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YPSA, an organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) since 2013

First convention of the Self-Help Organizations of People with Disability, held at Sitakund

A day resonant by the gathering of over thousand people including 600 People with disability

oath taking ceremony at Sitakund“First Convention of the Self-Help Organizations of People with Disability of Sitakund” was organized on December 30, 2007 with the objective of strengthening the inter-relation among the Self-Help Organizations, to develop their leadership capacity and to arrange coordination among these organizations.

Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), a voluntary social development organization has been working for long to build a right based & barrier-free society for the People with

Disability by support from Action aid Bangladesh. As a result of this enduring initiative and the interest of the People with Disability of Sitakund along with YPSA’s support, 25 Self- Help Organizations of the People with Disability now exist here at large.

Objective:

“First Convention of the Self-Help Organizations of People with Disability of Sitakund” was organized on December 30, 2007 with the objective of strengthening the inter-relation among the Self-Help Organizations, to develop their leadership capacity and to arrange coordination among these organizations.

Participants: 

Over six hundred People with Disability of Sitakund upazilla, representatives of different self-help organizations of People with Disability of Chittagong, representatives of various government and non-government bodies, public representatives and civil society at large gathered in this convention. Theme Leader of the Disability and Enabling Environment theme of Action Aid Bangladesh Mr. Mahbub Kabir and Program Officer Syeda Asma Rashida (Meghla) were also present as guests.

Inaugural ceremony:

On 30th December morning, members of the 25 Self-Help Organizations of Sitakund started to gather at the convention venue at YPSA’s Human Resource Development Centre. By 10.00 of the morning, the convention place started to reverberate with the presence of the People with Disability. Mr. Mohammad Akteruzzaman, the Upazilla Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Sitakund joined the convention at 10.30 am. At the beginning of the event the UNO raised the National flag of Bangladesh while Mr. Shamsuddin Bhuyan Tutul raised the flag of YPSA and Mr. Babul Chandra Nath, Chairperson of Mahalanga Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon raised the flag of the Self-Help Organizations of Sitakund. Performers of Shikhor Gono Shangskretik Shongothon presented the national anthem.
Hereafter, the UNO Mr. Akteruzzaman announced the opening of the convention through his opening speech. In his speech he remarked, I am extremely delighted to be present in today’s convention. It is no longer true that the people with disability are unable. The pride brought for our country from the Special Olympics by the People with Disability is a proof that with proper opportunities provided; even the people with Disability can prove their capabilities.He said, today I have realized how many people with disability live in Sitakund. I give my commitment to extend any assistance necessary for the self- reliance of the people with Disability of Sitakund. After that Mr. Shamsuddin Bhuyan Tutul, president of YPSA thanked Action Aid Bangladesh for supporting the initiative of People with disability in his speech. He commented- YPSA’s vision is that the people with disability will never be neglected or abused for their disability in future. They will obtain the rights to live as they wish by their own capacity. This requires heartily support from both the government and non-government sector. He concluded wishing the success of the convention.
Notes by the representatives of Self-Help Organizations:

After the inauguration session, representatives of different Self-Help Organizations presented their remarks. They stressed on the point that no development is possible excluding the person with disability. Both the Person with Disability and the non-disabled people’s cumulative efforts can keep the development cycle going on. They insisted to keep in mind about the people with disability in whatever development initiative is taken. The speakers commented, today’s Self-Help Organization convention is a memorable day for the people with disability of Sitakund. Today the Person with Disability could gather here only because of YPSA’s support. They demanded to the local government authorities to ensure the rights of the People with Disability. A speaker commented, “We the people with disability were scattered around different places of Sitakund. Now we’ve organized ourselves through YPSA. Today you’re looking at its proof through this convention. If we are given proper opportunities we can also prove our capabilities. We believe that the People with Disability can turn impossible to possible if they are given the right scope and support they require. The Person with disability is facing constraints by the non-disabled people. National development will never be possible if we do not support each other. The People with Disability, especially the women with disability are neglected everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much we talk about laws and legislations, unless and until they are implemented properly, these are of no good to us. To obtain our rights we need proper implementation of laws.

