Every political party contesting the next general elections should include the issue of bringing physically challenged people into the mainstream of the development, ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir said on Thursday.
Physically challenged people have different demands and realities, and the commitment to unite them for development cannot be made without considering their demands, she said.
The call came at the inauguration programme of the country’s first online database of persons with disabilities in Shahrasti upazila, Chandpur.
The programme was held at the National Press Club, jointly organised by ActionAid and Young Power in Social Action (YPSA).
Farah Kabir cited “absence of correct statistics” as the main barrier to bring people with disabilities in the mainstream of development.
She said, “Statistics is the main element for implementing development projects and allocating money to improve the lives of psychically challenged people. The government has started a National Physically Challenged Census 2013-16. The field work will be completed in two months.
“Through this census we are hoping to get accurate statistics of physically challenged persons to implement development activities,” she added.
Awami League lawmaker Rafiqul Islam Bir Uttam said: “Poverty is the cause and effect of disability. Most of the psychically challenged people are poor or extremely poor.”
In 2010, he, along with AAB and YPSA, took the initiatives for creating an online database on disabled people.
The MP suggested that the government should change school syllabi to make students aware of disabilities.
“They can get their rights if every citizen becomes aware of them,” he added.
Vashkar Bhattcharia, program manager of YPSA, said: “We are working with the government in conducting the census.”
On August 19, government sent a letter to all NGOs asking for help in conducting the survey.
The website for the database (www.survey.ypsa.org) is open for all.