Handicap International has been working in Bangladesh since 1997 to ensure that people with disabilities are integrated into society and that their rights are upheld.
© Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Handicap International works in Bangladesh to encourage the inclusion of the most vulnerable people by supporting their access to services (notably rehabilitation and economic inclusion) and inclusion in society.
Handicap International notably works with two camps of Rohingya refugees (an ethnic group from Myanmar). The organisation ensures people with disabilities living in the camps and neighbouring villages receive rehabilitation care, while also encouraging their social and economic inclusion.
Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalised groups in the country and very few attend school. As an invisible and stigmatised group, they are more exposed to abuse, exploitation and negligence. Since 2016 and for a period of four years, the organisation’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
The organisation takes action to ensure that adults with disabilities have access to rehabilitation care and are able to do work which gives them financial independence and means they are better accepted within their communities.
Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Bangladesh is located in South Asia, it is surrounded by the mighty India to the east and west and has a shared border with Myanmar (formerly Burma) to the south. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that more than 49.6% of its population lives below the poverty threshold (less than $1.25 a day). Its population density is one of the highest in the world with 1,218 inhabitants/km².
Despite strong growth, significant inequality persists. Economic growth is held back by recurrent natural disasters (cyclones and devastating floods), monsoons (five months per year), and internal factors (such as corruption). Every year, between 50% and 70% of the land is submerged under water, swallowing harvests, homes and livestock.
Around 30,000 NGOs work in the country in a wide range of fields, including social development, education, rights, microcredit, health and legal issues. Among these NGOs, around 300 work with people with disabilities. Most of these are very small organisations of local people with disabilities, and often have a very limited reach. One of Handicap International's key actions in Bangladesh, therefore, consists of building the capacities of these disabled people’s organisations.