Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP)’s visit to Bangladesh and the launching of the program: Empowerment of Families
Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson Saima W. Hossain hosted the launching of SF’s newest program (Empowerment of Families) which is a joint initiative with Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP), and Proyash Institute of Special Education & Research, supported by Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturer & Exporter’s Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB).
The CASP model emphasizes training families and professionals to work together to prepare students with different abilities to be independent, productive, and happy. The purpose of the program was to bring the Peruvian CASP model to Bangladesh, using Proyash’s set-up with the aim to expand beyond that over the next few years. CASP has about 40 years’ experience and provides a comprehensive educational system which includes programs that span the life of their students. CASP has grown to become an international model center of inclusion, training and research. Shuchona Foundation’s goal is for the CASP model to be implemented in special schools in Bangladesh, so students of different abilities can be equipped to be independent and productive members of their communities.
In Training-Phase I (July 16-20,2019), two experts from Peru, Liliana Mayo, PhD and Yemi Oyama along with the participants commenced with the visit of programs of Proyash Institute of Special Education. This was followed by several classroom observations and workshops staff, teachers, targeted towards the students and their respective parents over a the next few days. The first phase of the training was completed on 17-20 July 20, 2019.
About Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru and Liliana Mayo, Ph.D.: CASP trains families in the same procedures used by their specialists so they can continue the education of their children at home and in the community. It emphasizes on motivation and on maintaining high expectations for their children so that they can achieve the goal of becoming independent, productive and happy. CASP has successfully placed over 100 individuals in mainstream jobs in more than 30 companies, including IT companies, financial firms, government offices such as the National Congress of Peru, factories, restaurants and banks.
Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú (CASP) is a nonprofit educational organization created in Peru in 1979 by Liliana Mayo, Ph.D. to serve the community of people with different abilities (such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or developmental delay) and their families. Dr. Mayo, a member of Shuchona Foundation’s Advisory Council, is an Honorary Professor at the University of San Marcos; Associate Professor, University of Kansas; and Universidad Catolica del Peru. She has given lectures and seminars in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Germany, Holland, Japan, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Turkey as well as in the United States, in which she presented topics related to the Functional/Natural Curriculum of CASP and the active involvement of parents in their children’s education.
Workshop to Review and Revise Shuchona Foundation’s Inclusive Education Training Manual for Teachers
Shuchona Foundation developed a manual for training teachers as per one of the ascribed requirements in the National Strategic Plan for Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2016-2021 of the Government of Bangladesh. The manual was developed to support teachers in developing and expanding their own capacities to facilitate the learning of all students in the mainstream classroom, with a focus on the inclusion of students with disabilities. By providing research-based strategies and hands-on practice, the hope is for teachers to experience an attitude-shift towards the inclusion of students with disabilities in the mainstream classroom.
In January 2019, the Ministry of Education arranged a workshop for the manual to be reviewed by experts who are esteemed in the field of education. Twenty-seven experts from the field of education were selected based on their specializations.
On 17-19 May 2019, a residential workshop was conducted to begin the process of implementing the proposed revisions to the manual. The participants included a pool of experts: Shirin Z. Munir,Ph.D, Faculty (part-time), Department of Education & Counselling Psychology, Dhaka University and also SF EC Member, Prof. Dr. Tareq Ahsan and Prof. Dr. S M Hafizur Rahman from Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University, Iqbal Hossain and Muzibur Rahman, Education Officer, from Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Mia Enamul Haque from National Curriculum and Textbook Board and the Shuchona Foundation Management team.
The participants were divided into three groups to begin work on the revisions and restructuring of the manual content and training materials. During the workshop the groups engaged in in-depth discussions for the final review of the manual. The revised manual is proposed to be utilized as part of a pilot program in 40 selected schools in the 8 divisions to understand the efficacy and effectiveness of the manual, with the goal to make teachers more effective as educators.
Additional workshop was held in the beginning of August as a part of series of activities to continue the revision of the manual to have it be ready in the next few months.
Shuchona Foundation participates in The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction held in Switzerland
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) is a biennial multi-stakeholder forum established by the UN General Assembly to review progress, share knowledge and discuss the latest developments and trends in reducing disaster risk. Organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and hosted by the Government of Switzerland, it was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 13-17 May 2019.
The GPDRR is a critical component of the monitoring and implementation process of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030). The outcomes of the Global Platform notify the opinions of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the UN 2019 Climate Summit from a disaster risk reduction perspective. These efforts contribute towards the successful achievement of a risk-informed 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
Shuchona Foundation Chairperson, Ms. Saima W. Hossain spoke at the event titled: Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems: progress and challenges to achieve target G. where she participated along with other representatives from International Disability Alliance, Africa Region, Americas/Latin America Region, Asia Region, Europe Region, Pacific Region. She was also a speaker at the Side Event and Advocacy Session on Dhaka Declaration 2015+. Nazish Arman, Coordinator Content Development from Shuchona Foundation participated in the forum along with Ms. Hossain.
The discussions at GPDRR involved themes such as- Linkages with climate change action; Governance issues for MHEWS: coordination among several levels of government (regional, national and sub-national); Inclusiveness through all decision-making process on designing, implementing EWS, co-designing warning messages and enabling early action, amongst others.
Over the past decade, the Global Platform has assumed the role of assessing and reviewing the progress in the implementation of the global disaster risk reduction agenda, and to serve as a platform for governments and stakeholders to share good practices, identify gaps, and make recommendations to further accelerate the implementation.
Study Visit of Bangladesh Delegates in The Philippines organized by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Bangladesh
World Food Program (WFP)-Bangladesh organized an international study visit on Social Safety-net for the underprivileged pregnant women and their children. It was a two-day study tour starting on 29th April and ending on 2nd May 2019.
The Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation Ms. Saima W. Hossain and COO, Ms. Malka Shamrose participated in the study tour. High officials from different ministries of Government of Bangladesh and WFP also participated in the study visit. SF Chairperson, Chairperson of National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs. Ms. Hossain was the Special Advisor for this study visit and led a delegation team of 16 members from Bangladesh. The program was designed to better outline the Lactating Mothers Allowance Program under Ministry of Women and Children Affairs sponsored by WFP.
