Submitted by: Institute Of Hazrat Mohammad (SAW)
Categories: Human Rights
Posted: Nov 09, 2009 – 12:43 PM EST
BANGLADESH, Nov. 09 /CSRwire/ - The Institute of Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) organized a discussion session entitled Empowering Women: Transforming Disabilities to Abilities. The colloquium was conducted by Ms. Rokeya Haider, Managing Editor, Bangla Service at Voice of America. Participated by visually impaired youth that consisted of students of the Institute's English language and computer skills capacity building course and from other educational institutions it was a lively platform for exchange of views and sharing experiences. Ms. Lauren Lovelace, Director, The American Centre Dhaka and Ms. Sonia Panni, President SAARC Women's Association were the discussants in the program. The event was organized as a precursor to the International Day for persons with Disability 2009 on the theme of: "Realizing the MDGs for All: Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities and Their Communities around the World". The topic reflected upon the issue of women's empowerment and its intensive implementation towards poverty alleviation and ensuring security of basic human rights in accordance to the Millennium Development Goals.
Through the exchange of views on queries whether there are legislative processes in place in the country for the excercise of basic rights of people with disability the audience were informed that these laws are not properly implemented. All the participants agreed that society generally discriminates girls and social role playing is vibrant in terms of realizing the rights of boys over that of the girls. The participants voiced their grievances that although the government of Bangladesh has a well definied Disability Welfare Act but people with disability do not find equal education, mobility and employment opportunities. They are alienated from mainstream population socio-culturally and economically. Ms. Lovelace from the American Centre expressed that the visually impaired youth in the room have tremendous oratory abilities that can be utilised as means of reaching out and for ICT related employment opportunities.
Ms. Haider engaged the youth and the other participants that included Barrister Rizwana Yusuf, Director Admin; Ms. Mahjabeen K. Hossain, Director Program, Ms. Faatin Haq, Director/Researcher and Ms. Mehnaz Faisal, Member of the Institute to reflect on the issue through the experiences of everyday challenges that the visually impaired youth faced. Barrister Cynthia Farid from the American Bar Association and Ms. Habiba T. Chowdhury, national consultant for Save the Children USA contributed to the discussion on women's empowerment and its effect in terms of reducing the discrimination and marginalization of people with disability.
The general consensus was that society needs more awareness and orientation on the rights of persons with disability to display minimum respect for their dignity. Additionally, concerns were raised about the discrimination that these visually impaired youth faced within the community and for accessing education and health facilities. They agreed that through the English language and Computer skills training program of the Institute of Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) these visually impaired youth are able to access information through the internet, the radio and other channels that use English as main language. The process has helped them to learn about the progress on establishing the rights of people with disability. Of special emphasis was the concept of 3P's - the public-private partnership in implementing the rule of law and policy for eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities and establishing their citizens rights.
Additionally, media's role was expounded upon by Barrister Rizwana Yusuf for mass campaign and education to bridge the comprehension gap about the needs of the people with disability, types of disability and how its regressive socio-economic impact at the individual, family and community level can be diminished. Furthermore, Ms. Haider and Ms. Lovelace made the gathering aware of the scope of self actualization of people with disabilities in USA and how the public-private processes through complaince ensures mainstreaming the rights of the people with disability.
The proceedings of the discussion would be aired in the VOA program and through the American Center dissemination processes. Ms. Lovelace invited all the participants to visit the American Center to widen the scope of their learning processes. This was a humble endeavor of the Institute that expresses its solidarity with the International day for persons with Disability each year and propounds on the theme towards establishing basic rights. The event was rounded off with group photo session.