Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said support and services centre will be set up in every upazila across the country for the specially-abled people.
“Now, there’re 103 support and service centres –- 64 at district and 39 upazila levels --for the persons with disabilities in the country. There’s also an autism corner in each centre. We’ll set up such centre in every upazila,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a function marking the 28th International and the 21st National Day of Persons with Disabilities 2019 in the city’s Mirpur-14 area.
She also inaugurated newly-constructed Jatiya Protibondhi Complex, 'Subarno Bhaban', on the premises of National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons (Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation) there.
This year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is being observed with the theme "The Future is Accessible".
The Prime Minister stressed the need for the introduction of special trainings in the country to make the persons with disabilities self-dependent.
“In many countries, a person with disabilities is imparted with special trainings so that he or she can move on his or her own. Such training can be brought through Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation…if we can take initiatives to some extent, he or she won’t need to remain dependent on others in many cases,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has been working to ensure the rights of the persons with all types of disabilities.
She said the government will make arrangements for providing training and sport facilities, and jobs for the specially-abled community in every upazila.
The Prime Minister also directed the Social Welfare Ministry to take a project in this regard finding out its own lands for that.
Immediately after the independence of the country, she said, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had provided huge lands to the Social Welfare Ministry across the country, where more institutions can be set up.
Noting that she has already given directives to the ministry to find out the lands, she said, “We’ll arrange training, sports and games, other facilities and even employment in district and upazila levels for our persons with disabilities. We’ve such plan.”
Sheikh Hasina differed with a demand to turn Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnayan Foundation into a directorate saying that if it remains as a foundation, it’ll get financial donation even from private organizations.
“If the foundation is turned into a directorate, the government officers will be benefited as there’ll some posts for them. But I can’t say how much benefits it’ll bring for the persons with disabilities,” she said.
Talking about autism, the Prime Minister said her daughter Saima Wazed Hossain, who is the chairperson of National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopmental disorders, has been able to create awareness about neurodevelopment disorders and autism at home and abroad through her hard-works.
Nothing that there was no such awareness in the country, Hasina said, “We’ve been trying to make people aware that autism or disabilities is neither sickness nor disease.”
“The most essential matter is that our mindset has to be changed. We took lessons from our childhood not to call blind (Kana) as blind or not to call dumb as dumb. So, the young children will have to be taught this lesson in schools,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that her government enacted the Persons with Neuro Developmental Disabled Protection Trust Law 2013 and Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2015.
The Prime Minister distributed awards among successful persons with disabilities, parents, caregivers, social activists and organisations for their contributions to the society particularly the disabilities.
The Subarno Bhaban was constructed in order to ensure the empowerment and rehabilitation of the disabled community. Altogether, 300 boys and 300 girls with disabilities will be rehabilitated with residential, education, treatment and training facilities in the 15-storey complex.
Presided over by Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, the function was also addressed by State Minister for Social Welfare Sharif Ahmed, Social Welfare Senior Secretary Zuena Aziz, president of Jatiyo Protibondi Forum Sayedul Haque and visually impaired Ferdousi Akter.
Zuena Aziz, in her welcome speech, said some 16 lakh persons with disabilities are getting different allowances in the country.