Handicap International works to advance the long-term rights and social inclusion of people with disabilities. It is active in physical rehabilitation as well as providing access to quality services and support in isolated areas of the country. In addition, the organization works to improve the qualify of life in refugee camps. The organization employs 63 staff members and four expatriates to carry out its work in Bangladesh.
Handicap International has been working in Bangladesh since 1997. Bangladesh is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. According to UNHCR, as of February 2017, nearly 32,000 refugees live in Bangladesh. In 2011, the country had 150.5 million inhabitants; 15% of the population lives with a disability and 49.6% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. Of the nearly 30,000 NGOs working in the country, around 300 have worked with people with disabilities. As a result, one of Handicap International’s main actions is to build the capacities of local disabled people’s organizations.
- Improving quality of life in refugee camps
- Growing Together project
- Economic inclusion
- Natural disaster risk preparation
- Community based rehabilitation
Improving Quality of Life in Refugee Camps
People with disabilities and vulnerable populations living in refugee camps often face significant barriers to inclusion. Around 2,400 adults and children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups living in and around the Nayapara and Kutupalong camps are receiving rehabilitation services. Rehabilitation sessions enable residents to participate in social, economic, and educational activities.
Growing Together Project
Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalized groups in the country and very few attend school. As an invisible and stigmatized group, they are more exposed to abuse, exploitation, and negligence. Since 2016 and for a period of four years, the organization’s Growing Together project, supported by IKEA Foundation, will develop accessible and secure play areas for children in refugee camps in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This project will enable 13,000 children with and without disabilities to play, learn and grow up together in a secure and inclusive environment.
Handicap International empowers over 4,000 households of persons with disabilities to lift themselves out of poverty. This project provides support for those persons with disabilities to achieve functional autonomy and access to basic health and social services.
Natural Disaster Risk Preparation
This regional project in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka will help reduce the vulnerability of people living in areas worst affected by natural disasters. The project raises awareness and improves the intervention capacities of local authorities. This project represents the first initiative of its kind at an international level. Handicap International works with multiple partners to achieve effective inclusion of socially excluded groups such as women and people with disabilities.
Community Based Rehabilitation
Handicap International launched a regional project in 2011 involving Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, and Sri Lanka, which aims to strengthen the rehabilitation sector in South Asia. The project focuses on strengthening the skills of community-based rehabilitation professionals. In Bangladesh, 35 local community-based organizations have improved their knowledge of community-based rehabilitation. A total of 40 professionals in this sector have also been trained in six districts.
THESE PROJECTS ARE POSSIBLE THANKS TO HANDICAP INTERNATIONAL DONORS, AND THE FOLLOWING FUNDING BODIES:
Handicap International's previous projects in Bangladesh have included:
In partnership with Bangladesh Legal Aid Services (BLAST), Handicap International builds the capacities of national and local legal service providers in order to improve access to legal assistance for people with disabilities. Through awareness raising and advocacy actions, Handicap International works with disabled people's organizations to expand national knowledge of disability rights and ensure that Bangladesh fully implements the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Assistance to the Survivors of the Rana Plaza Collapse
As a result of the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Dhaka in 2013 (which caused 1,129 casualties and 2,515 injuries) Handicap International provides physical therapy to people with disabilities who were affected by the incident. The organization has also put in place a sustainable socio-economic recovery project that facilitates employment for those who lost their jobs as a result of the collapse. So far, 100 households including peoples who have sustained a disability during the Rana Plaza collapse have benefited from this project.
Disability Resource Center
The Dhaka Center for Services and Information on Disability (CSID) is providing people with disabilities internet access to promote the rights of people with disabilities. Handicap International is working with CSID to ensure that some 2,500 people with disabilities can access the data and share it with decision-makers, program directors, researchers, students, and other people with disabilities.