a. Develop Women with Disabilities group (WwD):
To build leadership, communication, advocacy and networking skill among Women with Disabilities (WWD) SARPV works closely with different organization in five division of Bangladesh. Thus SARPV developed capacity of WWD through different approaches and increase their confidence level to realize themselves as human resource rather than burden.
SARPV identified some WWD from five divisions of Bangladesh who have more or less education but did not have any scope to prove themselves that they are differently able to work for the family, community and state. To develop leadership quality among WwD SARPV sent five WwD to India to receive RLT (Regional Leadership Training). These five WWD facilitated National Leadership training (NLT), where twenty five WWD participated from five divisions. After NLT, these WWD went back their locality and encourage and create awareness among WWD, their families and community about rights of WWD, equal opportunities, dignity and security for WWD at all levels.
Nevertheless the same project has been running in India and Sri Lanka, but in case of Bangladesh, it creates such an environment where not only WwD but also government and stakeholders are started to think about the existence, dignity and rights of WWD
b. Develop Self help group:
A self help group is a voluntary association of people which functions democratically to attainthecollective goals of group. In the context of disability self- help group is to promote mental support, and empathetic human relationships among them.
SARPV developed 115 self help groups with 1622 members in Gazipur and Cox’s bazaar district. Out of 1622 members 787 are female and rest of 835 are male. In their group meetings (fortnightly) they also discuss about the needs and problems and try to find the probable solution. Depending on situation, needs and demand they also advocating with different Stakeholders for obtaining different mode of service jointly regarding with PwDs.
In terms of working with people with a disability, preventing disabilities and mainstreaming disability SARPV is experienced in supporting people on a community level who have been severely affected by disaster. SARPV takes people with a disability into special account and tries to mainstream their needs into disaster related activities. Mainstreaming also includes advocacy and awareness, SARPV tries to make sure people with a disability are taken into account and makes others aware of their situation regarding disaster.
SARPV worked with Care Bangladesh under the Shouhardo Programme since 2006-2009. The aim of this project was to sustainably reduce chronic and transitory food insecurity of 400,000 vulnerable households in 18 districts of Bangladesh by 2009. This project includes improving targeted communities and institutions to prepare, mitigate and respond to natural disaster. Through the Shouhardo programme SARPV has found a good way to incorporate people with a disability who are the main focus of SARPV’s work. Activities involved National Disaster Day celebrations at Union level in six Unions, mock demonstration regarding disaster preparedness in one Union including 100 persons, the development of IEC materials on disaster preparedness, the development of a Risk and Resource Map at Union level in 6 Unions, three day training on disaster management for residential disaster volunteers, two days training on disaster management for VDMC at village level, homestead raising of three houses and other activities.
Finally SARPV feels that without involving the community people and their indegineous knowledge in disaster management programs it is not possible to make an ideal plan. Keeping these in mind, SARPV practices to involve community people in all its programs. For example, SARPV has developed Village Development Committee (VDC) in its working areas in a pilot basis. The committee members also work as volunteers of SARPV.
d.SEEING IN THE DARK
Seeing in the Dark at first sight it seems that it is only for the blind people but if you truly try to realise then you will see this is an instrument of the rights to get the support from the duty bearers. Without support it is impossible to do anything. Seeing is the dark is a symbolic instrument for realisation of this truth that all people have the same right to survive in the society with equal respect and rights to get life as usual like others what is not happening beside of us. Who we are by passing today that is neither ethical nor moral.
In a pitch dark art gallery swathed with black-out material where not a pinprick of light is allowed to intrude, there is only sound to let you know of movement, only the touch of your blind guide to help you from room to room. Smell and taste must be employed to help you judge what you’re buying as you attempt to strike a bargain in the “market”. In a rapid shift from society’s normal balance of power, you have suddenly become utterly dependent on the blind person who greeted you at the entrance to “Seeing in the Dark”.
Seeing in the dark’ was developed to respond to the challenge of finding new, innovative and appropriate advocacy tools for marginalized and vulnerable communities to strengthen their voice in their response to their own health and development needs. “Seeing in the Dark” is an experiment in experiential advocacy, where non-disabled people are invited to experience for a few brief minutes some of the sensations and challenges of being visually impaired. It was designed and architect by Simon Alison and David Curtis. All credits and copy rights goes both two of them along with SARPV personnel Mr. Shahidul Haque, Mr. Mayeen Ahmed and Mr. Sukumol Roy.
Impact of the ‘Seeing in the Dark’
We have replicated it three times in Bangladesh. We invited people from government, non-government organizations, journalists, business groups, political leaders, policy makers, and architects and so on as visitors. A heightened level of awareness was created among the mainly non-disabled visitors. Our achievements from this are as follows-
a. The size of the bank notes have been changed by initiatives taken by Bangladesh Bank
b. Building code has been approved by the parliament in 2006 with the collaboration of architect association those who visited seeing in the dark.
c. Traffic people are being sensitized in some areas to take care of the disabled people to cross the road.
‘Seeing in the Dark’ has sparked interest from all over the world keen to develop experimental advocacy tools. SARPV is working as consultant in different countries in conducting ‘Seeing in the Dark’. By this time SARPV has given its expertise in INDIA, BANGLADESH AND CAMBODIA.