Tangible developments towards the well-being of PwDs are yet to be seen
An estimated 20 million people with disability live in Bangladesh, and we, as a nation, certainly cannot afford to neglect the needs of this population.
Making the world a better place for persons with disability is not merely a matter of social justice, fairness, and equity -- though that is certainly part of the story. The fact is, ensuring greater disability rights is also good for the economy, and makes a nation stronger in every way.
The National Council of Disabled Women (NCDW) is right to demand disability rights and protection committees all over the country, since, as things currently stand, disability rights are not at all ensured, at least in rural and semi-urban parts of the country.
Some six years ago, the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act 2013 was passed, and tangible developments towards the well-being of PwDs are yet to be seen.
It is not surprising that disability is so far down in our agenda, as we are dealing with so many seemingly larger problems, but this is a problem in our attitude which we need to address.
Many in Bangladesh still harbour the outdated mind-set that somehow disability makes a person a lesser member of society, or economically unproductive. This is certainly not the case, and the stigma hurts us all.
By providing the right kind of infrastructure, for example wheelchair ramps, we can help PwDs access the facilities and services they need to flourish. PwDs can make stellar contributions in fields ranging from information technology to statecraft, from diplomacy to arts and culture.
Let us work to break unfair and damaging stereotypes so we can all reach our full potential, helping the economy along the way.