HI has been working in Bangladesh since 1997 to ensure that people with disabilities are integrated into society. HI also provides support to thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar.
Bangladesh. Raihan, 6 years | © Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Actions in process
Following the mass influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing neighbouring Myanmar since August 2017, HI is providing emergency response to supply aid to people who are living in extremely difficult circumstances. The organisation has provided rehabilitation care and psychological support to thousands of people. The organisation has also made available two humanitarian equipment storage centres and a fleet of 15 lorries (logistics platform), transporting humanitarian equipment for HI and other organisations. HI has also distributed hygiene kits, food rations and accommodation kits. These activities are implemented in addition to the rehabilitation and inclusive employment actions performed by HI in two camps for Rohingya refugees who arrived in Bangladesh many years ago.
HI also works in Bangladesh to encourage the inclusion of the most vulnerable people by supporting their access to services such as rehabilitation and inclusive employment and inclusion in society.
Children with disabilities remain one of the most marginalised groups in the country and very few attend school. As an invisible and stigmatised group, they are more exposed to abuse, exploitation and negligence. From 2016 to 2020, HI led the Growing Together project, supported by IKEA Foundation, which enabled thousands of children to learn by playing in secure environments in refugee camps in Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
HI also runs a project to enhance the protection of children vulnerable to abuse and violence, including by raising the awareness of families and communities.
The organisation also improves access to education for all children, including children with disabilities, developmental delay, psychological problems, and so on in camps for Rohingya refugees. HI trains teachers to include children with disabilities in schools, organises rehabilitation sessions for children with disabilities (which then enables them to go to school, among other activities), raises community awareness of the right of children to education, and so on.
HI also makes fathers aware of their role in improving the health of mothers and children in refugee communities in Bangladesh, and promotes mother and infant health.
HI aims to ensure each mother enjoys a safe pregnancy and childbirth, and each child is able to live beyond the age of five, and each woman, child and teenager can fulfil their professional and social potential.
The organisation strengthens the rehabilitation sector in Bangladesh, including by implementing a quality rehabilitation care system, in conjunction with the government.
The organisation also takes action to ensure that people with disabilities have access to a source of income which gives them financial independence and means they are better accepted within their communities.
Lastly, HI improves the social inclusion and education of boys and girls with disabilities in Bangladesh by organising fun and sporting activities, including in schools and sports clubs, to promote their social inclusion and interaction with each other in a safe environment.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, HI has continued to help the world’s most vulnerable people. We have adapted our interventions in more than 45 countries.
Situation of the country
One of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, Bangladesh is currently having to cope with the influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.
Bangladesh is located in South Asia, it is surrounded by the mighty India to the east and west and has a shared border with Myanmar to the south. It is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that more than 49.6% of its population lives below the poverty threshold (less than $1.25 a day). Its population density is one of the highest in the world with 1,218 inhabitants/km². Despite fairly strong growth, significant inequality persists. Economic growth is held back by internal factors such as corruption, recurrent natural disasters (cyclones and devastating floods) and by monsoons five months of the year. Every year, between 50% and 70% of the land is submerged under water, swallowing harvests, homes and livestock.
Following the arrival of more than 700,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar since August 2017, HI has supplied assistance to more than 30,000 refugees and continues to provide emergency response, notably rehabilitation care and psychological support.
Number of HI staff members: 273 (local team) and 13 expatriate staff members
Date the programme opened: 1992