‘Inclusion Matters: Looking Towards 2021’

Inclusive Skills Development (ISD) – a component of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, organised the event “Inclusion Matters: Looking Towards 2021” on yesterday 2 December, to mark todays “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”. GIZ works on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The aim of this event was to sensitise Bangladesh’s Readymade Garments (RMG) industry on including skilled workers with disabilities in the mainstream workforce. The “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” is globally celebrated on 3 December and this year’s theme is “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment of People of all Abilities”.

The prime objective of this event was to inaugurate “Champions of Inclusion”- a platform of RMG factory owners of Bangladesh to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the mainstream workforce. GIZ has organised this event in cooperation with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) and Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

During this event, the RMG factory owners were sensitised on national policies and international standards governing the economic inclusion of persons with disabilities through presenting success stories of workers with disabilities. There was also a discussion session, where Mr Khorshed Alam, Chief Executive Officer of NSDC, and Mr Syed Ahmed, Inspector General (Additional Secretary), Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE) along with RMG workers with disabilities and owners of RMG factories took part. It was discussed in the session that, equal access to dignified employment for persons with disabilities is currently being promoted by several national and international policies and documents.

In collaboration with Government of Bangladesh, NGO partners and private sector, the primary objective of the Inclusive Skills Development component is including persons with disabilities in the mainstream workforce of Bangladesh’s RMG industry by providing disability inclusive skills training, ensuring sustainable employment and promoting equal opportunities for all.

The “Bangladesh Rights and Protection of Persons with Disabilities Act” 2013”, calls for action to create work and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in public and private sectors. The Government of Bangladesh has already signed and ratified the “UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)” in 2007. Article 27 of the convention states that parties recognise the rights of persons with disabilities to work on an equal basis with others. So far, ISD has completed auditing in 92 RMG factories for barrier-free access and disability inclusive HR policies.

In the presence of the Chief Guest, Honourable State Minister, Md Shahriar Alam, M.P., Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Guest of Honour, His Excellency, Dr Thomas Prinz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; and the Special Guest, Honourable Mayor, Dhaka City Corporation-North, Mr Annisul Huq; along with the Special Guest, Mr Mohammed Nasir, Vice President (Finance), BGMEA, the logo of “Champions of Inclusion” was unveiledin front of the leading RMG business owners and related stakeholders in Bangladesh.

Change Agents: owners from Bangladesh Readymade Garments who responded to the calls for action at the event were- Bitopi Group, Fakhruddin Textiles Ltd, Urmi Group, Saiham Knit Composite Ltd, Vintage Denim Ltd, Pandora Associates Ltd, Viyellatex Group, Mohammadi Group, Pride Group, Evergreen Sweaters Ltd, Interstoff Group, and Renaissance Group & Sweater Makers Ltd.

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