A round table discussion meeting was held on 7th December 2019, at the Bureau of Non-Formal Education (BNFE) conference hall, Dhaka. Mr. Tapon Kumar Ghosh, Additional Secretary & Director General of Bureau of Non-Formal Education (BNFE) grace the event as Chief Guest. A declaration came from the Chief Guest speech that “In the upcoming program of BNFE the inclusion of the children with disabilities will be ensured in the Children Learning Center (CLC) in the union and upazila level”. Higher officials of BNFE was also attended the round table discussion and gave their valuable inputs for the inclusion of children with disabilities in the “Second Chance Education”. The Executive Director of DRRA, Ms. Farida Yesmin chaired the round table discussion.
On Thursday, 21st March, annual celebration of “World Down Syndrome” day was held, supporting people with Down Syndrome with their families. The day has been celebrated through colourful rally and discussion meeting to build the awareness among the society as well as within the family members. DRRA participated art competition and rally arranged by ministry and took part in cultural program collaboration with ‘Down Syndrome Society’. This day is also observed by the partner organisations of DRRA in other districts (Chittagong, Dinajpur, Chuadanga, Jhinaidaha & Satkhira)
“World Down Syndrome Day” (also known as WDSD) is a Global Awareness day backed by UN since 2011 is celebrated worldwide linking with organizations & charities developing activities, event to raise awareness and education to support individuals with Down Syndrome.
The 21st day of 3rd March is selected to focus the uniqueness of the triplication of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down Syndrome.
The agenda behind celebrating this day is solely to globally aware people on Down Syndrome and how to provide support through education, vocational training, health care and early intervention programs to live a fulfilling life for Down Syndrome individuals.
Although there is no cure for Down Syndrome but specialist have developed ways to improve the condition in order to achieve the level of independence to live a normal live.
However it is essential to educate the skill sets to parents, family and friends, so that they can provide a suitable environment for Down Syndrome individual to thrive.
Like other developed countries the prevalence of Down Syndrome is also increasing in Bangladesh with time and right now the number is near about 2, 00,000. Keep this huge number in mind Bangladesh has also intervened many awareness activities to raise their social status, acceptance, establishment of rights, education, health, safety and employment. But for achieving all of this we need to work in together. In connection with this many organization along with Government is celebrating this day of global awareness with the slogan “Leave No One Behind”.
At the same time Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) is also participating this awareness event by promoting agendas needed to develop the situation with individuals of Down Syndrome. Specially emphasizing on providing information on education, health, empowerment, livelihood for the people and families dealing with Down Syndrome.
Under the supervision of DRRA, LAUGH is taking a bold step in producing a specialize awareness program where individuals with Down Syndrome will be assessed, trained and educated according to their intellectual capability so that they can be provided a sustainable working environment among organizations and companies who are contributing in this cause to provide a means of earning and thus creating an individual independency and livelihood among society.
Children rang the bell at a time to draw the attention to their manifesto
With the theme 'All Children Are Welcome to School, Including Children with Disability`, 12326 students, with disabilities and without disabilities, of 40 schools in Bangladesh, rang the bell at a time for a minute between 12:00-12:01. Thus they created the attention to the policy makers and others, who are in a position to eliminate the barriers that prevent children with disabilities from going to school highlighting the 10 action points on inclusive education.
In line with the 'We Ring the Bell' program, a global campaign of education pioneered by Lilliane Fonds, an organization based in the Netherlands, this extra-ordinary campaign is organized in Bangladesh by its strategic partner organization Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) and its 21 partner organizations.
Children got together in school premises and created attention to the policy makers and other through making noise by ringing bells, drums, sirens, flute, whistle, dish-spoon etc. Along with students, 1122 parents, teachers, school committee members, educational officials, political leaders, civil society personnel, religious leaders, NGOs, local Government & local Administrative official, polices and journalists were also participated bell rally where they expressed their commitment by ringing bell.
A poster campaign with the call to welcome all children including children with disability has been demonstrated where 10 action points on inclusive education has been highlighted. There was signature campaign, where a total of 21,220 individuals signed on the manifesto.
DRRA developed one video for promoting rights of children with disability and good wishes message from Rasheda K. Chowdhury, Former Adviser to the Care Taker Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and Executive Director of CAMPE and Monsur Ahmed Chowdhury, Former Member, UN Committee for UNCRPD and Member, Disable Council International, Geneva.
