With an aim to Increase the social dignity of COVID-19 affected women with disabilities living in Chattogram, by giving them a solid chance to prove their potential and worth in front of their family and society both at the personal level and professional level, YPSA (an organization for sustainable development in Bangladesh) organized it 1st virtual advocacy meeting on 31st July 2021 under the project “Promoting decent employment and SRHR for COVID-19 affected women with disabilities” supported by EMK Center, Dhaka.
Moderated by YPSA chief executive, Md Arifur Rahman, the advocacy meeting focused on identifying gaps to complete disability inclusion in the Gender Policy and promoting entrepreneurship opportunities and other relevant facilities for women with disabilities in Bangladesh. Talks on the gender policy and YPSA’s work on promoting disability inclusive entrepreneurship were given by YPSA deputy director, Ms Nasim Banu and YPSA program manager, Mr Newaz Mahmud.
15 representatives from different organization of persons with disabilities (OPD), Civil Society Organization (CSO), NGO were present at the meeting and shared their insight. Many of them focused on the fact that COVID-19 has now become a great challenge for every development initiatives and persons with disabilities, especially women with disabilities, have become an easy victim. They are neglected at any given times and now after the country has been hit by the pandemic, these people have lost their basic freedom and livelihood opportunities. Due to the nature of their disabilities, these people are not being able to follow even basic social distancing and failing to provide for their families. However, the participants thanked YPSA for taking such a time demanding initiative and requested to expand YPSA Inclusive Finance initiatives beyond Chattogram. Many of these organizations have also expressed their interest for collaboration with YPSA in its future initiatives.
Among many others, UNESCO award-winning disability rights activist and YPSA-IRCD focal person Vashkar Bhattacharjee; Salma Mahbub, General Secretary of B-SCAN; Morjina Ahmed, Executive Director of Disabled Welfare Society; Geshan Ferdoush, Executive member of Center for Disable Concern (CDC); Eshaq Shahin Bhuyan, Capacity Building Officer of BVIPS; Shafia Begum, President of the Alliance of urban DPO’s in Chittagong (AUDC) were present at the meeting.