Handicap International works in Bangladesh to encourage the inclusion of the most vulnerable by supporting access to services (notably rehabilitation and economic inclusion) for all people with disabilities, wherever this is possible. The organisation is particularly active in the areas of physical rehabilitation and providing access to high quality mobility aids in the remotest parts of the country.
Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalised groups in the country and very few attend school. As an invisible and stigmatised group, they are more exposed to abuse, exploitation and negligence. In order to make them more visible and improve their living conditions, Handicap International is promoting their access to education by facilitating their enrolment and providing them with school equipment. The organisation also trains teachers to use adapted educational tools which enable children with disabilities to follow lessons. Handicap International also organises sports and leisure activities to promote their well-being and inclusion in society.
The organisation takes action to ensure that adults with disabilities have access to rehabilitation care and are able to do work which gives them financial independence and means they are better accepted within their communities. This work lifts households out of, often very extreme, poverty.
Handicap International notably works with two camps of Rohingya refugees (an ethnic group from Myanmar). The organisation ensures people with disabilities living in the camps and neighbouring villages receive rehabilitation care, while also encouraging their social and economic inclusion.
The country is experiencing positive, continuous, but unequal growth, often to the detriment of worker safety, particularly in the textiles sector. The tragic collapse of a nine-floor production factory, Rana Plaza, in April 2013, leaving 2,000 injured and a thousand dead, illustrates the negligence of some private entrepreneurs. Handicap International has supported people with disabilities in the wake of this tragedy by providing therapeutic support and facilitating access to employment.
Every year, the people of Bangladesh are affected by major natural disasters. The first victims include people who are vulnerable due to a disability or their age. When carrying out its disaster management and risk reduction work, Handicap International ensures that the most vulnerable people are included in local relief efforts.
Finally, Handicap International provides information on disability to different actors (political leaders, researchers, students, people with disabilities etc.) in accessible and practical forms to promote the rights of people with disabilities. To this end, the organisation provides support for a disability resource centre and is encouraging the establishment of an online network accessible to everyone.