Current Projects & Activities
Social Communication Emotional Skills Development Training
Shuchona Foundation has embarked on a program to develop a pool of trainers who train mothers/caregivers of young children, in partnership with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The program, which was formally launched on 4 June 2017, is being provided to mothers who are part of MoWCA’s Lactating Mothers’ Scheme program. Training sessions have been conducted to caregivers of day care centres, and Kishor-Kishori clubs from various urban areas till date. For the training, Shuchona has developed a manual for building caregivers’ capacity to develop children’s social-communication and emotional skills from birth to five years.
Training of Professionals
To address the need for capacity building of professionals working in the field of ASD, NDDs, and mental health, Shuchona Foundation has started providing technical training to professionals on various pertinent topics including a Foundation Course on ASD, which is delivered regularly, along with specialized trainings for professionals, such as ESDM, ABA, ASRS, Behavioral Intervention, Inclusive Education, Guide for Monitoring Child Development, Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Parent Skills Training, etc.
The collaborative approach and standardized application to handle mental health in disaster community level with professionals has led to designing the training program titled ToT on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issues within Crisis Preparedness and Management, which includes a research-based manual. The training is received by professionals from different ministries, national and international NGOs, and other organizations who work in the field of disaster. Partners for this initiative include Department of Disaster Management and Relief of Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, 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 ways it can be done, Shuchona Foundation has established contact with employers to gain an understanding of their needs, and coordinated ways they can be met with the assistance of 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. Shuchona Foundation has been working with the Leather Association, BKMEA, and BGMEA for this program and has completed conducting sessions on sensitization.
Technical Advisor for the Project A Comprehensive Approach to Identify Children with Disability through Capacity Building of Government and NGO Health Workers and Disability Service Mapping in Bangladesh
A 3-year pilot project on capacity building of government service providers to achieve early identification of children with autism was formally launched in February 2018. The project is implemented by faith Bangladesh and ICDDR,b, and funded by UNICEF. Shuchona Foundation is responsible for designing the technical components of the project, preparing the technical resources to be used, and training those responsible for implementing the project.
Teachers’ Training on Inclusive Education
From February to June 2018, Shuchona Foundation initiated a pilot program for the training of the school teachers for inclusive education, conducted at two mainstream schools- Auronee Biddalay and Scholastica with the help of a manual developed primarily by Shuchona. 13 sessions were piloted at each school. The aim was to train teachers on inclusive education, and the research components attached to it; and modify the manual to be used to mass-scale the program to more schools around the country.
National Strategic Plan for Bhutan
Shuchona Foundation is working closely with Royal Government of Bhutan, particularly the Ministry of Health, in order to develop a multi-sectorial collaborative national strategic plan for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders in Bhutan. The plan is to identify specific actions and objectives that can be implemented systematically and incorporated as part of the national development plan of the Government of Bhutan.
Advocacy and Networking (Recent & Upcoming)
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.
World Autism Awareness Day at UN HQ
On 5th April, 2018, 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 at the event organized by UN Department of Public Information (UN, DPI). Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson was invited to speak at the panel session titled Ableism, racism, sexism…how they intersect, which she attended in her capacity as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the Southeast Asia region, in addition to her other titles. Additionally, an exhibition booth was organized by Shuchona Foundation which represented the work of a number of organisations from Bangladesh.
The 2nd International Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management
With the primary focus of addressing disability issues in humanitarian crises, Shuchona participated in the 2nd International Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management. Chairperson, Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain advised the technical committee on the content of the conference, and attended as plenary speaker, chair of a session, and panel speaker. The conference was held from 15 to 17 May 2018 in Dhaka organized by Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) as the strategic partner. The outcome of the declaration highlighted ensuring participation of all individuals with disabilities within Disaster Risk Management (DRM) at local, national, regional and global levels.
Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Mental Health in Emergencies
As an expert in the field of ASD, Shuchona Chairperson Saima W. Hossain attended the Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Mental Health in Emergencies on 28-29 August, 2018 at Kathmandu, Nepal. She chaired the first session of a two-day workshop and presented on Cross-sectoral approach to MHPSS planning and implementations. The workshop was organized by WHO South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO), and Government of Nepal, Ministry of Health & Population.
3rd Annual Commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Shuchona Chairperson, Saima W. Hossain was invited to the 3rd annual commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 28 and 29th September 2018, organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure. The theme for this year’s IDUAI event was “The Asian Digital Revolution: Transforming the Digital Divide into a Dividend through Universal Access”. Ms. Hossain participated in two different workshops as panelist where she highlighted the availability of technological resources in Bangladesh for people in general and persons with disabilities, the barriers which are preventing the resources from proper utilization, and plans for minimizing those barriers.
Inclusion of Shuchona Foundation as a Member of the ESCAP Working Group
Shuchona Foundation is now a member of UNESCAP’s Working Group on Disability as a CSO, which was formally approved by the ESCAP Member States at the 74th Session of the ESCAP Commission in May 2018. Shuchona will be responsible for providing technical advice and support to ESCAP members and associate members, to promote the full and effective implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022.
5th World Autism Organisation International Congress 2018
Shuchona Foundation participated in the 5th World Autism Organization (WAO) Congress held in Texas, on 12-15 November 2018. Shuchona Foundation Chairperson Saima W. Hossain spoke at two panel sessions while other colleagues from Shuchona also spoke at panels, and conducted a workshop. This year’s WAO Congress, where the theme is “Closing the Gap” brought together individuals on the spectrum, families, professionals, and service providers.