Little accommodations for students with disabilities

December 31, 2011

Accommodation facilities for people with disabilities,  are too inadequate to cope with their growing number hampering their mainstreaming in the society.
Bangladesh Pratibandhi Kalyan Sangstha programme coordinator Azmal Hossain said that there were 16 lakh children with disabilities for whom the government needed to set up a large number of residential educational institutions.
He said that the 2011 census estimated Bangladesh’s disabled population at 1.29 crore and if the government did not take initiatives for welfare of the growing number of people with disabilities, they would be a burden of the society.
People with disabilities, who live in remote areas and who come to the capital for education or job, confront accommodation problem first of all, said Shirin Akhter, chairperson of South Asia Disability Forum.
She said that in Dhaka city residential education facilities for children with disabilities were far from adequate.
Shirin said that only Jatiya Pratibandhi Unnayan Foundation provide seats free of cost for some disabled people.
An official of the foundation at Mirpur said that many disabled children seek admission there ‘but most of them return frustrated as we have a limited number of seats here.’
Six-year-old mentally challenged Tamim came to the foundation school for admission but there was no vacant seat, said his grandmother Tahura on Wednesday.
She said, ‘I took the boy to many private institutions but a poor woman like me cannot afford the cost and people advised me to approach this foundation but they told me there was no seat available.’
The foundation managing director, Gazi Mohammad Nurul Kabir told New Age that it foundation provides food, lodging, special education and training to 30 hearing impaired children, 30 visually impaired and 30 mentally challenged children.
The foundation runs two hostels for working women and men with disabilities, which have 16 seats for men and 12 for women, he said.
The foundation provides residential facilities for children of age group 7-16 and it has a plan to increase the number of seats for children with disabilities, he added.
The president of National Forum of Organisations Working with the Disabled, Khandaker Jahurul Alam said it is very difficult for physically challenged children to attend classes at an institution which is far away from their locality.
He said that 66 per cent of the children with disabilities stay in rural areas and they hardly have access to education due to limited number of schools and the society’s attitude towards them.
Government-run zila schools have 10 seats each for visually impaired children, which provides education for 640 such students, he said.
Jahurul Alam also said that new public institutions should be made accessible to people with disabilities.
Masuma Akhter, director institution of the Department of Social Services, said that the government is planning to provide residential facilities for visually impaired children studying in 37 zila government schools.

-With New Age input

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