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The disabled children and their problems

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Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque, Dr. Mohamad Yakub :
The phenomenon like child rights governance also encompasses the concerns for the disabled children. An important consideration for child rights should be conducting campaign in favour of vulnerable handicapped children. This advocacy campaign should not be confined to special day like 'international day with disabilities'. The Government agencies and voluntary organizations must be proactive in creating a congenial environment for the disables. They have every right to live with the opportunities for obtaining access to the main stream of community life.  Now in our country devoid of suitable environment the threats are more than opportunities for survival. A few responsible urban citizens are extending helping hands to the children being disabled.  
There is no gainsaying of the fact that many children are becoming disabled due largely to social violence. Social violence may be defined as 'any overt depiction of a threat of physical force or the actual use of such force intended to physically harm an animate being'. Such violence has high likelihood of resulting in injury or serious injuries often leading to death.
Many a child rendering physically or mentally handicapped is the victim of burgeoning violence. Because we do not have safety measures to protect the children from any serious eventualities. Most of the children living in slum areas have been left unprotected; they are facing road accidents, falling from trees or roof, cocktail or crackers injuries and slum areas very close to rail line are not safe for the children. There are incidences of many children aged below ten being mashed by the running train. Even now they are seen plying near the rail line.  
There appears a wealth of literature on the threat, opportunities and predicaments of disabled children in Bangladesh. The studies attempted to make a situational analysis. One report out of some situational analysis may be cited here:
International NGOs (INGOs) working in the field of disability, constituting an active, extensive and capable network. International agencies and donors are interested in supporting disability activities, but sometimes face problems in channeling funding for cross-sectoral issues, such as disability. Common for all these stakeholders are an interest in working with disability, but so far each of them with a very limited coverage concentrated in urban and selected rural areas and a fundamental lack of coordination. The team recommends that coordination is strengthened through the National Coordination Committee/Inter-ministerial Task Force and that work is given direction through a more action-oriented version of the National Action Plan.
Disability is a cross-sectorial issue. The concerned team has assessed the situation and activities of Government, NGOs/INGOs and the private sector, and suggested next steps for inclusion and reduction of vulnerability by sectors:
· Social Welfare: Focus on rehabilitation and inclusion activities at district level.
· Education: Support the process of inclusion into regular schools.
· Health: Scale up Early Detection Programmes and establish referral networks
· Employment and Income Generating Activities: Actively stimulate inclusion
· Transport, Infrastructure and Built Environment: Mainstream accessibility
· Access to Water and Sanitation: Support and mainstream pilot projects
Increased coordination at both national and district level will be crucial to fully take advantage of the considerable expertise and materials already available in Bangladesh. In order to sustain and expand technical expertise and leadership in Government as well as in NGOs, it is necessary to review and invest in the development of human resources. At all stages in the process people with disabilities, represented by the organizations active in the disability field should be included in decision making processes.

(Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque, department of Public Administration, Chittaong University)

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