During the two-day visit, the delegates observed Pantawid Pailyang Pilpino Program (4Ps) in Bicol Region. This program is a national flagship program for human development through Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children from 0-18 years. The program targets poor households with pregnant mothers and children in Philippines. The delegation team was accompanied by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin, Deputy Program Manager for Operations Irene Dumlao and Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia during the visit. Bangladeshi delegates visited Guinobatan to discuss with local officials regarding the town’s disaster management operation, as well as social and health programs. To learn about the experiences of the community and the good practices implemented by the DSWD Field Office V, delegates also visited Guinobatan West Evacuation Center, Barangay Maguiron Health Center and Barangay Muladbucad Grande Health Center.
The DSWD officials and the delegates expressed mutual interests in sharing and exchange of information and expertise that are beneficial to both countries to effectively provide its services to those who are in need.
SF Chair Participated in The 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) hosted by People’s Republic of China
The 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF), an initiative for economic cooperation by the government of China was held this year in continuation of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRFIC 2017) from 25-27 April 2019. Shuchona Foundation Chair Ms. Saima W. Hossain along with the Industries Minister, Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun represented Bangladesh in the forum. 38 heads of state and government and 6,000 high officials from 150 countries and 92 international organizations joined the 2nd BRF. Ms. Hossain was invited as one of BRF’s most valuable partners to share her views and suggestion on promoting international cooperation in the field of disability under the Belt and Road initiative.
The joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to enhance connectivity and practical cooperation. Several cooperation projects have been launched, and the decisions of the first BRF have been smoothly implemented. More than 150 countries and international organizations have signed agreements on Belt and Road cooperation with China.
Prior to the forum, Ms. Hossain visited China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and some of their services to better understand how PWD’s are being supported currently in China on 24th April 2019. She met CPDF Chairwoman Zhang Haidi who introduced the development of the disability cause in China in recent years. Zhang pointed out that Bangladesh is an important partner involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. Disability issues, especially autism rehabilitation are the area of common concern for Bangladesh and China. Ms. Hossain explored the possibilities of a regional partnership for training professionals in order to address a mutually shared challenge. The CDPF also expressed their interest to work with Shuchona Foundation to promote the development of disability undertaking between the two sides and in the Asia Pacific region.
National Mental Health Strategic Plan Working Group Meeting
Shuchona Foundation Chairperson, Chairperson of National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs and Chief Advisor of the Working Group, Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain attended the first meeting of “National Mental Health Strategic Plan Working Group” which was held on 11 April 2019 at New DGHS Building (Shasthya Bhaban). The meeting was chaired by Professor Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General, Directorate of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Working group coordinator Subhash Chandra Sarkar, Prof Golam Rabbani and senior government officials attended the meeting amongst others.
During the meeting Ms. Hossain emphasized on the need for creating skilled manpower to ensure standard mental healthcare services to people and suggested incorporating mental health related activities of different ministries and departments in the National Mental Health Strategy in accordance with the Mental Health Act-2018 and the proposed Mental Health Policy. She also mentioned that other than infrastructural development, creating skilled manpower is an important measure to ensure standard mental healthcare services to all,” she said while addressing a meeting of the working group on the formulation of the National Mental Health Strategy.
Dr Azad stated that no alternative to standard mental health services is offered for aiming to ensure the overall healthcare of people. He encouraged active participation of all concerned for designing of a long-term mental health strategy and its implementation.
The participants discussed on Mental Health Strategic Plan and future directives followed by Technical Task Team formation with approval of TOR. Followed by discussion on the present scenario of mental health services in Bangladesh and upcoming plans in this regard.
Research Design & Methodology Training for Shuchona Foundation
A 6-day Orientation Workshop of Research Methodology was participated by the Management team and current interns of Shuchona Foundation (SF) from 20-28 March 2019 at the SF training facility. The organizational expectation from this training was to validate and determine the efficacy and effectiveness of the programs/products Shuchona Foundation develops in the field of neuro-developmental disorders and mental health. In detailing the expectations out of a research, Shuchona Foundation needs to develop a knowledge base pertaining to research in order to aid in our understanding.
The sessions were designed in order to provide the participants with a preliminary understanding of research methods and design. The training was conducted by research experts, Dr. S M Saidur Rahman Mashreky (CIPRB) & Dr. Mohammad Mushtuq Husain (IEDCR) and researcher Dr. Md. Rizwanul Karim (DGHS).
Before the workshop, the trainers shared the outline of the training with the participants, along with the mechanism for knowledge-check that was used for the training (pre/post on the content). To save time participants did the pre-questionnaire day before the training started and post-test was be conducted day after the completion of the orientation workshop.
Shuchona Foundation conducts training on Social Communication and Emotional Skills Development (SCESD) Manual at Rangamati
Shuchona Foundation conducted a 6-day training session with the leaders of the Kishor-Kishori Club at Conference Hall in Hotel Prince, Rangamati from 24-28 February 2019. This training was part of the Early Childhood Development project (ECD) which Shuchona is carrying out in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The training was on “Early Child Development” (0 to 5 years old) which was participated by adolescent participants.
The training program was designed with the aim to create awareness of the importance of monitoring early childhood development. This training focused on adolescents with the knowledge that in about a decade’s time, these participants will become parents themselves, and knowledge on ECD will make them better parents bringing up a healthy future generation. The participants gathered were from different ethnic groups of Rangamati.
These community leaders were the fourth in line to receive training from Shuchona Foundation. The training will then be followed up with Refresher Trainings over the year. The objective of these trainings isxz to select master trainers from the training course who will then be eligible to facilitate trainings in their communities by themselves in the future. Previously the team conducted trainings for the Kishor-Kishori Clubs at Sylhet, Gopalganj and Sirajganj.
The training sessions were conducted by Assistant Coordinator, Program, MD. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury, and trainers Pranay Bhuiyan and Khadiza Akter from Shuchona Foundation.
All the participants undertook interactive training sessions, for instance: hands on activity, group work, Q/A, role-playing/demo. The trainers also showed videos which were very enthusiastically received by the attendees.
