Congenial atmosphere for challenged people to be ensured: PM
Expressing her firm commitment to create a congenial atmosphere for people with autism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government is taking steps for taking care of the orphan autistic people.
"A question always crosses my mind when the parents of an autistic child will pass away what will happen to it where it will go…we’ve taken a step to provide them shelter. This is the responsibility of the state," she said.
The prime minister said this while inaugurating the 9th World Autism Awareness Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
The Ministry of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Education Ministry jointly arranged the function. Social Welfare secretary Dr Chowdhury M Babul Hossain chaired the programme.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Welfare Ministry Mozammel Hossain spoke at the programme.
Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism in Bangladesh and Member of the WHO's Advisory Panel on Mental Health, Saima Wazed Hossain gave her address through a pre-recorded video message.
The mentality to neglect the physically and mentally-challenged people has to be changed, the prime minister said adding, "They also can give something to society as well, our aim is to give them the scope, the autistic people must not be neglected…we’ll give them a congenial atmosphere."
Urging the private sector to come forward to assist the government in ensuring the wellbeing of people with autism Sheikh Hasina said, "They’re also human being, they’re the part of this society, we’ve to work for them, too," she said.
Citing some examples of world renowned scientists, literetaurers and musicians, Hasina said the physically- and mentally-challenged children have to be included in the mainstream of society to utilise their hidden talents.
"We’ll have to give them all the scopes to flourish their merits, and we’re working towards that direction," she said.
Putting emphasis on providing special care to the children with autism disorder by keeping their special demands in mind, Hasina said those kids could be turned into valuable assets by giving special care.
In this connection, she lauded the contribution of her daughter and eminent Child Psychologist Saima Hossain and said it is Saima who has created awareness globally on autism and other physical and mental disability.
Referring to a resolution which the United Nation General Assembly adopted unanimously, she said Saima had a very strong and active role in this regard.
Hasina mentioned that the persons with disabilities have been working with efficiency in computer and internet by using various software and stressed the need for providing proper training to them so that they could contribute more to the ICT sector.
Highlighting the successes of the people with disabilities in various fields, she said the players with disability the brightened the country's image by winning gold in Para Olympic and Special Olympics.
In this connection, the prime minister urged the authorities concerned to develop software, hardware and websites suiting for the persons with disabilities.
She also elaborated various efforts of her government for the welfare of the autistic children, and said two acts -- one titled ‘Persons with Disability Rights and Protection Act, 2013’ and another titled ‘Neuro-developmental Disability Protection Act 2013’ were passed in parliament to protect interests of the persons with disability.
She said various services are being provided free of cost to autistic children and persons with disability from the Autism Resource Centre and a ‘School without fee’ set up on the campus of the National Disability Development Foundation located at Mirpur in the capital.
Hasina said the government started work under the Ministry of Education to set up an academy for Autism and Neuro-developmental Disorders aimed at bringing autistic children in the mainstream.
She hoped that such initiative will create opportunities to expand inclusive educational activities for the people with special need, including the autistic ones.