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Govt plans to take care of guardian-less disabled children

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Staff Reporter
Urging all not to neglect the disabled children rather to treat them with sympathy, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said that the government has a plan to form an institution that will take care of the country’s guardian-less disabled children for life.
“The State will act as the guardians of the guardian-less disabled children,” she said at a function, marking the 22nd International Day of Persons with Disabilities and 15th National Disabled Day 2013, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith spoke as special guest at the function chaired by State Minister for Social Welfare Adv Promod Mankin.
 Social Welfare Secretary Suraiya Begum gave the address of welcome while National Disabled Forum president Rajab Ali Khan Najib also spoke on the occasion.
Speaking as the chief guest, Hasina said the State could not discard the disabled children who are guardian-less or whose guardians are poor.
“It is the duty and responsibility of the State to ensure proper food, accommodation and treatment for them as well as to foster them throughout their life, and the State would act upon this responsibility,”
“I’ll urge all to come forward with sympathetic attitude towards the disabled people and children…they are our children,” she said and urged the teachers, students and guardians to create awareness about this and assist the disabled children.
The Prime Minister said that her government had always wanted to establish a discrimination-free society where there will be development of all sections of people and all would live with equal rights.
Mentioning that national development is not possible without participation of the persons with disability, she said that ensuring balanced development will be tougher if human rights on equal basis and the fundamental freedom are not ensured.
The theme of this year’s ‘National Disabled Day’ is ‘Badh Bhango, Duar Kholo; Ekibhuto Samaj Goro’ is time befitting, Hasina said, adding when the disabled people were provided with opportunity, they proved their mettle by bringing laurels for the country.
She said there is no alternative to uniting the society for protecting the rights and dignity of the disabled persons while negative attitude towards them is a major obstacle to this end. “The barriers would have to be removed after identifying them to ensure the participation of the disabled persons,”
The Prime Minister mentioned that to ensure participation of the disabled persons in the mainstream of national life, relevant provisions have been included in education, employment, communication, disaster and ICT policies side by side formulation of right-based law and independent administrative structure.
“If we assume office again, we’ll implement the unfinished tasks and right-based development programs for the disabled sections of people,” she added.
She listed various steps taken by her government for the welfare of the disabled people. These include enacting the ‘Disabled Persons Protection and Rights Act, 2013’ and the ‘Neuro-Developmental Disabled Protection Trust Act, 2013’; establishment of a government school for the severe autistic children; providing salaries by the government to the teachers and employees of 50 private schools run for the autistics and intellectually challenged children as per the pay scale from 2010 alongside increasing allotment of stipends for increasing participation of disabled children in schools.
Besides, Hasina said that her government has established 13,000 community clinics across the country with facilities for proper medicare on priority basis for the disabled people; established 68 disabled service and assistance centers under the National Disabled Development Foundation; introduced sign language to present news at broadcast media to ensure Right to Information for the hearing and speech disabled while work has already begun for constructing ‘Disabled Complex’.
The ‘National Disabled Development Foundation’ has been turned into a Directorate for implementing various activities towards ensuring development of the disabled persons, she added.
Mentioning that the government’s notable success in poverty alleviation has been acknowledged internationally, the Prime Minister said that the disabled persons are yet to take equal opportunity in various activities relating to poverty alleviation. “Poverty and disability are interrelated; so, the government has built social safety nets for alleviating poverty of the disabled people alongside increasing significantly the number of beneficiaries and the amount of the insolvent disabled people.”
She said that since there was no credible and full-fledged information on the types of the disabled people, the work for ‘Disabled Identifying Survey’ is being conducted across the country to collect their proper information. Identity cards will be provided to all disabled persons once the survey is completed.
“If there is a dependable information server, then it will be easier to bring all disabled persons under the social safety nets.”
Hasina expressed her firm resolve to build a hunger and poverty free middle income country by 2021 when Bangladesh will celebrate its Golden Jubilee of Independence saying that for which there is a need for achieving desired progress in all sectors including in education, health, agriculture, industry, commerce, science and technology, ICT and women’s empowerment.
Later, the Prime Minister witnessed a cultural program presented by the persons with disability.