Shuchona Foundation’s Annual General Meeting
The members of Shuchona Foundation assembled for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 16 February 2019. The AGM was held at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Auditorium attended by general members including Executive Committee members along with the auditor, a number of Shuchona Foundation’s advisors, and the management team.
This year’s Annual General Meeting was an opportunity for the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and the Chief Operating Officer of the Foundation to present a report to the members highlighting the achievements of the previous year, i.e. 2017-2018. Along with presenting highlights, the previous year’s audited financial report, appointment of its auditor, other organizational matters were discussed at length which were approved at the AGM. Some of them included the approval of Bangla version of Shuchona’s Constitution, the 3-year expansion plan (approved by EC) and annual budget.
The AGM concluded with closing remarks and vote of thanks by Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, Saima W. Hossain where she spoke about the progress Shuchona is making locally and being recognized internationally for its expertise as well. She acknowledged SF’s continuous growth in terms of size along with the areas and scope of work. She also thanked the general members for their faith in Shuchona Foundation, the Executive Committee members for always being generous with their time, advice, and support, the advisory council members for their guidance whenever requested, and the management team for its efforts.
Shuchona in Fifth Session of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2013-2022)
Ms. Saima W. Hossain, Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation attended the Fifth Session of the Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2013-2022) from 21-22 February 2019. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and took place at United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
Last year Shuchona Foundation was selected as one of the fifteen CSO (Civil Society Organization) members of the UNESCAP Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, (2013-2022) upon recommendation of the Secretariat. Shuchona’s membership was formally approved by the ESCAP Member States at the 74th Session of the ESCAP Commission in May 2018.
The Working Group on the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022 was established in early 2013 as an advisory body for the full and effective implementation of the Incheon Strategy. The Working Group constitutes 30 members: 15 from governments and 15 from civil society organizations. To promote total effective implementation of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022, the main responsibility of the Working Group is to provide technical advice and support to ESCAP members and associate members.
The purpose of the sessions was to review the progress being made on implementation of the Incheon Strategy within the Asia-Pacific region. The key objectives of the meeting were to review recent progress made on implementing the Incheon Strategy since the last session and discuss the strategic plans of the Working Group for the upcoming years of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities; followed by reviewing the Rules of Procedure of the Working Group for its second term (2018-2022).
This was the first time the Working Group met after members and associate members of ESCAP endorsed the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan through resolution ESCAP/RES/74/7, and the new composition of the Working Group at the 74th session of the Commission (Bangkok, 11-16 May 2018).
Chairperson’s visits to health facilities at Bangkok, Thailand
While in Bangkok, Shuchona Chairperson visited a few facilities on 20 February 2019, among which were the National Institute of Child Health Development. The institute promotes the healthy development of children. She was welcomed by Dr. Panpimol Wipulakorn, Director-General, Department of Health, Dr. Nonthanawanun Suntra, Director of National Institute of Child Health Development, and other staff. The Institute briefed about the Miracle of the First 1000 days Project and visited a parent training on nutrition.
Next Ms. Hossain visited the Department of Mental Health where she met Dr. Kiattipoom Wongrajit, Director-General, Department of Mental Health, Samai Sirithongthaworn, MD, Deputy Director-General, Department of Mental Health, Dr. Burin Suraaroonsamrit, Director, Bureau of Mental Health Service, Mrs. Noppawan Sriwongpanich, Director of Yuwaprasat Waithayopathum Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital, among others. There she learned about the Child Development Program, which includes developmental assessments, diagnostic tools (for Autism), and manuals for parents that have all been developed for the Thai population.
Lastly, Chairperson visited the Yawaprasart Waithayopathum Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital and was greeted by Samai Surithongthaworn, MD, Deputy Director-General, Department of Mental Health, Mrs. Noppawan Sriwongpanich, Director of YWCAP Hospital, and other staff from the hospital. The hospital targets patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ensuring they have access to all levels of services. Ms. Hossain learned about the history of the hospital and the services that are currently provided there, such as diagnosis and treatment plans, interventions, school-readiness, life skills training, vocational training, etc. A tour of the physiotherapy room and sensory room was also given by the staff working there.
Review Workshop on Inclusive Education hosted by Ministry of Education
With reference to the National Strategic Plan for Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2016-2021 of the Government of Bangladesh, Shuchona Foundation developed a manual on inclusive education strategies. The Ministry of Education arranged the workshop for the manual to be reviewed by experts who are esteemed in the field of education. Twenty-seven experts from the field of education were selected based on their specializations. Prior to the workshop, copies of the manual in Bangla and English were given to each of the experts. They were requested to review the manual prior to attending the workshop. The workshop was conducted on 31 January, Conference Hall, NAEM, Hosted by Ministry of Education.
The objectives of the workshop were to compile experts’ feedback on the manual based on identified pillars: concepts, content, activities, translation, and impact/monitoring, and to facilitate group discussions based on the experts’ review of the manual. During the workshop the participants engaged in group discussions and group presentations and Ms. Saima W. Hossain, Chief Coordinator of the workshop, provided concluding remarks with a summary of the participants’ recommendations. The final recommended changes to the manual will be a compilation of the experts’ remarks provided on the manual and the workshop discussions.
The IE Review workshop was chaired by Md. Sohrab Hossain, Secretary, Secondary and Higher Education Department, Ministry of Education with Honorable Minister, Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, Ministry of Education as the chief guest. Other special guests present were Honorable Deputy Minister, Mr. Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury, MP, Ministry of Education and Secretary, Mohammad Alamgir, Technical and Madrassa Education Department, Ministry of Education.
