Because of my physical disability, accessibility is one of my the most important concern. Especially when I’m going to attend any program regarding Person with the disability. It’s not easy to find the accessible environment and I have to sacrifice my needs every now and again.
Bangladesh is not friendly for persons with disability (PWDs) yet. Most of our infrastructures don’t meet the needs of PWDs. Basic needs of a PWDs is the ramp, lift with braille and talking system, accessible toilet, etc. they all are related to physical infrastructure. There has more point for accessibility but as a Person with the Physical disability, they are not my concern.
Bangladesh hasn’t mainstreamed the issue of PWDs in the society yet. As a developing country or so-called lower-middle income country, its current ability to fulfil the rights of PWDs is below the expectation and, however, after all kind of efforts of the government, maximum underprivileged PWDs are out of government services and don’t get the basic rights and opportunities. As a privileged person with the disability, for me, it’s really hard to depict the overall situation of underprivileged PWDs society. Anyway, these can give you a minimal idea of the PWDs of Bangladesh.
When mainstream society doesn’t have the concern about the needs of PWDs, you can easily realise the situation of accessibility in Bangladesh. Even incumbents of the Government Office don’t know the basic needs of PWDs regarding infrastructural accessibility. It’s the pathetic reality of Bangladesh. Aftermath, government offices which are the most important for each and every citizen of Bangladesh, are not accessible to us.
Most of the public places, auditoriums, meeting places, Halls and places like these are inaccessible. That’s why, when NGOs. INGOs, DPOs (Disable Peoples Organizations) and other organisations working for PWDs try to find an accessible venue, they don’t get enough options to make their choice.
Some venues are at first floor but have two or three steps stair, some have lift but there must have some 2 to 3 inches barrier for Wheelchair Person. Most of the popular venues for this kind of organisations are like that. That’s why most of the times we have to sacrifice our rights. Sometimes I had to give up from the program. I know, that’s not a proper solution, but I had nothing to do and control of the situation was not in my hand.
Situations are changing slowly but steadily. I’m optimistic and don’t want to denounce others, rather I like to work myself to change the situation. I know, I would not be so lucky to see some changes, but my next generation will enjoy a barrier-free society and that would be the success of our fight for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Last but not the list, I would like to thank our government for enacting the “Rights and Protection Act of Person with Disability-2013.” It’s a significant change to switch from ‘Welfare Approach to Right Based Approach’. It will empower the PWDs to ask their rights, otherwise, they can sue the concern authorities.