Sightsavers and BBDN launch ‘Futuremakers’ project
Today, 24 October 2022, Sightsavers and Bangladesh Business and Disability Network (BBDN) launched the 'Futuremakers' project which will support youth with disabilities in the labour market through providing technical skills and employability training, career guidance and job placements. Sightsavers and BBDN, in association with three local organisations of people with disabilities, Manikganj Disabled People's Organization to Development, Narayanganj Sadar Upazila Protibondhi Unnayan Parishad and Tangail Disabled Peoples Organization to Development, have started delivering the 18-month long Futuremakers project from July 2022 in three districts, Manikganj, Narayanganj, and Tangail. Futuremakers will support 720 women and men with disabilities to learn new skills and improve their chances of securing a job or starting their own enterprises, without needing to relocate from their homes.
Dr Md. Mahfizur Rahman, Managing Director of SME Foundation graced the national launching of Futuremakers as the chief guest whereas Ardashir Kabir, President of Bangladesh Employer's Federation was present as a special guest.
Dr Md. Ziauddin, Member, National Skills Development Authority, Begum Morsheda Akter, Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Md. Kamrul Islam Chowdhury, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Social Services, Kakoli Jahan Ahmed, Director, Bangladesh Bank Training Academy, Mariane Oehlers from UNICEF, and the representatives from the chambers of commerce of Manikganj, Narayanganj, and Tangail districts and OPDs took part in two-panel discussions around disability inclusion in the relevant policies and strengthening disability-inclusive development.
When compared to their peers, youths with disabilities are much less likely to be employed or working in appropriate conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic has made them even more helpless, said Amrita Rejina Rozario, Sightsavers Bangladesh Country Director in her opening remarks.
Speaking as the chief guest Dr Md. Mahfizur Rahman said, "SME Foundation prioritises women and youth entrepreneurs in our programming, and we will tie up with the Futuremakers project to identify areas of joint collaboration especially identifying and providing training to youth with disabilities in the project districts."
Ardashir Kabir said this project is a part of Standard Chartered Bank's global initiative to tackle inequality by promoting economic inclusion for young people and has been anchored in light of the UN global initiative for decent jobs for youth. Mahbub Zaman, Managing Director of Datasoft and former Chairman of BASIS said, even before the COVID-19 crisis, young people in Bangladesh were vulnerable in the labour market and faced barriers in their transition from education to employment. Despite increased access to education for youth, there remains a mismatch between the skills that the youth possess and the talents the businesses need.
Utpal Mallick, Project Manager at Sightsavers presented the keynote in the event whereas Ayon Debnath from Sightsavers made a presentation on the Labour Market Assessment study report published by Sightsavers. Golam Kibria from BBDN moderated a panel discussion on creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Aziza Ahmed, Head of Operations at BBDN concluded the event with a vote of thanks.