Shuchona Foundation attends Workshop on Mental Health Strategy organized by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
On 3 February 2019, Shuchona Foundation participated in the workshop on Mental Health Strategy where the aim was to have a discussion on the national mental health strategy for Bangladesh with relevant stakeholders from the Government and development partners, among others. During the workshop, the participants had a preliminary discussion on the overall direction of the strategy for Bangladesh and the way forward. The workshop was conducted in the Conference Room of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
It is hoped that the strategic action plan will guide Bangladesh to provide effective services to those in need; and lead us in strategizing and assisting the reintegration of persons with mental health conditions into all aspects of community life thus, improving their overall quality of life. It will be designed as a roadmap to develop policies and comprehensive strategies for improving the mental health of the population and facilitate all stakeholders to determine the way to use existing resources to achieve the greatest possible benefits. Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain attended the workshop as principal discussant along with Dr. Murad Hassan, M.P., Hon’ble State Minister, MoHFW as special guest and Mr. Zahid Maleque, M.P., Hon’ble Minister, MoHFW as Chairperson.
The Commencement of Internship Program at Shuchona Foundation
On 22 January 2019, Shuchona Foundation embarked on a partnership with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology (DECP) and Institute of Education & Research (IER) of University of Dhaka to run an internship program with concerned departments to contribute to the expansion of local resource pool of experts.
As per the agreement, the departments will select the candidates for the internship program where students from DECP will intern for 3 months and candidates from IER will intern for 6 months as per their department requirements. This will include initial visits to mainstream schools for observation under the supervision of Shuchona’s expert Consultant, Ashley E. Adkins, who will also be providing training and teaching modules to the interns. Recently, Shuchona has partnered with 7 mainstream and special schools. After the initial observations, each intern will be placed in each of the 7 schools for implementing the knowledge and skills related to the field of ASD& NDDS they obtained from the earlier school visits and teaching sessions that they attended.
Shuchona Foundation is looking forward to a successful collaboration with both Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology (DECP) and Institute of Education & Research (IER) of University of Dhaka and continue this program over the coming academic years. The internship program will commence on 07 February 2019.
Shuchona Foundation and World Food Programme’s collaboration on MoWCA’s project’ Improved Maternity and Lactating Mother Allowance (IMLMA) Programme
Shuchona Foundation and World Food Programme (WFP) is planning to work together on WFP’s project titled Improved Maternity and Lactating Mother Allowance (IMLMA). This program is under Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) to develop a nutrition-sensitive programme as envisaged in the NSSS.
On 07 January 2019, WFP and Shuchona Foundation discussed about the project with reference to the Social Communication and Emotional Skills Development (SCESD) manual developed by Shuchona Foundation. WFP intends to incorporate SCESD manual based training in the nutrition-sensitive package. Shuchona is eager to measure the effectiveness of the training on SCESD portion along with other significant components of the package.
Present in the meeting were Rezaul Karim, Head, Social Safety Net Policies and Programmes, Farzana Akter, Head, School Feeding, Ms. Masing Newar, Senior Programme Policy, Officer, Ms. Tonima Sharmi, Nutrition Officer, Sneha Lata, Programme Policy Officer, School Feeding, Mahmuda Akhter National Consultant, from World Food Programme; Mr. Saydur Rahman Siddiquee, Dr. Zeba Mahmud, Country Director from Alive & Thrive and Ms. Aklima Parvin from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Additionally, from Shuchona Foundation, Malka Shamrose, COO, Dr. Nusrat Y. Ahmed, Consultant & Expert, Md. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury, Assistant Coordinator, Program and Evalin Rafia, Trainer participated in the meeting too. WFP presented on their ongoing activities regarding overall well-being of women and children of Bangladesh. After the presentation, WFP shared their proposed IMLMA model and discussed with Shuchona as how to collaborate befittingly.
As a follow up of the previous meeting, on 10 January, Mamun Rashid, Programme Policy Officer and Mahmuda Akhter, National Consultant from World Food Programme had a preliminary discussion with Shuchona team on the IMLMA package. The vision is to bring in half the population of new born children (in Bangladesh) under this scheme by year 2020. The program will run for a mother for 5 years (from 5 months pregnant until 4 years old of her child). Another follow up meeting is scheduled on 21 January 2019 at WFP office in Dhaka.
Shuchona chairperson at the special discussion with youth on bangladesh awami league’s election manifesto
On 26 December 2018, an event titled “Youth power, Prosperity of Bangladesh” was organized by Centre for Research and Information (CRI) and Social media campaign #IAmBangladesh as event partner at Krishibid Institute Bangladesh. Six eminent personalities belonging to different sectors like sports, communication, and education spoke at this special discussion with youth on the election manifesto of Bangladesh Awami League. The speakers were:
Ms. Saima W. Hossain, Licensed School Psychologist, Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs and WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the South East Asia Region
Advocate Tarana Halim, Honorable State Minister, Ministry of Information, Bangladesh
Dr. Atiur Rahman, Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank
Mr. Atiqul Islam, Former President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)
Prof Dr. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, science fiction author, physicist, academic and activist
Mehedi Hasan Miraz , National Cricketer.
They all spoke about how Bangladesh has been moving forward in various sectors despite challenges at every level. The discussions also included the achievements Awami League has unlocked over the years and what measures could be taken for further development and improvement.
Our Chairperson, Ms. Saima W. Hossain spoke about the exemplary ways disability is being addressed in Bangladesh, setting a course for other countries to follow. She also spoke about how the work is paving the way towards inclusive development and empowerment of all people.
Shuchona Chairperson Saima W. Hossain At The Unesco/emir Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Prize For Digital Empowerment Of Persons With Disabilities Award Ceremony 2018
Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, Saima W. Hossain attended ‘The UNESCO/Emir Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities’ as Chair of the jury board and one of the speakers in a moderated roundtable discussion.
The UNESCO/Emir Jaber Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Kuwait) aims to reward the individuals and organizations who promote inclusion and contribute to the lives of persons with disabilities in society through active, innovative and inclusive application of digital solutions.
With respect to UNESCO’s strategic objectives, especially in Communication and Information, this year’s theme ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’ involved interpreting human rights and fundamental freedoms into implementation with the aim to remove barriers enabling greater access to information and knowledge. This included learning and participating in society through the effective application of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The prize has also direct thematic linkages to UNESCO’s other major programs.
This year for the first time, a Bangladeshi, Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee was bestowed with the award under individual category for his work in developing Bangladesh’s first Accessible Dictionary in four forms for people with visual, print and learning disabilities. The prize recognized his contribution to the empowerment of people with disabilities through application of ICT to access information and knowledge.
