HI has been working in Bangladesh since 1997 to ensure that people with disabilities are integrated into society and that their rights are upheld. HI also provides support to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar since August 2017. The organisation’s emergency teams assist these families who are now highly vulnerable.
© Shumon Ahmed / CDD
Actions in process
Following the mass influx of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing neighbouring Myanmar since the month of August 2017, HI is providing emergency response to supply aid to these people who are living in extremely difficult circumstances. The organisation provides them with rehabilitation care and psychological support and supplies refugees with information on the services provided by other organisations. HI also stores and transports humanitarian aid for these vulnerable people. These actions are likely to change in order to adapt them to developments in this major crisis. 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 (notably rehabilitation and economic inclusion) 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. Since 2016 and for a period of four years, the organisation’s Growing Together project, supported by IKEA Foundation, will develop accessible and secure play areas for children in refugee camps in Thailand, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This project will enable 13,000 children with and without disabilities to play, learn and grow up together in a secure and inclusive environment. 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.
HI also strengthens the rehabilitation sector in Bangladesh, including by implementing a quality rehabilitation care system, in conjunction with the government. The organisation 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, the organisation aims to include and promote the involvement of people with disabilities in natural disaster risk management.
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.
HI is providing emergency response to supply aid to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing 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 per year). Every year, between 50% and 70% of the land is submerged under water, swallowing harvests, homes and livestock.
Around 30,000 NGOs work in the country in a wide range of fields, including social development, education, rights, microcredit, health and legal issues. Among these NGOs, around 300 work with people with disabilities. Most of these are very small organisations of local people with disabilities, and often have a very limited reach. One of HI's key actions in Bangladesh, therefore, consists of building the capacities of these disabled people’s organisations.