Building an inclusive and empathetic society | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 15, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:13 AM, September 15, 2017

Building an inclusive and empathetic society

People suffering from learning disabilities are often left surrounded by social stigma, and treated with indifference. This happens due to the fact that, most people are not aware of the horrors those with disabilities have to face. This is where InclusionX steps in, a youth initiative formed in July 2015, aiming to create an avenue to streamline interaction between people with and without disabilities. It allows the larger part of the society (consisting of abled people) to gain a better understanding of what it means to live with disabilities.

InclusionX is the brainchild of Labib Tazwar Rahman. Through this project, students from different mainstream schools and colleges visit a school for the disabled and spend a day with students suffering from the Down syndrome and the autism spectrum. Labib says, “There is an inefficiency of knowledge about people with disabilities that leads to the pervasiveness of negative attitudes among the general public; we must break the myth that people with disabilities can't learn or work.”

InclusionX also arranges 'Joy of Computing'. It is a series of engaging, two-month long courses where students with special needs are taught basic computing skills and programmes such as Microsoft Office, e-mailing, and web surfing. They have further partnered with different schools and organisations to arrange art exhibitions and seminars, and incorporate music and dance performances by students with special needs in different events. In 2015, Viqarunnisa Noon School and College invited many special needs students to partake in their art competition. InclusionX also co-hosted an art competition last year where people with and without disabilities participated together.

Despite these accomplishments, Labib and his team still face many hurdles, as certain mainstream schools are still uncomfortable with having disabled students at their cultural events.

Volunteers at InclusionX share that, they have realised the importance of treating people of the disabled community with kindness and empathy. Ali Mashraf, a student volunteer who has been working with autistic children since 2014, says, “The way these children treat others with love and affection makes me feel shameful for the way they are generally marginalised in the society.”

Moving forward, InclusionX hopes to educate guardians on the proper way to raise a child with disability, and raise awareness all over Bangladesh about different disabilities. 

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