Spending time with local disabled people’s organisations – pictures from Narayongonj

A seminar on disability! I’m there. This one is in Narayongonj, an industrial sprawl of a city 30km South of Dhaka.

Entrance to offices with three steps and a ramp. People are at entrance; one is in a wheelchair.

At the entrance to local government offices. Notice the ramp: Disabled Advocacy Has Been Here.

Liton is a good friend and the main organiser.

Liton smiles at the camera, wearing a panjabi and sitting in a wheelchair.

A strong leader in the disability movemenet.

He is the president of Narayangonj Sodor Upazilla Disability Development Council. This is a local organisation run by disabled people.

Shiblu comes towards the building in his tricycles. Trees and buildings in the background.

Shiblu wants help to get on TV – showing people he can swim and climb trees.

Ok, so we hang around for over an hour waiting for some of the key guests to turn up.

4 people - three women, and Shiblu. Two of the women are sitting and one standing behind. They all have disabilities.

Some joking around and some sitting around.
They say I should come for a picnic. I say this is the picnic. They say this is not the picnic.

Officially the seminar is about good practices. Thanks to Handicap International Bangladesh and the German government for supporting the costs.

A banner with the workshop title and guests, below portraits of the Prime Minister and her Father.

This banner says “Good Practice Sharing Workshop” except the English words are written phonetically in Bangla.

And we’re off! Speeches. A range of government people and some NGOs that are working here. Perhaps the most important thing is getting people in the same room.

Man speaking at podium; view is from main table so bottles and flowers are in-between camera and speaker.

Setting the world to rights.

I said some stuff, about how great it was that a disabled people’s organisation is speaking for disabled people here. Everyone is fascinated by the fact I am speaking Bangla, but I’m not sure how much they’re listening to what I’m trying to say in it.

A few rows of audience seated, mixed men and women.

I asked a political leader here on how to give better speeches. He said that no matter how important they are, you have to think that your audience is made of cows and goats and that you are showing them the way.

Our “chief guest” was the government administrator of the sub-district. I didn’t get a good photo of him.

Interestingly, both the administrator and an elected Union Chairman asked Liton’s organisation to give them advice on how they should tackle disability. I think this is brilliant. Other organisations lead by disabled people have problems getting the attention of people in government – at least here in Narayongonj the connection has been firmly made. The picture above shows one of the ramps that have been made as a result, and the organisation also was given office space in this government complex. I’m looking forward to see what more comes out of the relationship.

And then we all eat lunch. All except for Liton, who carries on working throughout. I give him feedback on a concept note they’re developing to get funding and then I go home. He carries on working, going on to a different event.

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