Access to education, employment facilities for people with visual impairment demanded
Terming education and employment facilities as the key factors for empowering visually impaired people, rights activists at a discussion called for empowering them by ensuring their access to the two things.
Bangladesh has persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013, which stressed on ensuring their access to education and employment, they said.
There are about 1.3 million people with visual impairment in the country. Mainly economically backward section, they need necessary support for their empowerment, the activists observed while addressing a consultation meeting titled ‘Marrakesh Treaty Accession and Way Forward’ at the auditorium of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics at Agargaon in the capital.
Visually Impaired People’s Society (VIPS), an organization working for welfare of visually impaired people, organized the event in collaboration with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) and Sightsavers Bangladesh on Tuesday afternoon.
Supreme Court lawyer Musherraf Hossain Majumder, who is visually impaired, said people with disabilities want to take part in the country’s development activities. They should be given opportunity and their capacities and knowledge should be utilized. All concerned should play their due role in this regard, he said.
Musherraf, also an advisor of VIPS, stressed on creating proper working atmosphere for the visually impaired people, and the scope of their activities should be expanded. The Disabilities Protection Act should be implemented properly, he said, calling on the mass media to highlight the issue.
Nazrana Yeasmin Hira, Programme Coordinator of MJF, supported the issue of empowerment, adding that MJF would extend necessary support to any initiative aimed at ensuring the rights of people with disabilities.
Khandaker Jahurul Alam, Executive Director of Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID), stressed on improving the economic condition of the differently-abled people.
While moderating the event, Jahangir Alam, General Secretary of VIPS, lauded Bangladesh’s ratification to Marrakesh Treaty, saying that necessary steps should now be taken for reflecting the Treaty into our Copyright Act.
Bangladesh on Sept 26, 2022 ratified the Treaty. By ratifying the treaty, Bangladesh became the 116th nation in the world to sign the agreement to improve the access to books and reading for the country's people with disabilities.
The Treaty’s implementation would generate interest and scope to education among the visually impaired people, he said, calling for taking necessary steps in this regard.
Mansur Ahmed Chowdhury, founder president of VIPS, called for raising mass awareness involving the mass media about the rights of differently-abled people. He hoped that our Copyright Act would be amended in light with the Marrakesh Treaty.
Ayon Debnath, Campaign Lead, Sightsavers Bangladesh, underscored on taking measures for social inclusion of differently-abled people for their empowerment.
At the event, VIPS also gave a reception to Md. Saidul Huq, Executive Director of Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organization (BERDO), for receiving ‘Ekushey Padak 2023’ for his contribution to social work.
In his address, Saidul Huq called for establishing a separate ministry on disability for protecting the rights of people with disabilities.
Daud Miah, Registrar of Copyrights, Bangladesh Copyright Office, who attended the event as the chief guest, stressed on ensuring the rights of visually impaired people, saying that none would be left behind in our effort to make Smart Bangladesh.
Chaired by Nasrin Jahan, President of VIPS, Bhaskar Bhattcharya, National consultant, Accessibility at a2i programme, ICT Division, Jafor Raja Chowdhury, former Registrar, Copyrights, Copyright Division, also spoke on the occasion.