With the theme 'All Children Are Welcome to School, Including Children with Disability`, eight thousand students, with disabilities and without disabilities, of 29 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 (CwD) from going to school. In line with the 'We Ring the Bell' programme, a global campaign of education pioneered by Lilliane Fonds, an organization based in the Netherland, this extra-ordinary campaign is organized in Bangladesh by its strategic partner Disabled Rehabilitation and Research Association (DRRA) and its 19 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, 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 in the events.
To create enabling environment for CwD to come to school, participants, particularly, policy makers by positioning in a circle, circulated their message and commitment amongst different persons and organizations, one after another in round with ringing the bell.
To increase the supporter of the campaign and action points in the manifesto, signature campaign has also been running side by side of the other programme in online and offline. In the forewords of the manifesto it is stated that `9 Out Of 10 Children With a Disability Are Not Welcome to School 'which is more than 33,000,000 children throughout the world. And whilst all these children would just as much like to go to school, but are not able or allowed to, or do not dare to. Countries have mutually agreed that it should be possible for all children to go to school no matter what. So this includes children with a disability. But precisely this vulnerable group is commonly left behind at home. And if we don’t act, will also be left behind in life'.
The 10 Action Urgent Action Points in the manifesto are: All children want to be able to reach school: Provide children with a disability (adapted) transport to school; All children want to be able to enter and pass through the school: Make school buildings, furniture and grounds accessible for children with a disability; All children want to be able to visit the restroom; Provide an adapted restroom at every school for children with a disability; All children want to receive ‘honest’ education: Adapt lessons and rules for children with a disability; All children want to play: Allow children with a disability to participate in sports and games at school; All children want friends: Teach children how they can be there for children with a disability.; All children want parents to help: Stand up as parents for children with a disability; All children want good guidance: Train teachers how they can better council children with a disability; All children want positive attention: Children with a disability have the right to go to school; and All children want to just be a kid: Let children with a disability advance and enjoy.
To support the campaign and manifesto, almost seven thousand people already signed up offline. This signature campaign will continue throughout the year by DRRA and partners. Anyone can sign up the manifesto in offline by contacting DRRA and its partner organizations and for online, it is requesting all please stand up for CwD by signing the manifesto at www.welcometoschool.org.
Notably, 'We Ring the Bell' is an yearly campaign of Lilliane Fonds to protect the right of CwD, which is observed in 50 countries worldwide. DRRA has been arranging this programme since 2010.