Disabled youths join country’s mainstream development using ICT

Publish: 6:33 PM, June 12, 2021 | Update: 6:33:PM, June 12, 2021

Shuaibul Islam
SYLHET,  – The disabled youths, who were once neglected in the society, are now joining the country’s mainstream development using the opportunities in ICT.

Staying at home, they are also playing an important role in earning foreign currency for the country.

Since 2016, Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) has been providing training to the young people with disabilities in Sylhet under the Neuro Developmental Disorder Project. After completing training, they are being given allowance and as such, income opportunities are created for them. So far, 260 disabled people were imparted training in the district.

Lokman Hossain Bulbul (23), a resident of Kanaighat upazila in Sylhet, is one of them. Since his birth, he had no fingers in his left hand. But his disability could not stop him. As soon as he completed his graduation from Sylhet MC College, he took the responsibility of his poor family.

Bulbul said he took training on outsourcing and digital marketing from the BCC in 2018 and started looking for an opportunity to earn money. “I started earning from December, 2019. Now my monthly income is about Taka 60,000 to 70,000. In addition to this, I am also working as a trainer,” he said.

“It would take more time to get a job after my studies are over. However, as a result of the development of ICT, I am now able to earn money from home. I can support my family,” Bulbul said.

Despite having physical disability, Bulbul is now far ahead of other people of his age. With his own talent and creativity, he has made his parents proud.

Like Bubul, visionary challenged 21-year-old Ainul Haque was in extreme poverty once, now he is earning about US$ 700 per month through outsourcing.

Ainul said, “One day I got informed about the free computer training of BCC from one of my friends. I went there and took part in the training.”

Ainul, a resident of Gotatikar area of Sylhet city, didn’t have the scope to continue his studies due to poverty. But now he is studying in Sylhet Polytechnic Institute apart from running his family with his income.

“My elder siblings did not get the opportunity to study. But I got the chance. The BCC’s training created a path of earning for me. Since July 2020, I have been working in international platform. To fulfill the dream of my mother, I want to study computer science and engineering. So, I am saving money from my earning to accomplish her dreams,” he said.

Not only challenged boys, the disabled girls of Sylhet are also moving ahead with ICT training. Bithi Rani Nath is one of them. After suffering from typhoid at her early age, her right leg got paralyzed. She now walks using crutches.

By getting training from the BCC, she is looking forward to establishing herself as a journalist. Bithi has already started working in an online news portal. She also has a great desire to be a news presenter.

Kamal Kumar Biswas, job replacement officer of BCC Sylhet, said they are training the young people with disabilities in Sylhet and showing them ways to get jobs or creating sources of income.

“We do believe that with a little cooperation and training, they (disabled youth) will be able to use their talents to ensure their future progress. Earlier, they were not interested in taking training, but many youths with disabilities are now coming forward to take part in training seeing the success of others,” he said.

Mozaffar Ahmed, head of TTC’s computer section in Sylhet, said many children with disabilities received free training from their institution.

Poor people are getting free training under the Skills for Employment Investment Programme, while many rural people are also coming for training, he said.

Due to the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in the country, the hearing-impaired people are also moving forward. Technology has changed their way of life. A group of hearing-impaired youths here regularly communicate with each other through video calls in social media using digital devices.

Russell Ahmed, a member of the National Deaf Cricket Team, is the general secretary of the Sylhet Deaf-Hearing Impaired Welfare Association. With the help of one who understands their sign languages, it was learnt that their association has around 100 members.

Russell said they now can communicate with each other through smartphones. “We can talk if we want. Sometimes we get together and enjoy,” he added.

Maksud Ahmed, an adviser to the association, said the hearing impaired people are able to work perfectly and with efficiency if they are given any job.

Noting that the use of technology has alleviated the sufferings of these people, Maksud thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the architect of Digital Bangladesh and Prime Minister’s Adviser on ICT, to this end.

According to the Sylhet District Office of the Department of Social Services, there are 45,923 people with disabilities in Sylhet district. Of them, 37,100 are benefited from various government programmes. So far, 260 people have taken computer training from there.

On December 12, 2008, Awami League announced its election manifesto, pledging that Bangladesh would be transformed into “Digital Bangladesh” by 2021.

Following this, the government took various initiatives to build a digital Bangladesh. In order to implement these initiatives, the Access to Information (A2I) programme was undertaken under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Now the programme is renamed as the Aspire to Innovate (A2I). It is currently being run under the joint supervision of the Cabinet Division and the Information and Communication Technology Division. With the successful implementation of these programmes, Bangladesh becomes a true digital Bangladesh today.