How Inclusive This 4th Industrial Revolution is or Shall We Wait For 5th One?
At the age of twenty, I watched ‘Forrest Gump’ and it left a lasting impression with me. A few years later, I came across ‘My Left Foot’ and read autobiographies of Helen Keller and Stephen Hawking. These inspiring stories developed a sense of responsibility in me to work for the habitually uncared-for marginalized group of our society — those with ‘disabilities’ whom I prefer to call ‘differently able.’ Because I believe there should not be norm in the way things are done, but there should always be opportunities to do things differently.
In 2003, I started serving as a volunteer under the entitled project of British Council ‘Beyond borders” and worked closely with this vulnerable and excluded group of people; as I found out that our society is not flexible and supportive towards this marginalized community. It also made me understand that achieving sustainable development won’t become a reality without the social inclusion and empowerment people living with disabilities. So, I searched for ways to help these people.
Visiting the USA on a ‘US Study Initiative’ supported by the US Department of State, in 2007, was a life-changing experience for me as the idea of community service I found there moved me. After returning to Bangladesh, I was looking for opportunities to make an impact on the lives of these challenged people and came up with a plan to empower them with IT (Information Technology) skills. The year 2013 was the time when I initiated ‘Project IT for Differently Able’ with a grant from the US Department of State and turned my dream into reality. The project aims to pass on technological education and skills to people with disabilities. I believe technology will give them a voice, help them connect with the world and become independent.
Falguny is one of the physically challenged participants from the southern part of Bangladesh, who has developed fast computer operating skills without having her two wrists. She was dreaming to be in a university and finally she made it
Ryad, a student suffering from deafness attaints all objectives when given a task and is very responsive. Saydeur’s and Ratul ‘s determination has never made them late for classes though he travels from outside Dhaka every single day. Rajon is another great example of courage who attends classes with the support of his crutches. These people are the source of my strength and inspiration now. I strongly believe — ‘If you have the idea and vision to change the world, yes! You can.’
The year 2013 was the time when I initiated ‘Project IT for Differently Able’ with a grant from the US Department of State and turned my dream into reality. The project aims to pass on technological education and skills to people with disabilities. I believe technology will give them a voice, help them connect with the world and become independent.
and our team was particularly concerned about that if we want to engage female in IT sector where they can work very easily being at home that can be one of the factors to motivate the parents as it will take time to engage them outwards and risk would be there not only being a woman but also as disable and we targeted at that point even though IT sector and ratio of Female engagement do have a vast and major gender gap in Bangladesh where female are not encouraged to be in technical sector in terms of study and employment whereas teaching and doctor is a common phenomenon.
The parents are really not hopeful about their children in terms of disability as well as they are not conscious and in most of the cases the systematic exclusion by state and society is not motivating them. The teachers are not that much motivating and the hardest part is that regarding employing them none is ready to take the risk being patient to face the challenges and do believe in their potentiality that “Yes They Can Do”.
The most severe problem we assessed that due to unfriendly transportation system and transportation most of the female are unable to join the classes and do continue their study being differently able as society itself imposed it on them in terms of disability and I could hardly manage the gender equity and equality ratio in terms of training due to lack of this support as we could not provide any alternative transportation solution for them.
In most of the cases we did a campaign like phone to phone or you can say door to door as well as face to face by visiting the Institutions, talking to the parents and teachers and especially regarding female students we required to assure them the safety and security as we selected a mixed group.
Corporate social responsibility based organizations showed zero percent interest as we were struggling to manage a venue for training and the venue charge was high apart from the budget and most of the leading organization who are working for the rights of disable community did not response when we did urge them to select participants for training and in most of the cases they would directly ask us about how much is the conveyance and money for food and attendance which left us under uncertainty to initiate anything further.
Empowering disable but in this era we do consider them differently able by following the inclusive policy