Sightsavers, BBDN launch StanChart Foundation-financed project

Published : 24 Oct 2022 08:35 PM | Updated : 25 Oct 2022 06:17 PM

Sightsavers and Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN) on Monday launched a project that falls under the Futuremakers by Standard Chartered initiative, which will support youth with disabilities in the labour market by providing them with technical skills and employability training, career guidance and job placements. 

Sightsavers and BBDN, in association with three local organisations of people with disabilities, Manikganj Disabled People’s Organization to Development, Narayanganj SadarUpazila Protibondhi Unnayan Parishad and Tangail Disabled Peoples Organization to Development, have started delivering the 18-month long project from July 2022 in three districts, Manikganj, Narayanganj, and Tangail. 

By working under the framework of Futuremakers by Standard Chartered, Sightsavers and BBDN will support 720 women and men with disabilities to learn new skills and improve their chances of securing a job or starting their own enterprises, without needing to relocate from their homes.

Dr Md Mahfizur Rahman, Managing Director of SME Foundation, graced the national launching of Futuremakers as the chief guest. Ardashir Kabir, President of Bangladesh Employer’s Federation, was present as a special guest. Representatives from Standard Chartered Bangladesh, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Bangladesh Bank, private employing companies, organisations of people with disabilities (OPDs) among others attended the event. 

Amrita Rejina Rozario, Sightsavers Bangladesh Country Director, in her opening remarks  said when compared to their peers, youths with disabilities are much less likely to be employed or working in appropriate conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more helpless, she added. 

Speaking as the chief guest Dr Md Mahfizur Rahman said, “SME Foundation prioritises women and youth entrepreneurs in our programming, and we will tie up with Futuremakers by Standard Chartered to identify areas of joint collaboration especially identifying and providing training to youth with disabilities in the project districts.”

Futuremakers by Standard Chartered is the Bank’s global initiative to tackle inequality by promoting greater economic inclusion across markets. Futuremakers supports disadvantaged young people, especially girls and people with visual impairments, to learn new skills and improve their chances of getting a job or starting their own business. In 2021, Futuremakers programmes reached more than 304,000 young people, and more than 849,000 young people between 2019 and mid-2022 across 43 markets.  

Ardashir Kabir said even before the COVID-19 crisis, young people in Bangladesh were vulnerable in the labour market and faced barriers in their transition from education to employment. Despite increased access to education for youth, there remains a mismatch between the skills that the youth possess and the talents the businesses need, he added. 

Utpal Mallick, Project Manager at Sightsavers presented the keynote in the event whereas Ayon Debnath from Sightsavers made a presentation on Labour Market Assessment study report published by Sightsavers. Golam Kibria from BBDN moderated a panel discussion on creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Aziza Ahmed, Head of Operations at BBDN concluded the event with the vote of thanks.