Government authorities and media personnel need to take initiatives to make the people of the country more aware of the troubles of the visually challenged people.
Ministries need to give instructions to the locals on how they can help the disabled people and make this capital city a better place for everyone.
Executive Director of Blind Education and Rehabilitation Development Organisation (BERDO), Saidul Huq made the comments during his speech in an online discussion on “Challenges facing persons with visual disabilities and way forward” on Sunday afternoon. The meeting was organized jointly by Access Bangladesh Foundation and Bangladesh Post.
“City dwellers, especially the drivers and others who remain in the streets need to be instructed, so that they could effectively come to the aid of the people who are visually impaired,” said Saidul Huq.
He further requested the ministries concerned to take the initiative and other media personalities to create more awareness on the matter.
Sharif Shahab Uddin, Editor of the Bangladesh Post in his opening address appreciated the initiatives taken by the government, NGOs and volunteers to help the visually impaired people.
He said, “I believe that with the joint efforts of everyone we will make the life of white cane users easier and more peaceful. We hope to use our platform to work more for the disabled people in the future.”
Chairperson of Access Bangladesh Foundation CM Tufail Sami chaired the discussion. In his speech, he stressed the need for conducting a survey through union parishad on visually impaired persons and make arrangements for their training.
“The visually impaired people can bring about miracles if they are given the right opportunity. Even when they have the academic requirements, they are not given the opportunity. They should have the access to these opportunities including latest technologies,” he said.
Jakir Hossain, an elderly man who took the first initiative to produce Shadachari (white canes) on his own 32 years ago for himself and others, expressed his disappointment on the challenges he had to face in order to deal with his disability.
“White canes were either not available or very expensive. Hence, I decided to make them myself. Now I make canes and other objects such as abacus and chess boards for people like me,” he said.
Taslima Begum, a visually impaired person who has been struggling to find job shared her experience saying that visually impaired persons are the most neglected in terms of getting jobs.
“I have been looking for a job at organizations that provide employment opportunities to the persons with disabilities. However, I have observed that even among the other persons with disabilities, visually impaired people fall victim to discrimination,” she said.
Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, Director General of the Department of Social Services (DSS) was present on the occasion as the chief guest. The discussion was moderated by Albert Mollah, Co-founder and Executive Director of Access Bangladesh Foundation.
Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Program Manager of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Md Musherraf Hossain Mozumder, President of Blind Law graduate and Advocate Society and Farjana Najneen Tultul, Assistant Director of the National Human Rights Commission also took part in discussion.
Members of many social welfare groups along with media personnel attended the discussion.