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Dhaka Tribune

National event marks end of ‘Futuremakers’ project, unveils key findings on disability employment

  • Project aimed to support youth with disabilities in labour market 
  • Aligns with UN’s global initiative for decent jobs for youth
Update : 28 May 2024, 09:02 PM

The “Futuremakers” project, funded by the Standard Chartered Foundation, concluded with a national closing event held on Tuesday at the Brac Centre Inn, Dhaka.

This project aimed to support youth with disabilities in the labour market by providing technical skills, employability training, career guidance, and job placements.

As part of Standard Chartered Bank’s global initiative to tackle inequality and promote economic inclusion for young people, the project aligns with the UN’s global initiative for decent jobs for youth.

Sightsavers and the Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN), in collaboration with three local organizations of people with disabilities—Manikganj Disabled People’s Organization to Development, Narayanganj Sadar Upazila Protibondhi Unnayan Parishad, and Tangail Disabled People’s Organization to Development—implemented the 21-month-long Futuremakers project starting in July 2022.

The project operated in Manikganj, Narayanganj, and Tangail districts, supporting 720 men and women with disabilities to acquire new skills and enhance their employment prospects or start their own businesses without needing to relocate.

The closing ceremony was graced by Salauddin Mahmud, managing director (acting) of SME Foundation, as the chief guest, and Shahanaj Pervin, joint director, SME and Special Programs Department at Bangladesh Bank, as the special guest.

Other esteemed guests included Md Salim Hossen, deputy director (Activities) at the National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons, Ministry of Social Welfare, and Md Alamgir Hossain, assistant manager of Policy Advocacy at SME Foundation.

The project findings revealed that youth with disabilities in Bangladesh are significantly less likely to be employed or work in suitable conditions compared to their peers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this precarious situation.

Chief guest Salauddin Mahmud said: “SME Foundation prioritizes women and youth entrepreneurs in our programming, and we closely worked with the Futuremakers project to identify areas of collaboration, especially in addressing the disability gaps in the SME Policy 2019”.

Amrita Rejina Rozario, Sightsavers Bangladesh Country Director and chair of the event, remarked: “The Futuremakers project has been an eye-opener for disability inclusion in the employment sector in Bangladesh. It has adopted a multifaceted approach, from providing training to orienting family members of people with disabilities and employers”.

Utpal Mallick, the manager of the Futuremakers project, presented the keynote address and Khandoker Shohel Rana, advocacy and communications coordinator at Sightsavers moderated the event that also included the dissemination of findings from the study “Transition into formal employment for youth with disabilities in Bangladesh,” conducted by Sightsavers.

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