social Work/Facebook
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