The half-day event included opening ceremony and keynote speeches, high-level panel discussion with international speakers and experts working in the area of disabilities, screening of the Film “True Colours Festival”, and a cultural program which included performances by UNESCO Artists for peace and artists with disabilities.
Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation at the 5th World Autism Organization International (WAO) Congress 2018
Ms. Saima W. Hossain, Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation attended the 5th World Autism Organization International (WAO) Congress 2018 from 12-15 November 2018 which took place in Houston, Texas, USA. The conference was jointly hosted by associations from Texas and Mexico along with collaboration of the Autism Society of America and professionals from the Texas Medical Center supported by WAO.
The congress offered comprehensive program of distinguished speakers to people with autism, their families, friends and relevant professionals. Ms. Hossain presented on Autism Around the World and another session titled Effective Strategies for Addressing the Diversified Learning Needs of Students in Mainstream Classrooms. Additionally, Nazish Arman and Ashley Adkins from Shuchona Foundation presented at the Congress, where Malka Shamrose, COO of Shuchona participated as well.
This year’s theme of the WAO Congress, “Closing the Gap” facilitated opportunities where service providers, professionals and families shared their knowledge, experiences and support with each other. Discussions took place on diverse topics related to latest research, enhancing practical skills and personal experiences.
Shuchona Chairperson Meets with CASP in Peru to Develop Employment Program for PwNDDs
Chairperson of Shuchona, Ms. Saima W. Hossain visited Lima, Peru from 4-11 November 2018 along with her other team members: Chief Operating Officer, Malka Shamrose, Coordinator, Content Development, Nazish Arman and Consultant, Ashley E. Adkins. The purpose of the visit was to develop the supported employment program for Persons with Neurodevelopmental Disorders (PwNDDs) in Bangladesh in collaboration with Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru (CASP). The focal Point in Peru was Liliana Mayo Ortega, Ph.D., Founder and General Director, Centro Ann Sullivan del Peru. CASP is a non-profit educational organization which has about 40 years of experience in conducting successful community- based programs that provide employment to persons with NDDs.
In addition to the CASP visit, the Shuchona team visited the Congress of the Republic of Peru where 6 students are currently employed. After that the team visited supported employment businesses San Miguel Community and Banco de Credito. They also observed training centers and classrooms integrated with supported employment program supplemented by thorough discussions with other relevant stakeholders.
An interview of Ms. Saima W. Hossain regarding the Peru visit was featured in one of the daily newspapers in Peru in addition to other online portals in both Peru and Bangladesh.
Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities including Neuro Developmental Disorder (NDD) through ICT
An introductory session was conducted with the future master trainers under the ICT Ministry’s project titled “Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities including Neuro Developmental Disorder (NDD) through ICT” at the ICT Tower on 31st October, 2018. The project which started from July 2017, is for three years, till June 2020.
The speakers at the session were Chief Operating Officer, Malka Shamrose and Assistant Coordinator (Program), Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury from Shuchona Foundation.
During the session, the team introduced Shuchona Foundation to the participants and told them about the current projects and plans Shuchona is involved in. After the end of the discussion, inputs were taken from the participants. The feedbacks gave an idea regarding what was taken away by the participants at the introductory session.
The objective of the project is to develop e-Learning platforms along with producing accessible Audio-Video tutorial for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). The project also aims to establish ICT Resource Center for PwDs under BCC Regional offices for providing training and facilitate employment. The plan is to make ICT known among persons with disabilities which will also include NDD awareness program conducted through different educational institution on a national level.
Shuchona coordinated and presented in the sensitization session for Inclusive Education under the SDG project at the Prime Minister’s Office
Shuchona Foundation coordinated and presented in the sensitization session for Inclusive Education under the SDG project on 18 October 2018 at the Prime Minister’s Office, Dhaka. The sensitization was the first step before the onset of the training. The project involved participation from 40 schools across 8 divisions of Bangladesh. The session was joined by focal persons, Secretary, Joint Secretary & Additional Secretary from Ministry of Primary & Mass Education; Ministry of Education; Technical Education Board; Madrasa Education Board which includes Ibtadaye and Dakhil, along with the SDG project coordinator & director. Others present in the meeting were District Commissioner (DC), Zila Education Officer, Upazila Education Officer, Zila primary Education Officer, Upazila primary Education Officer and school management Committee members & related persons.
The Shuchona team presented on “Inclusion: Addressing the Diverse Learning Needs of Students under the project: SDG, social inclusion nationwide”. The presentation initiated discussions on introduction to sensitization for inclusive education and understanding the concept, as well as the roles & responsibilities of relevant stakeholders. The pre-test for this session was already conducted with the attendees and a post test was taken after the presentation. After the presentation there was a Q/A session moderated by our Executive Committee Member, Shirin Z. Munir, Ph.D with a proposed training plan, followed by discussion by COO, Malka Shamrose.
The Inclusive Education program, under which the sensitization session was held (on 18 October, 2018) will have a strong research component attached to evaluate the efficacy of the training program.
Shuchona Conducts 3rd 5-Day Foundation Course on ASD and other NDDs
A 5-day Foundation Course on Autism Spectrum Disorder from 05-09 October 2018 was conducted for the third time designed and delivered by Shuchona Foundation. The objective of the course was to build a strong foundational understanding of ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Among the seventeen participants were doctors, therapists, teachers, along with other professionals.
The sessions began with an introduction to early childhood development and other different theories in the field followed by an introduction to neurodevelopmental disorders and overview of international classifications in NDDs and the latest changes in the field. The other ones focused on behavioral criteria in ASD diagnosis, brain function and multidisciplinary evaluations; social communication issues in ASD and other developmental interventions, for instance educational and behavioral interventions for management of ASD. Group discussions were coordinated to give participants a first-hand experience in analyzing behavior prior to designing interventions. The last sessions were on pharmacotherapy and ethics of working with persons with ASD.
