Most children in Bangladesh that have severe disabilities are seen as outcasts. An incredible lack of knowledge on syndromes, development stages and understanding their behaviour makes it difficult for the government or NGO’s to start appropriate projects for this specific group. Because of this they face great risks such as abuse and abandonment. Shocking numbers from UNFPA show that about 16-30% of boys and 40-68% of girls face sexual abuse before the age of eighteen.
Limited knowledge about disabilities and related negative attitudes results in the marginalization of children with disabilities within their families, schools and communities. In the Bangladeshi culture where guilt, shame and fear are associated with the birth of a child with a disability, said children are frequently hidden from view, ill-treated and excluded from activities that are crucial for their development. As a result of this discrimination, children with disabilities have poor health and education outcomes; they have low self-esteem and limited interaction with others; and they run a higher risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Niketan believes that people with disabilities have the right to develop themselves intellectually, socially and emotionally. They are entitled to be part of the society.
Without specialized guidance and support their problems will eventually become worse: disabilities will exacerbate, whilst poverty and exclusion from the community increases.
The unique capabilities of the child, the parents and the family are our starting point. Parents are part of the program and learn to stand up for their rights, to make better use of their resources to take care of their child. Niketan is committed to remove barriers for people with disabilities and give them equal opportunities in society. This is done through an appropriate and relevant range of training courses. Niketan provides information to the local population and authorities, schools and their teachers. We organize information sessions for schoolchildren and recruit volunteers for families with a disabled child.