The government needs to take immediate steps to ensure wide accessibility for the people with disability. If the Person with disability of all areas organizes themselves together than they can become self-reliant easily. The day of Person with Disability being neglected is now over. Like rest of the country, the People with Disability of Sitakund have awakened up today. They said, today we are a combined strength. We will definitely attain our rights based on this collective strength. Until now we have been the victim for being women with disability. We don’t want to be the victim of any more discrimination. We wish to live with our rights. We have become aware of our rights through our organization. Our dream is to begin some other respectable profession and leave begging. This is the first time we have witnessed such a huge gathering of People with Disability. For this, we the People with Disability of Sitakund can feel proud. From today’s convention we can expect that the Person with disability will no longer be left behind.

It is now our time to move forward. The representatives of Self-Help Organizations also insisted that the government should take initiatives to make the Women with disability self-dependent. They remarked, YPSA have changed our views. Now we have courage and hope. We will be able to obtain our rights if we get support from the others. They requested the public representatives not to forget about the rights of the People with Disability.

On behalf of the Self-Help Organizations, people who gave statements include – Mr. Lokoman Goni, General Secretary of Kumira Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Ruhul Amin, President, Panthichila Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Shafiq Chowdhury,Kumadan Para Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Shahajan Shabu, Sayedpur Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Zia Uddin, Pathor Para Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Md. Belal, Sonaichory Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Ms. Sultana Yasmin, Shibpur Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr.Md. Nurun nabi, Guliakhali Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr.Abul Kalam, Muradpur Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Abu Thaher, Kumira Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Ms. Malati Das, Basharat Nagar Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Md. Shahabuddin, General Secretary, Amra Shakkham, Mr. Mahabubar Rahman, Bansh baria Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon,Ms. Harmuza, Barabakunda Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon, Mr. Nurul Mostafa, Amara Shakkham, Mr. Narayan Shil, Kederkhill Pratibandi Unnayan Shongothon.

Statement of Solidarity with the Self-Help Organizations Movement:
Mr. Mahbub Kabir
Theme Leader
Disability & Enabling Environment
Social Justice Sector

Action aid Bangladesh:

To express solidarity with the first convention of Self-Help Organizations of Sitakund, Theme Leader of the Disability and Enabling Environment theme of Action Aid Bangladesh Mr. Mahbub Kabir at first thanked the participants for their kind and proactive presence in the event. He said you’ve made possible something that the others considered to be impossible till now. The People with Disability of the country and the whole world have proven that their words are not false. That has yet again been proven here at Sitakund. I am pleased to see that the dream we used to see here at this place have come true today. We used to dream that the People with Disability of Sitakund will unite and form a number of organizations.

If the others can get organized then why can’t the People with Disability? The Bangladesh government has already selected a focal point at each ministry. Now our responsibilities have increased more than ever. Each department of the local government ministry has already included the issue of People with Disability in all of their activities and have sent it to the social welfare ministry. We need to be cautious so that no group can use the people with disability to gain their own class benefit. Many of you have talked about the disability welfare act 2001. The disability welfare act is like a process to some how carelessly prepare a law for the charity of the People with Disability. We are hoping that it will soon become invalid.

The process of making a new law will begin soon. We want that the person with disability from all corners of Bangladesh get the opportunities to have their say. Law for us, law to ensure our rights, law to attain from the state what is rightfully ours, law to eliminate the discrimination against us – we, the People with Disability will decide how it should be. If you keep silent in this regard some people sitting in some air-conditioned room at Dhaka city will prepare and give this law to the government. And the government will say that a good law has been formed. We want that a draft law will reach the ministry with active leadership from the People with Disability of Chittagong. And that responsibility is of you, as well as of every citizen of the country. Every day you’re proving that you are active citizens of the nation. The state doesn’t provide us anything, the society doesn’t provide us anything; but there is no shortage of our resilience, our inner power has no limit. Whenever the people with disability get organized, they wish to change something. The goal is to change the society. We must change the character of the society, the face of the society. Because the face of our present society is very irresponsible and discriminating. He requested the present representatives of media to spread the words about the person with disabilities strength all over the country.

He said if people of all over the world can be united than why can’t the person with disabilities? Today we are on the path of fulfilling this dream. We have to keep up the vigor and motivation that have unified the person with disabilities of Sitakund. The task is long and gruesome. If we can somehow be involved in this historical journey of yours we will feel grateful. We will be able to think that in today’s initiative, where the person with disability have started their journey to attain their rights we are also a part of it. As our national constitution says that the state cannot discriminate with any citizen by any excuse, we can also say that disability is just an excuse. And the state cannot discriminate with the people with disabilities using it as an excuse. We will have to remind this commitment made 37 years before yet again to our policy makers.

