President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih states that the program initiated by administration in 2019 has brought an end to the need to beg for therapeutic services for people with disabilities.
In a ceremony held on Saturday evening to confer the Riveli Award, President Solih said it was important that the service of people who work for the welfare of people with disabilities, though invaluable, is valued by the state in some form.
The Riveli Awards – conferred every two years – was introduced for that very purpose, he said.
President Solih said the government was engaged in efforts to make life easier for people with disabilities.
“One such initiative was the program launched in 2019 to cover the cost of therapeutic treatment. This program had brought an end to the need to beg for therapeutic treatment,” he said.
He said that the government spent MVR 18.2 million on therapeutic treatment by the end of October this year, MVR 7.2 million in 2020, and MVR 3.1 million the year before.
Free access to therapeutic treatment for people with disabilities was one of the goals for the first 100 days of President Solih’s administration.
President Solih, in his speech, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had hit people with disabilities and their families especially hard, with multiple economic and social challenges.
He said that the government had prepared a special action plan in light of the situation, and rolled out multiple initiatives to overcome the hardships.
President Solih said that while many had lost their jobs during the pandemic, no person with disabilities was dismissed.
“There were many whose income severely dropped though they retained their jobs. But we are happy that there wasn’t any impact on the employment of any person with disabilities. And 25 people with disabilities were given jobs by the government during the pandemic,” he said.
Noting that no person is perfect, President Solih said that everyone needs help and support – and it is what makes a community.
“If that’s the case, then proving care and support to people with disabilities must be a top priority,” he said.