The experts who were instructors during the sessions were – Saima W. Hossain, Licensed School Psychologist & Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Bangladesh; Shirin Zaman Munir, Ph.D., Expert in Special Education & Disability Issues and Part Time Faculty, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, Dhaka University; Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Psychiatrist & Associate Professor, Child, Adolescent & Family Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health, Bangladesh; Dr. Nusrat Ahmed, Specialist in ASD and Research & Capacity Building, Shuchona Foundation and Ashley Adkins, Special Education Teacher.
Training on ECD Conducted for 80 Caregivers of Daycare Centres at MoWCA
The Second Refresher Training on Early Childhood Development (ECD) organized by Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) was given to 80 caregivers working at day-care centres. The training was conducted in two different batches. The first batch had their training on 30 September, 2018; and the training for second batch was on 01 October, 2018 at the Directorate of MoWCA. Each batch had 40 participants.
The training sessions included Q/A sessions, reviewing the ECD manual. The participants shared experiences and the challenges they encountered during the implementation of the manual.
On the first day of the training, Nasima Begum, ndc, Secretary from MoWCA, Kazi Rowshan Akhter, Director General, and Shah Nawaz Dilruba Khan, Additional Director from Department of Women Affairs were present and on the second day Mahmuda Sharmin Benu, Additional Secretary, MoWCA was present. The Project Director, Mst. Ferdousi Begum, Deputy Secretary and was present both days in all the training sessions.
The sessions were conducted by Dr. Nusrat Y. Ahmed, MD. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury and Evalin Rafia from Shuchona Foundation.
Shuchona Chairperson Saima W. Hossain Lends Expertise at the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information in Sri Lanka
Recently Ms. Saima W. Hossain, Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs had been invited to the 3rd annual commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) for 28 and 29th September 2018 in Colombo, organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure assisted by Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO (SLNCU). This event took place also in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Finance and Mass Media and the Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka.
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 along with other dignitaries from Sri Lanka and India.
The first workshop was on “High Level Debate on Universal Access to Information-Ensuring Rights and Openness of Information” and the second was OER and Disability. She highlighted the availability of technological resources in Bangladesh for people in general and persons with disabilities-the way in which they are being integrated in the education system and the barriers which are preventing the resources from proper utilization. She also discussed plans for minimizing those barriers.
Prior to the UNESCO event, Ms. Hossain attended meetings on 26 and 27 September, 2018 with the Health Minister and other high officials of the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka and shared experiences for development of services for children with special needs in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. She also met other significant members of the Steering Committee on NDDs, key officials involved in ECD and Education sector, and other stakeholders such as parents, teachers, and health professionals, who assist in developing a holistic program for children with ASD as part of mental health and disability. She also visited the Child Development centre in Faculty of Medicine, Ragama and centre providing services for Autism & NDDs School with inclusive education on 27 September 2018.
Shuchona Foundation Conducts Early Childhood Development Training in Moulvibazar, Sylhet
Shuchona Foundation conducted a 5-day training session with the leaders of the Kishor-Kishori Club at the Heed Bangladesh Training Centerat Komolganj, Moulvibazar,Sylhet from 21 September, 2018 to 25 September, 2018. This training was part of the Early Childhood Development project (ECD) which Shuchona is carrying out in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The training was on “Early Child Development” (0 to 5 years old), participated by 46 youth leaders, aged 14-17 years old.
The training program had been designed with the aim to create awareness of the importance of monitoring early childhood development and is focused on adolescents as they will become parents themselves, and knowledge on ECD is essential to shape them into being better parents bringing up a healthy future generation. These community leaders were the third batch in series to receive training from Shuchona Foundation. The training will then be followed up with Refresher Trainings over the year.
All the participants undertook interactive training sessions, for instance: hands on activity, group work, Q/A, role-playing/demo. The trainers also showed videos which were very enthusiastically received by the attendees.The training sessions were conducted by MD. SerajusSadekin Chowdhury, Evalin Rafia, and Khadiza Akhter from Shuchona Foundation.
Shuchona Foundation attends “Autism Dialogue: Mobile Apps and Games for Persons with Autism”
On 13 September, 2018, Skill Development for Mobile Games and Application Project of ICT Division organized ‘Autism Dialogue: Mobile Apps and Games for Persons with Autism’. The objective of the forum was to explore gaps and challenges in designing mobile based apps and games for persons with autism aged 6-13 years, and how they can be more user-friendly. Representatives from different organizations was invited to participate in the meeting-Neuro-Developmental Disability Protection Trust, Jatiyo Protibondhi Unnoyon Foundation (JPUF), Autism Welfare Foundation, Shuchona Foundation, Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled, Bangladesh (SWID), PFDA – Vocational Training Center, among others.
They discussed about the identification of requirements and taking up recommendations for suitable mobile games and applications which will be designed and developed under this project from the representatives. Syeda Sarawar Jahan, Additional Secretary and Project Director Mohammad Abdul Hai, Deputy Secretary from ICT Ministry, Didarul Alam Sunny, Director from BASIS, Tanzia Mahbub Redi, Young Professionals and Md. Nahid Alam, Innovation Fund Expert from a2i along with Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury and Ashley Adkins from Shuchona Foundation attended the meeting.
Accelerating Protection for Children (APC) organizes workshop on Standardized Adolescent Package (SAP)
The 3-day residential workshop for the development of the Standardized Adolescent Package (SAP) was organized by Accelerating Protection for Children (APC) Project office under the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) with technical support from UNICEF Child Protection Section from 4-6 September 2018 at BCDM, Savar.
The workshop was participated by Dr. Nusrat Ahmed and Ashley Adkins from Shuchona Foundation along with other well reputed organizations working in the field.
The objective of the workshop was to take forward the discussion to develop comprehensive program for adolescent clubs in Bangladesh in collaboration with all the relevant Ministries/Divisions, I/NGOs, key stakeholders, practitioners. Under the leadership of MoWCA, peer leaders from different adolescent clubs were also present to provide their valuable input during the discussion.
