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Caritas marks national day for disabled

Events across country remind Bangladeshis to care more for those with disabilities

Caritas marks national day for disabled
Disabled people participate in a rally to mark National Day for Disable Persons in Mymensingh
Sumon Nongmin, Mymensingh

April 7, 2011

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Church social arm Caritas yesterday reminded able-bodied people in Bangladesh to care more for those less fortunate, with several events across the country marking National Day for Disabled Persons. Hundreds of physically and mentally handicapped people attended rallies, discussion meetings and cultural functions under the theme “Committed to the Development of the Autistic and Physically Disabled”. About 100 people with special needs attended a special program organized by Caritas’ Development Initiatives for People with Disabilities (DIPD) project in Haluaghat, in Mymensingh district. Some participants lamented that even though they have qualifications or skills, they sometimes feel they are undervalued in society and the workplace. “I was refused admission at school when I was child. It was so disappointing, but I didn’t give up and pursued my studies anyway,” said Hosne Ara, 23, a Muslim girl, who has a crippled leg. She believes many disabled people across country are often deprived of their rights, but that things could be changing for the better. “I’m thankful to Christian institutions, especially Caritas who came to my aid and found a job for me,” she said “They are a voice for the rights of the disabled and now the government and other NGOs are coming round too,” she added. Wahab Mian, 53, who makes handicrafts with the support of Caritas, said he has had better experiences. “Typhoid rendered my only leg numb when I was five and I don’t consider myself mistreated by society. But I think disabled people need more support from the government and NGOs,” he said. According to Caritas DIPD officer Altus Nokrek, around 10% of Bangladesh’s population has a disability. The DIPD project offers educational support, vocational training and livelihood assistance for disabled people. BA13890.1648

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