Inclusive development initiatives essential for persons with disability


Speakers at an event on Monday said inclusive development initiatives are essential to address the challenges that persons with disabilities face to maintain dignified livelihoods, access education, and participate in community activities.

They made the remarks while addressing a daylong training programme on “Disability and Digital Inclusion” for journalists at Dhaka Reporters Unity. Social purpose organisation Friendship organised the event in collaboration with Aspire to Innovate (a2i) of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division.

Ayesha Taasin Khan, Senior Director & Head of Inclusive Citizenship, Friendship, was the chief guest of event while Morsalin Nomani, president of Dhaka Reporter’s Unity, and Ahmed Toufiqur Rahman, assistant director of Friendship, also spoke. The event was interpreted in sign language by Arafat Sultana Lata.

There were eleven sessions at the training. National Consultant of a2i Vashkar Bhattacharjee was the resource person of the training while the director of Friendship Netherlands Betteke de Gaay Fortman, assistant general manager of Friendship Nusrat Zerin, team leader Abu Mohammad Shihab and technical lead Nusrat Zerin conducted the sessions.

Speaking about the goal of training, Ahmed Toufiqur Rahman, assistant director of Friendship, said the event aimed to improve the capacities and skills on reporting disability issues in Bangladesh as well as equip the newspersons with basic knowledge of disability issues, needs and rights of persons with disabilities and the importance of their inclusion in all sectors for ensuring sustainability.

Morsalin Nomani, president of Dhaka Reporter’s Unity, said, “Nowadays, we see persons with disability becoming very successful and inspiring to us. We must work for the development of the persons with disabilities and bring them under the inclusion of technology to make their life easier.” Morsalin Nomani thanked Friendship and a2i for organising this training for journalists.

Chief guest Ayesha Taasin Khan discussed about the activities of Friendship’s disability project in northern chars of Gaibandha and Kurigram districts in Bangladesh including the global practices and prevalence in the session.

Persons with disabilities living in the northern hard-to-reach, climate-impacted chars of Bangladesh regularly face multiple challenges, including stigma, discrimination and lack of access to basic need-based services, she added.

Ayesha Taasin Khan further said due to cultural and social norms, persons with disabilities are often ostracized and seen as a burden on their families and communities, As a result, persons with disabilities in the northern chars of Bangladesh find it challenging to maintain dignified livelihoods, access education, and participate in community activities. To address these challenges, inclusive development initiatives are essential.


The disability project of Friendship is supported by the donor agency Ineke Feitz-Stichting and Friendship Netherlands is working to improve the living conditions and situation among families of persons with disabilities and change the behaviour of community people towards them.

Asked about how this training would help in their profession, one of the participants Shahnaj Pervin Alice, special correspondent at Daily Sangbad Sarabela, told Prothom Alo, “This training opened an opportunity to learn on how much we know and how much we don’t know about disability issue, and what issues. We, the journalists, should address on disability as well.”

“We must highlight how persons with disability are shining in various sectors of the society and the state and they are not burdens. We must work more,” she said adding, it will not be possible to fulfill the goal of building a 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041 unless people from all strata, in particular, persons with disability, are brought under the digital inclusion.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, another participant Habib Rahman, senior reporter at Ekattor TV, said, “We, the journalists, hardly know the fact that persons with disability can easily start a new life using technologies. If technology can be made accessible to these people, they will surely make a significant contribution to the society and will no longer become a burden.”

“Yet there are some lackings like when any disaster hits an area it will be the persons with disability who will often be left behind. If a disaster announcement is made, for example, how the persons with hearing impairment will be informed. All technological advantages must be accessible to all persons with disability to help them become self-reliant,” he said adding, if these persons with disability remain left behind from availing any service, how Bangladesh would fulfil the goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aims the inclusion of people of all strata.

A political will is necessary to make it happen and authorities and stakeholders concerned must step forward, Habib Rahman recommended.

The event concluded with distributing certificates among the participants.