Regular Programs: The Institute regularly organizes seminars, conferences, work-shops, and conducts research on issues of national interest, human rights, rule of law, rights of disabled and visually impaired, global peace, economy, international events, UN days, and religious events.
In this context integrated mechanisms that are cause and effect of poverty is adopted as the central theme of the organization’s efforts to raise public awareness at the national, regional and international colloquiums.
As such public health and education that is related with the impact of environment degradation and climate change is the expanded pedagogic universe of the Institute’s research and dissemination work. Because poverty is one of the causes of public health concerns specifically with education that requires uninterrupted access to the vulnerable community; population dislocation due to climate change and environment becomes an essential agenda for advocacy.
Towards this end the Institute has implemented the following programs and which are also part of its regular scheduled programs;
Advocacy on the rights of persons with disability; to express its solidarity with the United Nations designated international day for persons with disability each year the Institute has organized seminars and discussions in full participation of the disabled youth. The major aim of these events is to acknowledge and draw consensus on the rights of the persons with disability as citizens of Bangladesh. This was a platform to introduce advocacy for implementation of many of the government policies and enactment from mere documents to action.
English Language classes for the visually impaired young people; although, the government has fixed a 10% quota for employment of persons with disability but this has not happened in reality. One of the reasons was lack of mainstream education for the youth with disabilities. The English language class is a medium for the visually impaired young people to gain self confidence and learn the language for accessing information and employment opportunities. The training also includes developing presentation abilities and augment their self confidence.
Computer skills training for the visually impaired youth; the English language training revealed an urgent need for the ICT related skills development of the visually impaired to enhance their skills for accessing information and augment their employment options in the mainstream work field. This is taken as an introductory point to show case the immense possibilities that exist for developing their potentials and utilize these in different types of work. It also encouraged the competitive edge amongst the visually impaired youth to learn and better themselves.
The English language and computer skills building classes provides training to 12 visually impaired youth – male and female in each session. They are provided exposure to voice their concerns at the policy level through essay competition prize giving ceremony and Voice America Bangla Service Talk Shows conducted by their visiting anchor.
Human rights based legal counseling for the poor and marginalized women; any human rights based approach envisages the challenge of dispensing information and guidance for the essentially marginalized segment of population. Within this context the Institute expanded its emphasis to include gender as a cross-cutting issue for its various program implementation. Citizen’s rights and exercise remains a confused area for the people of the country especially women and specifically in poor settings. The Institute provides these women legal counselling in matters of domestic and family related law and their positions as citizens according to the constitution. These and related services are part of the continuous process of program implementation.
Legal counseling for the visually impaired young women; the immense need and success of the legal counseling opened doors for the visually impaired women who did not have access to information and counseling on their legal status within the context of family, society, community and the country. The Institute has expanded the segment base of the above mentioned aspect of human rights program approaches for the visually impaired women to help them at individual level within their family, on inheritance and protection against violence laws. The visually impaired women are helped to understand their position and right in the context of the constitution and the possibilities of its promotion.
Institutional strengthening and capacity building, gender development and training: The Institute, through its members, has participated in strategic and fututre planning and future research on DFID and Asia Foundation funded projects. It has members from varied backgrounds who have active participation in Women’s Rights Projects in and around the country. Involved Members are Advocate Dilruba Shormin, Barrister Rizwana Yusuf and Barrister Cynthia Farid. In addition, Advocate Dilruba Shormin and Barrister Cynthia Farid have trained lawyers as well as Community leaders within rural settings and local government. They have also conducted ToT (Training of Trainers) on Gender and Development, Manual and Curriculum development. Some of these projects were conducted in consultation with organisations such as the American Bar Association and the Bangladesh Bar Council.
Poverty Reduction: In addition to the above, the Institute members have experience in business planning and enterpreneurship development. Modules have been developed and training conducted through USAID funding.
Islamic Finance based on Zakat and Waqf; Human rights encompass economic aspects for self actualization. The country has witnessed a visible expansion to reduce poverty and augment women’s empowerment through economic emancipation. The Institute has opened research, discourse, academic examination and international networking to explore the opportunities that exists within the Islamic system of economy that encourages an egalitarian society through division of wealth. An assimilation of the role of Zakat (Islamic charity) and Waqf (Islamic endowment or trust) with that of the modern concept of economic security is the objective for this program. The continuous flow of capital to develop opportunities of income generations and creating employment options is the predetermined principle of Islamic Economics that the Institute endeavours to advance as means of utilizing wealth from individuals, businesses, corporate and public sector for alleviating the perpetual challenges of poverty. The work includes Corporate Social Responsibilities within this context and the constraints that are experienced in realizing this confluence.
The organization is currently engaged in widening its advocacy endeavors for a comprehensive approach in keeping with the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 2015. In this regard we have initiated the process of HIV/AIDS prevention, protection and containment advocacy both at the policy and the public-private engagement level.
The following are some of the activities undertaken;
Advocacy based discussion session for the youth and the gatekeepers of society on World AIDS Day – 2008, to bridge the comprehension gap on the need for reproductive health counseling and education and its popular perception. Participated by young people, researchers, academicians, public health programmers and NGO representatives it was a vibrant event that contributed towards dispelling some cultural myths and established traditional values as one of the platform to be explored for addressing HIV/AIDS and related issues without prejudice and from needs based perspective.
Seminar on raising awareness for developing culture sensitive communication modalities for greater efficacy of attitude and behavior change for prevention of HIV/AIDS – the discourse in collaboration with the Goethe Institute Bangladesh and participation of representatives from UNAIDS, WHO, GTZ, ICDDR’B and USAID and the national media was considered a milestone in terms of addressing the extremely important factor of cultural dynamics.
Psycho-social counseling to a cross-section of audience of various ages on the issues of rights, gender, HIV/AIDS, education, climate change and poverty is a regular activity of the organization. One of the essential premises of these counseling sessions is to enable the participants to understand their social and moral roles and responsibilities as citizens and members of the community. Concurrently, in an informal manner the audience is provided essential education on the issues of poverty and how they can from the family and immediate vicinity to the national level contribute towards reducing socio-economic disparity.
|*(SAW) stands for Arabic Sallalahu Alayhe Wasallam (Peace be Upon Him)|
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