An inclusive Baishakhi celebration
On the occasion of Pahela Baishakh, InclusionX -- an organisation that aims to foster a healthy relationship between the intellectually disabled and abled -- arranged a programme open to all at EMK Center on Thursday.
The event started with a brief introduction by Labib Tazwar Rahman, CEO of InclusionX. Soon after, Silvia Tahsin Mahbub, vice president of the organisation, talked about their very first project, “Connecting Circles”.
“We never planned on forming an organisation,” she said. “One day, Labib suggested that we visit a school for the intellectually disabled and interact with them. We realised what's so wonderful about them is how easily they can open up to others.”
Riasat Salekin, a coordinator of the organisation, talked about another significant project called “Joy of Computing”.
“We are not doing this for monetary gains or exposure. If you observe the student-volunteer relationship, you'll realise just how pure the process is,” he said.
“At the start, we taught them basic computer skills, which they had no prior knowledge of, but now they are learning 3D modelling,” he added.
At the programme, some of the students danced while others sang to their heart's content for the audience. Slideshows and presentations were shown to highlight the organisation's journey with the students, parents and teachers.
Later on, Labib talked about their upcoming project as part of which they plan on going to schools and informing teachers about conditions such as ADHD and dyslexia.
“Many students have these 'invisible' disabilities. As a result, they may be victims of discrimination and bullying,” he said. “We hope to create a culture where it's okay to talk about these conditions and make people aware.”
The final part of the event revolved around a pertinent issue: the terms we use to refer to the intellectually disabled.
“If we hide the shame of being this way by using euphemisms like 'gifted' or 'differently abled', we're not helping to eradicate the negative stereotypes and images. What we're doing is hiding their identities by saying they're special,” Labib said. “Language shapes a society's attitude, so we need to accept that people have disabilities and it's nothing to be ashamed of.”
“I definitely don't think the intentions are wrong, but by using overly positive terms, we won't be able to address their many problems and find solutions. We can only aim to represent them the best way possible and let them express their troubles,” he added.
EMK Center sponsored the programme.