Shuchona Chairperson Attends WHO Workshop on Mental Health in Emergencies
Chairperson Saima W. Hossain attended the Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Mental Health in Emergencies as an expert on 28-29 August, 2018. The workshop was organized by WHO South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO), and Government of Nepal, Ministry of Health & Population. Shuchona Chairperson chaired the first session of a two-day workshop in Nepal on regional capacity building on mental health in emergencies and presented on Cross-sectoral approach to MHPSS planning and implementations during the second session of the first day (A Coordinated Response to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support). The workshop aimed to provide technical updates on situations, and the availability of technical tools for mental health and psychological support in emergencies, which also includes sharing of knowledge and experience on a global level.
Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, Saima W. Hossain, a licensed School Psychologist, is the Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDDs, International Focal Point of the Advisory Group on Disability and Disaster Risk Management, Ministry of Disaster Management, and WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the South East Asia Region.
Shuchona Foundation in Talks with Sesame Workshop over Potential Collaboration
Sesame Workshop CEO and President Jeff Dunn and SVP of International Social Impact Shari Rosenfield were welcomed by Shuchona Chairperson, Saima W. Hossain on August 26, 2018. At the meeting, they discussed about early childhood development, mass media as a tool for behavioral change, Shuchona and Sesame Workshop’s philosophies, and possible prospects regarding any collaboration in the future.They were accompanied by Md. Shah Alam, Sesame Workshop Bangladesh’s Executive Director, along with other associates from the country office. Also at the meeting were Aneeqa Ahmad and Nazish Arman from Shuchona Foundation.
Samia W. Hossain welcomes Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC
The Right Honorable Patricia Scotland QC of Dominica, the first woman and the sixth Commonwealth Secretary-General appointed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government was welcomed by Shuchona Foundation Chairperson, Ms. Saima W. Hossain at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on 9 August, 2018. Ms. Hossain, who is the Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopmental disorders, and WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador on Autism in the South East Asia Region, is also the a granddaughter of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. She gave the Commonwealth Secretary-General a tour of the museum and both spent time discussing Bangladesh’s history, current situation, and the role of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC visited Bangladesh as part of a 11-day trip to three Commonwealth member countries in South and South East Asia. She was born in Dominica and the second Secretary-General from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.
UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth visited Shuchona Foundation’s office
UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake and Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, Ms. Saima W. Hossain came together for a meeting on 7th August, 2018 at the Shuchona Foundation office. Among the attendees of the meeting, present were: Nazish Arman, Content Development Coordinator, Shuchona Foundation, Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, Senior Analyst and Anika Ahmed, Research Officer, Centre for Research & Information (CRI).
At the meeting, they discussed youth development, the importance of addressing mental health issues, the work Shuchona has been involved in the past, and the current and future projects of Shuchona Foundation. Our Chairperson gifted Ms. Wickramanayake with her book, Unique Glimpses and gave her a tour of the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.
Preliminary Meeting Conducted Between Shuchona Foundation and UNICEF on Early Childhood Development
Shuchona Foundation met with a team of experts on Early Childhood Development from the UNICEF on 1st August, 2018 for a preliminary discussion on possible collaborations between the two organizations.
Present at the meeting were Jean Lieby, Chief of Child Protection, Jamila Akhter, Specialist, Child Protection, and Md. Mohsin, ECD Specialist, from UNICEF Bangladesh, and Saima Hossain, Chairperson, Malka Shamrose, COO, Dr. Nusrat Ahmed, Specialist, Nazish Armen, Content Development Coordinator, and Aneeqa Ahmad, Secretariat Coordinator, from Shuchona Foundaton.
The meeting focused on Shuchona Foundation’s existing projects and future plans around the area of Early Childhood Development, and how such projects may be relevant for UNICEF. A decision has been made to coordinate between the two organizations for a comprehensive strategy to address matters related to ECD.
Shuchona Foundation Conducts Training for Implementers of faith/icddr,b/UNICEF/ Shuchona Project
On 26th July, 2018, Shuchona Foundation held a day-long training session on Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Developmental Milestones Checklist, conducted by Dr. Nusrat Ahmed and Autism Spectrum Rating Scale (ASRS) conducted by Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain, at the Bangabandhu Trust Building.
Dr. Nusrat Ahmed, Specialist in ASD and Research & Capacity Building, Shuchona Foundation conducted the session on CDC Development Milestones Checklist for children between the ages of 2 months and 5 years, providing information on milestones a child should reach by a certain age, along with social skills, emotional, and cognitive skills and physical development. The training contained information on what signs to look out for in each age group, indicating when it is important to speak to a specialized doctor.
During the second half of the session, Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson, Licensed School Psychologist & Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Bangladesh, Ms. Saima Hossain conducted a session on one of the tools ‘Autism Spectrum Rating Scale’ which will be used in the UNICEF project. ASRS is a multi-informant measure designed to identify symptoms, behaviors and associated features of ASD in children and adolescents aged 2-18 years. ASRS also assists the diagnostic process, guides and monitors the development of intervention and the response towards intervention. The session focused on the background of the ASRS, theoretical framework and purpose of the tool, user qualifications, how to do administration, scoring and interpretations; and use of ASRS in assessment.
The training was conducted for 13 implementers of the faith/icddr,b, project funded by UNICEF, where Shuchona Foundation is the technical partner. The project focuses on a comprehensive approach to identify children with disability through capacity building of government and NGO health workers and disability service mapping in Bangladesh.
Shuchona Foundation Provided Technical Support for Mental Health Policy Meeting
Shuchona Foundation participated in a mental health policy meeting at National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, Bangladesh on 24th July, 2018. The meeting was organized by the WHO and NIMH, where Shuchona Foundation provided technical consultation on reviewing and finalizing the national mental health policy of Bangladesh.
Present at the meeting were a group of local experts on mental health, including the Director of NIMH (insert name please), the Chairperson of the Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Trustee Board (insert name please), representatives from the WHO, and Saima Hossain, Chairperson, Shuchona Foundation.
Shuchona Conducts 2nd 5-Day Foundation Course on ASD and other NDDs
Shuchona Foundation conducted a second 5-day course on Autism Spectrum Disorder from 15-19 July 2018. Designed and delivered by Shuchona, the objective of the course was to build a strong foundational understanding of neurodiversity, with a focus on autism spectrum disorder. Among the twenty-nine participants were doctors, psychologists, therapists, teachers, among other professionals.
