Author: Tim Tyson Short and Caroline Noble
CSID received a STARS Foundation Impact Award for its pioneering work with disabled children amongst some of the poorest communities in Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, where over 20 per cent of the population is disabled, only 4 per cent of disabled children are estimated to be accessing basic education, recreation and leisure activities, and at least 80 per cent live in low-income families. This marginalised group is excluded from mainstream development plans, both within government and the NGO sector. As a result, many of these children face a life stigmatised and shamed of their disability, or forced to work on the streets as a source of income for their families.
Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID) fights for the inclusion of disabled people in society and promotes their equal rights. CSID targets the most vulnerable children within this marginalised group, such as those living on the streets in slums and in rural areas, as well as those with severe degrees of disability and/or with no access to education and recreation activities.
To overcome social exclusion and discrimination, CSID works closely with the school authorities, local government, community and businesses to provide access to health and rehabilitation services, education, recreation, vocational training and decent employment. CSID also aims to influence national policy and legislation so that it is more reflective and representative of the rights of disabled people and children.
CSID have enhanced the mobility and functional ability of over 900 disabled children who now participate in CSID’s programmes. Following attendance at CSID operated pre-school centres, where children with and without disabilities learn together, 650 disabled children have been enrolled in mainstream schools, with a 95 per cent retention rate. In addition, seven self-advocacy groups of disabled children have been created, and the government is steadily changing its approach to disability, evidenced by the introduction of an education stipend for children with disabilities and the incorporation of disability issues in National Education Policy. A marked increase in wider community acceptance and interaction has also been noted, as well as higher levels of accountability and care within families.