Shuchona Foundation’s work can be broadly categorized under Advocacy, Research, and Capacity Building. Research is the cross-cutting category as all of our work has a research component integrated in it. The following is a brief outline of our current projects and advocacy efforts.
Advocacy and Networking
5th Asia Pacific Autism Conference, Sydney, Australia
Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson was invited as a headline speaker at the 5th Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC) held in Sydney, Australia in September 2017. The theme of the conference was “Growing with autism” reflecting the shift in autism research and practice to look beyond childhood, and instead, focus on the whole lifespan for people on the spectrum. Saima W. Hossain’s talk at APAC was titled Addressing the Complexity of ASD through Multisectoral Partnerships in the era of SDGs: Shuchona Foundation’s Experience since 2011.
Shuchona Foundation in High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Midpoint Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022
In November 2017, Shuchona Foundation Chairperson headed the Bangladesh delegation to the high-level meeting where she had a number of speaking engagements, chaired a session during the inter-ministerial segment, and also chaired a side event jointly organized by the Government of Bangladesh, UNESCAP and co-sponsored by WHO-SEARO. Additionally, Shuchona Foundation applied to be part of the working group on the Action Plan. COO Ms. Malka Shamrose accompanied her as representative from Shuchona Foundation with the aim to bring forth issues surrounding persons with Autism and NDDs in line with Shuchona’s objectives and strategic plan.
2nd International Development Pediatrics Association Congress
The 2nd International Development Pediatrics Association Congress was held in Mumbai, India from 7 to 10 December 2017. Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain was invited to co-moderate a session focusing on advocacy, along with Prof. Ilgi Ertem of Ankara University School of Medicine in Turkey. The session was titled Advocacy Efforts in Early Childhood Development and Disability held on 10 December 2017. The speakers at the session were Dr. Andy Shih of Autism Speaks, Dr. Bernadette Daelmans of WHO in Switzerland, and Ms. Jo McGowan Chopra of Latika Roy Foundation of India.
True Colors Festival – Asia-Pacific Festival of Artists with Disabilities
For the first time ever, UNESCO and the Nippon Foundation organized a festival for music, dance and arts in the region with the aim to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. A conference, and a discussion forum was additionally organized where the importance of cultural inclusion of persons with disabilities and potential artists with disabilities was discussed. Held from 22-25 March, the festival was grounded on the belief that the artistic and cultural integration of persons with disabilities is interconnected with the improvements of other disability-related issues and gender equality, which are integral parts of sustainable development.
World Autism Awareness Day at UN HQ
On 5th April, World Autism Awareness Day was observed at the UN HQ on the theme Empowering Women & Girls with Autism. A number of panel discussions were held in the morning at the event organised by UN Department of Public Information (UN, DPI). Additionally, there was an Autism Advantage Luncheon, and an exhibition of work done by representing organizations. Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson was invited to speak at the panel session titled Ableism, racism, sexism…how they intersect. The Chairperson attended the event in her capacity as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the Southeast Asia region, in addition to her other titles. The COO attended the events and organized the exhibition booth to represent the work of a number of organizations from Bangladesh.
Early Childhood Development Training
Shuchona Foundation has undertaken training program to develop a pool of trainers who in turn will train mothers/caregivers of young children, in partnership with ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The training program, which was formally launched on 4 June 2017, is being provided to mothers who are part of MoWCA’s lactating Mother’s Scheme program. For the training, a manual has been developed for building parents’/caregivers’ capacity to develop children’s social-communication and emotional skills from birth to five years.
Training of Professionals
T address the need for more capacity building for professionals working in the field of ASD, NDDs, and mental health, Shuchona Foundation in line with mandate of capacity building, has started providing to professionals on various pertinent topics including a foundation Course on ASD, Behavioural Intervention, Inclusive Education, Guide for Monitoring Child Development, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Parent Skills Training, etc.
Crisis planning Management: ToT on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issues within Crisis Preparedness and Management
This training for which a research-based is manual has been developed, have been received by professionals from different ministries, national and international NGOs, and other organization who work in the field of disaster. The objective of the training is to continue the process of developing a pool of trainers, with the capacity to respond to crisis and provide mental health support services when required. Partners for this initiative include Department of Disaster Management and Relief of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Center for Disability in Development (CDD), IOM, UNHCR, and WHO-SEARO.
Employment program: Sensitization Program on Employment of Persons with ASD
To sensitize interested potential employers on the benefits of employing persons with ASD, and different ways in which it can be done, Shuchona Foundation has established contact with contact with employers to gain an understanding of their needs, and coordinate ways they can be met with the assistance d Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP) who has long time experience in developing successful employment programs for persons with ASD. CASP’s input will then be contextualized as per Bangladesh’s local requirement. For this program, Shuchona Foundation will also be a working with the Leather Association, BKMEA, and BGMEA.
Technical Advisor for the Project: A Comprehensive Approach to Identify Children with Disability through Capacity Building of Government and NGO Health Workers and Disability Services Mapping in Bangladesh
A 23-year pilot project on capacity building of Government services providers to achieve early identification of children with autism was formally launched on 2018. The project will be implemented by faith Bangladesh and ICDDR, b, and founded by UNICEF. Shuchona Foundation will be responsible for designing for technical components of the project, preparing the technical resources to be used, and training those responsible for implementing the project. The project will determine whether government service providers at various level of the country’s healthcare system can be feasibly trained on the knowledge and skills necessary to identify children with autism and other NDDs through a tired screening process.
Teachers’ Training on inclusive Education
In February 2018, Shuchona Foundation initiated a pilot program for the training of the school teachers for inclusive education, which is being conducted Auronee Biddaloy and Scholastica School. 12 sessions are planned for each school with the option of adding few more sessions if needed. The aim is to train teachers on inclusive education, and the research component attached to it will record all the input from the teachers to understand the efficiency and effectiveness of the manual. Accordingly, the manual will be raised, which has been developed primarily by Shuchona Foundation.