In 2007 Sense International joined forces with the Dhaka-based Centre for Disability in Development, to create Bangladesh’s first ever programme of services for children with deafblindness. Before this, deafblindness was not recognised as a disability by the Government of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest developing countries and it is estimated that there are 100,000 people with deafblindness living there, in extreme isolation, with little or no support. Families of children with deafblindness are often stigmatised, and rejected by their communities, due to having a child with a disability, and they themselves do not know how to support them effectively.
We work with government and education institutions to improve people with deafblindness’ access to appropriate education and home based support.
- Since we started, we have offered home-based education and rehabilitation to over 650 children and 50 adults with deafblindness in rural areas of Bangladesh with each child following an Individual Education Plan which sets targets and allows our Deafblind Field Educators to track progress. We work closely in partnership with parents so that their child with deafblindness can develop communication, self-help and mobility skills.
- We have set up deafblind services 16 districts and 28 specialist Deafblind Field Educators (DFE) have been trained to work with deafblind people.
- We have introduced Bangla sign language, a tactile communication method for people with deafblindness.
- We have raised awareness of deafblindness with over 150 teachers so they understand the unique needs of children with deafblindness.
We have trained 4 vocational training instructors, in 4 districts, on deafblindness, so that they can ensure necessary adaptations required to train/enrol people with deafblindness in vocational institutions.
Our trained educators work with young adults with deafblindness and their families so that they can learn work skills.
For example, a man with deafblindness was suffering from a lack of confidence and other social difficulties. With support from us he now works confidently in a small shop. Another young woman helps out at her family’s plant nursery.
We work with parent groups and organisations in 16 districts to support families and help them fight for their children’s rights – and we have raised awareness of deafblindness in more than 400 disability organisations.
- As a result of our strong advocacy, deafblindness has been included in the government’s draft Disability Bill.
- As a result of working closely with the Ministry of Health, one-stop services for people with disabilities have been introduced by the Department of Social Welfare.
- As a result of advocacy with the Ministry of Social Welfare, one-stop service centres for people with disabilities have been implemented in 61 districts of Bangladesh, where people with deafblindness can get support.
- The Ministry of Disaster Management, which supports people affected by flood, now also supports families with a person with deafblindness.
- Following continuous advocacy with the Department of Youth and Sports Development a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between CDD and the Department of Youth Development. As an outcome of this MOU, people with deafblindness will be able to receive training from government vocational institutions under their remit.
- We have worked with parent groups and organisations in 16 districts to support families and help them fight for their children's rights.
- We worked on a prime time TV documentary that explained our work with people with deafblindness and we have raised awareness of deafblindness in more than 400 disability organisations.
Our work in Bangladesh has achieved a lot since 2007, however there are still tremendous challenges, however the ‘Leave no one behind’ principle of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is driving our work forwards. We will focus on…
- Transforming and removing barriers to inclusive learning for children with deafblindness through a new programme focused on identifying ‘What works’ in terms of including children with deafblindness in mainstream schools.
- Building the capacity and infrastructure of our partners to be able to provide intensive support for people with deafblindness, including the development of two Regional Resource Centres serving as hubs of knowledge and information.
- Raising awareness of the unique challenges faced by people with deafblindness and their families and promoting an inclusive environment where people with deafblindness and their families have equal access to services and opportunities for a better quality of life.
- Empowering and training government officials so that they understand and support the needs of people with deafblindness and are better equipped to ensure the rights of people with deafblindness are realised in legislation and implementation plans.
When Morium was first identified aged 9, deteriorating eyesight and hearing loss meant that she was on the verge of being taken out of school. Today, aged sixteen, with the intervention of Sense International, Morium has become one of the first children with deafblindness in Bangladesh to pass her primary school exams. She has grown into a confident young woman, with friends and a bright future.
My Turn to Learn is a life-changing programme of inclusive education and vocational training in Bangladesh. All donations between 18 October 2017 to 17 January 2018 are matched by the UK government.
Find out more about Morium and the 'My Turn to Learn' campaign.
Contact Sense International (India)
In Bangladesh, Sense International work through our lead partner - Centre for Disability in Development (CDD). All enquiries should be directed to Sense International (India) below.
Sense International (India)
2nd Floor, Administrative Block
Andhjan Mandal Campus
Opp. Indian Institute of Management (IIM)
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad - 380 015
Tel: +91 79 2630 1282
Fax: +91 79 2630 1590
First published: Thursday 27 June 2013
Last updated: Tuesday 9 January 2018