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Empowering Youth with Disabilities in Bangladesh: Providing ICT Skills

Vashkar Bhattacharjee's picture

In Bangladesh, youth with disability often have difficulty transitioning to work, as they lack the necessary skills to perform competitively in the job market and also face discrimination from employers on the basis of their disability. When the World Bank and Microsoft announced the regional grant competition “Youth Solutions! Technology for Skills and Employment”, we decided to submit a proposal to address this from the Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) in Bangladesh.
 
Our proposed project titled “Empowering Youth with Disabilities through Market Driven ICT Skills” sought ideas from youth on how to use innovative and creative methods to promote ICT skills amongst youth with disabilities to help them secure gainful employment.

YPSA’s project aims to provide ICT training to 40 youth with disabilities, who will also receive support securing ICT internships, help with job search and assistance in producing Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) products. The project will initially focus on the disabled youth of Chittagong, the port city of Bangladesh.

 On May 21st 2013, we were invited to present our project at a workshop organized by the World Bank, Microsoft and Sarvodaya-Fusion at Colombo, Sri Lanka.  Eight short-listed project proposals were presented at this event, as four youth-led NGOs from Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka competed to secure grants.
 
On behalf of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), from Bangladesh I attended the event to present our proposal. All the participants who attended the regional grant competition from the four countries had lots of fascinating ideas and had the chance to share their innovative proposals. During my presentation I spoke on how youth with disabilities can demonstrate their true potentials using ICT. As a person with visual disability, my presentation itself was a surprise for many in the audience as I was using adaptive technology such as screen reading software. 
 
At the event, four proposals from Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka won grants; from Bangladesh YPSA won. In early September, we launched our project with a captivating event that marked the initiation of the ICT training program to build skills for employment.  Twenty disabled youth were chosen for the first batch of training, out of which eight are female and twelve are male. The first batch includes youth with visual, physical, speech and hearing disabilities. Towards the end of the training program these participants will be exposed to the ICT job market and will receive support in securing employment. We will send detailed information of this project, the trainings provided to them and participants’ resumes to different organizations to help match them with jobs requiring their acquired skills.  Participants who choose to be self-employed will be given guidance in setting up their enterprises.
 
We hope that our project will serve to become an example of success, for others to replicate. We’ve found that the youth chosen are enjoying the training sessions and are quite eager to complete it so that they can open the gateway of self-reliance. We hope that the project will change and improve the quality of the lives of disabled youth and enhance their dignity as individuals who can work their way out of poverty.
 
It can be said that a new journey for youth with disabilities have begun in Bangladesh.

 

Comments

Submitted by Naly on

Great!Hope through this initiative a group of youth with disabilities will be skilled and employed.

Submitted by Shahjahan on

Very good article. This initiative certainly be effective for Youth people with disability. Hope for the best.

Submitted by Zahed Hasan on

great initiative indeed. Hope, this project will help disabled youth to develop their capacity and get a job. Dear Vashkar, go ahead ....

Submitted by Misti on

Vashkar truly you mentioned the situation young disabled person in Bangladesh. Young women with Disabilities situation is more behind. lets improved it.

Submitted by Emily on

Thank you Misti for your concern. Lets work together to improve the situation to make a barrier free inclusive society. Among our recent trainee's we had approx 50% women with a disability participating, 5 of the women have found employment with different organisations and we are hopeful to continue to achieve such successes.

This is a fascinating project, and thank you for sharing the information. You might be interested in this grant opportunity from EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) to work through public and community libraries to use technoloty to empower youth. The applicant must be a library, working in partnership with another agency or agencies, and the focus area is children and youth. For details of the EIFL grants, click the panel - New! Grants for innovative public libraries on the EIFL Home Page http://www.eifl.net/. Application deadline, January 31 2014.

Submitted by Md. Arifur Rahman on

This is a very unique and innovative initiatives for and with the Youth with Disabilities (YWDs). Mr.Vashkar and his team at YPSA ICT and Resource Center on Disabilities (IRCD) working since long to develop this ideas and practices regularly . Hope it will bring good results and sustain as per the dream . Please keep it up always .

Submitted by Emily on

I have seen first hand how such ICT training can empower young people with disabilities and lead to employment. Congratulations on your success in securing this grant. I hope such grants will continue to be made available into the future along with continued training for the trainers themselves.

Submitted by Vashkar on

Thank you for your valuable information. WE are running an accessible library for youth and children with a disability so this information is really relevant for us.

Submitted by Vashkar on

Dear Jean

Thank you for your valuable information. We have an accessible library for youth and children with disability so this information is very relevant for us.

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