A welcome to school suitcase demonstration was introduced on 5th March at Tongi which will be run in all schools, by rotation, those participated in we ring the bell campaign. The objective of the demonstration was to make ‘accessibility audit’ by the students on their own school, in a funny way.
The Bangladesh SPO DRRA organized a day-long Knowledge Fair on Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh on 25 November 2018. Over 200 representatives and stakeholders from 91 organizations, including partners of LF-DRRA country program, CSO, DPO and other associated NGOs/INGOs, Network members like SDG Forum, government agencies participated in the much anticipated Knowledge Fair, the first of its kind in the country. The Knowledge Fair organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare and sponsored by the Liliane Fonds, the Netherlands. The objective of organizing such event was to improve common understanding on the CBR/CBID concept, practice, innovation and disseminate sector knowledge among the POs, Govt. & other Stakeholders.
The event inaugurated by Professor Dr. Dalem Chandra Barman, the Vice Chairman of DRRA with his welcome speech. The overall program and session-wise discussions presented and facilitated by the different persons with disabilities. The program divided into three major sessions with 5 key components of CBR, including disaster risk management with 5 set agenda for future CBR to CBID implementation. The agendas were- differences and similarities between CBR and CBID, Role of different stakeholder to roll out of CBR to CBID; Initiation and designing of CBID program considering more about inclusion and sustainability in the community; understanding the current CBR model and its practice in Bangladesh; role of WHO & Ministry of Social Welfare in Bangladesh; plan and way forward. A total 3 keynote presentations presented in 3 plenary sessions by three keynote speakers and 18 presentations presented by different practitioners from different organizations including DPOs, CSOs, NGOs and INGOs. The organizations are – DRRA, Save the Children, CBM, Handicap International/ Humanity & Inclusion, Sightsavers, International Society of Prosthetic & Orthotics –Bangladesh, Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP), Access Bangladesh Foundation, Narikantha Unnyan Sangstha (NUS), Bangladesh Protibandhi Unnayan Sangstha, AID Foundation, Protibondhi Community Centre (PCC), Young Power in Social Action(YPSA), Society of Speech & Language Therapists (SSLT), Barinagor Samaj Kallyan Sangstha (BSKS), Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association (BPA), Nari O Protibondhi Shisu Kallan Songstha and Oporajita Narri Unnayan Sangstha (ONUS). The three keynote presentations presented by Mr. Shusanta Kumar Pramanik, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare, Mr. K M Abdus Salam, the Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau under the Prime Minister Office and Ms. Farida Yesmin, Executive Director of DRRA.
A wide array of issues ranging from core struggles of grassroots-level DPO representatives to unique success stories came up for discussion at the knowledge-gathering. A journey from CBR towards CBID became the focal point of all its endeavors. An interactive and lively discussion followed by frequent presentations made the whole atmosphere of the auditorium vibrant. While speaking on these issues, the discussants threw light on the rights of the people with disabilities, government’s initiatives in the various sectors, contributions of local stakeholders, inclusive development, poverty reduction, graduation, accommodation, income-generating activities and their empowerment. Issues related to micro-finance, skill development, therapy services, entrepreneurship, local resources, livelihood approach, healthcare, awareness building, education, advocacy and disaster risk reduction were also discussed during the day-long session. All the presentations followed by interactive question-and-answer sessions. Audiences brainstormed for questions and threw many challenging ones to the representatives and stakeholders of the government, private sector, national and international NGOs and development partners.
The event ended with a 17-point declaration jointly adopted by the participants of all levels. The declaration urged the government, private sector, national and international NGOs, development partners, DPOs and other stakeholders to consider the below-mentioned recommendations. One of the DPO leaders Mr. Munna read out the declaration on behalf of DPOs.
The Knowledge fair on CBID was a unique idea to exchange the view of CBR approach and its field practice. Participants are well acknowledged about the knowledge fair. At the same time DRRA has realized the importance of making persons with disabilities loud or confident on their rights claiming issues. So, the CBR as well as the CBID concept will be clearer towards the Frontline practitioners of the country like POs and DPOs. It was a great opportunity to gather all relevant stakeholders to come to a common understanding on CBR practice in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the Fair not only made common understanding among POs, it was also created learning opportunities for them. As most of the participants are requested to continue the knowledge fair & DRRA should do it in every year and play a vital role regarding the issue.