We have to speak up that you have made separate policy for the non-disabled people and there is none for the person with disability, and even if there is a malformed irresponsible policy in place it does no good to us. Today we stay at the bottom of the society, in severe poverty. Our society needs to be based on equity. Whatever there is for the others should also be present for us. If necessary should be even more for us considering the matter of equality. Because of I face more consequences than the others. May your movement move forward. Your movement to build our envisioned society will surely be successful some day.

Among the others who gave their speech in solidarity include –Mr. Ali Ahmed, member, DPO, UTSA, Mr. M. Kawsar Uddin, BPKS, Mr. Ahasan Ullah Sarker- Sangsoptaque, Ms. Nur Jahan Akter Hena-Nowjoan, Ms. Samsunnahar Rasu- Sangsoptaque, Mr.Liton Chandra Das, REDA, Mr. Kamrul Islam Simul-CSD, Mr. Abdur Razzak-Chattagram Pratibandi Unnayan Songathon, Ms. Rahima Begum, UP Female members, Mr. Advocate Khademul Islam, Mr. Abdus Samad, A. F. M Mofizur Rahaman, UP Chairman.

They thanked YPSA for being the organizer of the first convention of the Self-Help Organization of the person with disabilities at Sitakund. They remarked that 17 countries have signed the UN convention. It will become a law if 20 countries sign it. In fact we want all laws to be implemented. Another speaker said, we are glad that Bangladesh has signed the convention. They remarked, before we the People with disability used to face many obstacles while for moving on streets. But the situation is changing. Now we have increased accessibility. We can do things more independently. We want that the point of view of the people of society change so that we can obtain our rights. Our mental strength have increased one more step through today’s convention. He said if proper training arrangements can be made the people with disability will become even more self dependent.

25 Self-Help Organizations have joined today’s event to increase their motivation and organizational strength. This initiative of YPSA is really a remarkable achievement. The speakers requested YPSA to organize such convention at divisional level. To obtain rights we need to stress on the education of the person with disabilities. In addition the person with disability need to have their own thoughts and ideas for their own self-reliance. If the people with disability are unified no one can defy them from their rights. The speakers wished YPSA’s initiative to unite the person with disability all the success. Since long YPSA has been working to uplift the social status of the people with disability. Today’s convention is one such instance. If the lifeline created through this convention within the person with disabilities of Sitakund keeps on flowing, they will definitely be able to obtain their rights.

As general secretary of Sitakund press club and on behalf of Sitakund’s journalist community Mr. Kaium Chowdhury said that the journalists of Sitakund have remained responsive to the person with disability of Sitakund all along. He urged the presence to consider the journalists of Sitakund as a friend of them. He said we always try to reflect the demands of the person with disability through our media and YPSA have always supported us in this regard. We will continue this initiative in future as well.

Committee Declaration:

After the speakers concluded their remarks, Chief executive of YPSA Mr. Arifur Rahman declared the names of the 25 member coordination committee nominated by the members of the 25 Self-Help Organization of the Person with Disabilities. He said this committee will keep on working to form even more Self-Help Organization along with managing necessary coordination among themselves. He remarked that these 25 people will play a leading role to ensure the rights of Sitakund’s PERSON and construct a society free from discrimination. After that he declared the names of the 25 people coordination committee.
Taking the oath:

After the names were declared, Mr. M Kawsar Uddin, Coordinator of BPKS Chittagong centre facilitated the oath taking assembly of the committee members.

Cultural Program and Raffle Draw:

A cultural program was arranged after lunch by members of Shikhor Gono Shangskretik Shongothon and invited guests. Children of Shishu Mela performed a theatre on the People with Disability rights.

At the end of the convention, a raffle draw took place by facilitation of Mr. Palash Chowdhury, Coordinator (Finance) of YPSA and participated by the members of self reliant organizations. Executive committee members of YPSA Mr. Shamsuddin Bhuyan Tutul, Mr. Nurunnobi, Liton Kumar Chowhdury and Chief Executive Mr. Arifur Rahman handed over the awards to the winners. With this the daylong event comes to an end.