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Friday, April 3, 2015, Chaitra 20, 1421 BS, Jamadius Sani 12, 1436 Hijr

Sympathise with disabled persons: PM
Published : Friday, 3 April, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 48

Terming the persons with disabilities as a part of the society, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon all to be more sympathetic towards them for flourishing their latent talents.
"The persons with disabilities are a part of our society...They are assets (of the society), not burden. They could make a huge contribution to the society by flourishing their latent talents, if they are given special care," she said.
"So I would like to urge all not to see the persons with disabilities in the
eyes of negligence, rather you will have to be more sympathetic and give more love to them for flourishing their latent power," she added.
The Prime Minister made the call while addressing a function marking the 8th World Autism Awareness Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital this morning.
The Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education jointly arranged the function.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim was present as the special guest at the function chaired by Social Welfare Minister Syed Mohsin Ali.
A video message of Chairperson of National Autism Advisory Committee Saima Wazed Hossain was broadcast at the function.
State Minister for Social Welfare Ministry Advocate Promod Mankin, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Social Welfare Ministry Dr Mozammel Hossain and Social Welfare Secretary Nasima Begum also spoke on the occasion.
Putting emphasis on coming out of negative perception about autism, the Prime Minister said autism or disability is not a disease, rather it is a "diversity" of creation.
"Nobody has any hand about the children affected with autism. But there is some negative perception about autism in our society...we will have to come out of this negative perception," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the tender-hearted children affected with autism could also be invaluable resource of the country if they are given special care keeping their special demands in mind.
In this connection, she said many world famous personalities including Albert Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Willium Battler Yeats and Stephen Hawking were autistic by born but autism could not create any obstacle to flourishing their talents.
Citing use of modern ICTs including computer, Internet and mobile phones by the autistic persons, the Prime Minister said they are now being able to show efficiency like healthy persons and can solve many of their problems.
She urged all concerned to develop software and hardware suitable for the autistic children as well as to make websites of various public and private organisations useable for them.
Describing various steps undertaken for the welfare of the autistic children, Sheikh Hasina said her government has created opportunities for them according to their qualification and efficiency.
She said the Awami League-led government has already enacted "Disabled Persons Right and Protection Act, 2013" and "Neuro-Developmental Disabled Protection Trust Act, 2013" for the welfare of the persons with disabilities.
"Steps have also been taken for the education of physically and mentally-challenged people as the society could never go ahead leaving them behind," she said.
The Prime Minister said 103 service and help centres (one stop service centres) have been set up in 64 districts to provide physiotherapy and other treatments to the persons with disability free of cost. "This service would be expanded to all upazilas of the country in phases," she said.
She also listed other government measures for the welfare of the disabled persons including providing education stipend to the disabled students and preservation of the quota in the government jobs for them.
Stressing the need for educating and bringing physically and mentally challenged children in the mainstream of the society, Sheikh Hasina said a special coordinated education policy has been adopted to this end.
"Under the policy, about 10 thousand mentally disabled students are getting access to 50 institutions for their education. About Taka 9.50 crore have been allocated for the purpose," she said adding the activities would be further expanded in future.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has already started works to setting up a special academy under the Education Ministry at a cost of Taka 60 crore to bring all disabled including autistic children in the main stream of education.
Besides, she said, an autism resource centre has been set up at the National Disability Development Foundation Campus at Mirpur in Dhaka to provide various services free of cost to autistic children and adults.
Highlighting success of the physically-challenged players in international sports competition, the Prime Minister said they have brightened the image of the country by achieving rare awards for several times in Para Olympic and Special Olympics.
"That's why, we have undertaken a project to construct an International Standard Sports Complex to expand sports and games for the persons with disability," she said.
Referring to the UN resolution adopted in its 67th General Assembly that was placed by Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said she placed the proposal being inspired by her daughter Saima Wazed Hossain Putul, who is an autism expert and child psychologist.
The Prime Minister said the people of the country were little aware about autism. "But my daughter has played a praiseworthy role in creating awareness about the matter," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said whatever she knew and learned about autism was from her daughter. "I am taking advices about the issue from Putul, who is playing an important role worldwide to create mass awareness about autism, and for this, I am extending my thanks to her," she said.
Later, the Prime Minister witnessed a coulorful cultural function performed by the autistic children.    ?BSS

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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