Intellectually-challenged people shouldn’t be neglected: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday sought the cooperation of all in establishing the rights of intellectually-challenged people in society and flourish their talents.

“Intellectually-challenged people shouldn’t be neglected in any way,” she said while inaugurating the 1st Special Olympics South Asia Five-a side Football Tournament, 2012 held at Banani Army Stadium in the afternoon.

The Prime Minister also stressed the need for having the cooperation of all in rehabilitating and improving the conditions of the intellectually-challenged people of the country.

“A god number of the country’s population is intellectually challenged. All we need is to extend support to rehabilitate and improve the conditions of this section of people,” she added.

Hasina said, “The intellectually-challenged kids are our children. It’s our duty to help them move ahead keeping pace with the mainstream of society.”

The premier said, “The problem of being intellectually challenged is not a disease. There’re intellectually challenged persons in many families of Bangladesh and they become a problem to their families, society and national life for lack of care and proper planning.”

To get rid of these problems, many institutions are being established across the globe apart from efforts to rehabilitate them in their families and society based on equal rights.

The Prime Minister recalled that in her previous term in 1999, Bangladesh’s disabled athletes brightened the country’s image clinching 21 gold, 9 silver and 6 bronze medals at the Special Olympics held in the USA.

She also congratulated the intellectually challenged athletes who had brought glory for the country in the World Games.

Hasina said whenever Awami League assumed office it worked for ensuring the welfare of all kinds of physically-challenged people and the present government is also working relentlessly to enhance facilities for them.

Listing various government programmes and activities for the welfare of the disabled, she mentioned that her government has taken steps to set up Disabled Sports Complex in Dhaka while specialised hospitals would be set up in all divisional headquarters for the physically-challenged people.

The government has taken initiatives to build a special Olympic Sports Complex with a view to involving the intellectually-challenged community in the sports and games as well as creating scopes for their training, practice and participation in the competition.

Sheikh Hasina said this complex would be used for identification, evaluation of the mentally-challenged people and providing them with training on games and sports and on different vocational course along with their rehabilitation.

Works have already begun for setting up ‘Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Specialised Hospital’ at Savar where nurses would be imparted special training to take care of the physically-challenged children.

Besides, Centre for Neuron Development and Autism in Children has been launched at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for the physically-challenged children, said the Prime Minister adding, “We’ve also formulated the national child policy where special directives have been given to take care of the disabled children.”

She said necessary directives have already been given so that all the physically-challenged children could enroll themselves in schools apart from ensuring the suitable infrastructural environment for them. “To ensure higher education for them, special arrangements have been made in public universities.”

The premier also underscored the need for ensuring the welfare of all classes to build ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Social Welfare Minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid, Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) president and Army Chief Gen M Abdul Mubeen, Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) president Nazrul Islam Majumder and GP CEO Tore Johnson spoke on the occasion.

Special Olympics Bangladesh chairman Dr Shamim Matin Chowdhury delivered the address of welcome while Special Olympics Bangladesh founder chairman Ashraf Dowla gave the vote of thanks.

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