Differently-abled persons can get jobs and contribute to the economy by developing their skills through proper technical training, speakers at a roundtable said yesterday.
They said many companies are hiring qualified differently-abled persons at present while this number can be even bigger through cooperation and creating awareness among the employers.
Bangla daily Prothom Alo in association with International Labour Organization (ILO) organised the roundtable on “Technical Education, Training and Employment of Differently-abled Persons” at the newspaper's office in the capital.
Bangladesh has a huge opportunity for the development of differently-abled people with about 400 organisations and networks working for their skills development and around 93 organisations hiring them at present, said Kishore Kumar Singha, an ILO skills development specialist.
However, a lack of awareness, institutional capability, collaboration and motivational programmes remain as key challenges in this regard, he said.
Salahuddin Kashem Khan, co-chairman of Executive Committee of National Skills Development Council, said the government has to create a partnership with NGOs to build an inclusive society, and has to implement laws and policies that are already in place.
Sabbir Nasir, executive director of chain superstore Swapno, said they have recruited 18 differently-abled persons in their outlets and have a plan to increase the number to 200 within this year.
Jehad Uddin, joint commissioner of taxes, National Board of Revenue, said the existing law allows tax incentives for those working for the benefit of differently-abled persons, who will also remain out of the tax purview if their annual income remains bellow Tk 4 lakh.
Farzana Kashfi, head of Brac's Skills Development Programme; Tania Ferdous, a project analyst of Asian Development Bank; Tahsina Ahmed, chief executive officer of UCEP Bangladesh; Jawadul Karim Khan, programme manager, Skills Development of Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation; and David Hasnat, chairman of Vielatex Group; also spoke.
Prothom Alo Associate Editor Abdul Qayum moderated the roundtable.