The foundation course was conducted by a group of field experts – Saima W. Hossain, Licensed School Psychologist & Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Bangladesh; Shirin Zaman Munir, Ph.D., Expert in Special Education & Disability Issues and Part Time Faculty, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, Dhaka University; Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Psychiatrist & Associate Professor, Child, Adolescent & Family Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health, Bangladesh; Dr. Nusrat Ahmed, Specialist in ASD and Research & Capacity Building, Shuchona Foundation and AshleyAdkins, Special Education Teacher.On Day 1 of the program, Shirin Zaman Munir, Ph.D., introduced the participants to early childhood development, along with the different theories in the field. Dr. Nusrat Ahmed followed up with an introduction to neurodevelopmental disorders. The day concluded with an overview of international classifications in neurodevelopmental disorders and the latest changes in the field from Saima W. Hossain.
On Day 2, Saima W. Hossain conducted sessions on behavioral criteria in ASDdiagnosis, brain function and multidisciplinary evaluations.
Day 3’s sessions dealt with social communication issues in ASD and other developmental interventions, by Dr. Nusrat. This was followed upby Ashley Adkins on Educational Interventions for persons with ASD.
On Day 4, Ashley Adkins followed up with three sessions on behavioral interventions, with different theories and related strategies in designing such interventions for management of ASD.
Day 5 saw sessions on pharmacotherapy from Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed. The 5-day foundation course concluded with a session from Saima W. Hossain on the ethics of working with persons with ASD.
Get-Together with Teachers from the Inclusive Education Project
An informal get-together with teachers from Auronee Biddalaya (Lalmatia & Dhanmondi Campus) and Scholastica (Junior Campus-Uttara) was organized by Shuchona Foundation at the Bangabandhu Museum Auditorium on 14th July 2018. The event was organized to acknowledge the teachers for their time, input and sincere participation in the Pilot Run of the Teachers’ Training on Inclusive Education designed and delivered by Shuchona Foundation. The selected teachers participated in this training project from February to June 2018. The project was the first step in developing a proactive program on inclusion as part of mainstream education. The attendees were welcomed by the Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Mashura Hossain with a small history of the Bangabandhu Museum. She then gave a tour to all the participants of the premises. Letter of Appreciation was handed over to the teachers by Shirin Z. Munir, Ph.D, Executive Committee member of Shuchona Foundation, and Part-time Faculty at Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology. Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson Saima W. Hossain was also present along with colleagues who closely worked in the Inclusive Education project.
Refresher Training on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders: 05th July-09th July 2018
The fourth Foundation Refresher Training on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis Preparedness and Management was conducted from July 05, 2018 to July 09, 2018. Among 25 participants from different organizations who participated at the training, two colleagues from Shuchona, Khadiza Akhter Kona and Evalin Rafia, participated as well.
The training was organized by Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief in collaboration with Shuchona Foundation, Centre for Disability and Development (CDD), and Islamic Relief in Bangladesh.
The training was conducted by Joanne Byron, M.S., S.S/P, NCSP, where the activities included discussion, peer learning, small group and large group activities on different techniques of active listening. The training sessions will be followed up by advance level training course for receiving training on enhanced skills to provide mental health support services to crisis responders from various fields of disasters.
Shuchona Foundation conducts training on Early Childhood Development at Sirajganj
A 5-day training session was conducted with the leaders of the Kishor-Kishori Club at the training centre, National Development Programme (NDP), Bagbari, Sirajganj, from 20th June, 2018 to 24th June, 2018. This training was part of the Early Childhood Development project (ECD) which Shuchona is carrying out in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The training was on “Early Childhood Development” (0 to 5 years old) which was participated by 43 adolescents, aged 12-17 years old. The training program was designed to create awareness on early childhood development. This training focused on youth leaders with the concept that in about a decade’s time, these participants will become parents themselves, and knowledge on ECD will help them to be more aware parents. The objective is to disseminate the learning through their community to their peer groups.
The training sessions were conducted by Dr. Shusama Reza Rakhi, MD. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury and Pranay Bhuiyan from Shuchona Foundation. Outcomes of the trainings as above under MoWCA are evaluated.
The Second Refresher Training on Early Childhood Development in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA)
The Second Refresher Training on Early Childhood Development (ECD) organized by Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) was given to staff of different levels at BGMEA and BKMEA.
Both the trainings were conducted in a single day over two consecutive days. BGMEA received the training on 2nd June 2018 with 25 participants. And BKMEA received the refresher’s training on 3rd June 2018 with 30 participants.
The training session was conducted by Dr. Nusrat Y. Ahmed, Md. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury, Evalin Rafia, Pranay Bhuiyan and Khadiza Akhter from Shuchona Foundation. The Project Director, Mst. Ferdousi Begom, Deputy Secretary, MoWCA was present during the BKMEA training session.
The second refresher training was developed to discuss the field experiences which the participants had undertaken following the initial training. This was also a platform for sharing opinions, feedback on the key points in the ECD manual followed by interactive activities.
Shuchona Foundation at the 2nd International Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management
The 2nd International Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management was held from 15 to 17 May 2018 in Dhaka. Organized by Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR), the strategic partner of the Conference is United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR).
With the primary focus of addressing disability issues in humanitarian crises, key speakers like Saima W. Hossain, International Focal Point, Advisory Group on DiDRM, Bangladesh, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in South-East Asia Region, Chairperson of National Advisory Committee on Autism, and Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation; Carlos Kaiser, Executive Director, ONG Inclusiva, Chile; Satya Brata Saha, Additional Secretary, MoDMR, Bangladesh spoke at the Conference, among others.
Bangladesh organized the 1st International Conference on Disability & Disaster Risk Management in December 2015 to share experiences and knowledge on disability inclusive DRM, with a purpose to identify concrete actions for inclusive implementation of the SFDRR. Dhaka Declaration on Disability and DRM was the outcome document of the conference in 2015. The Declaration supports the implementation of the Sendai Framework by calling for inclusion and the participation of persons with disabilities in all disaster risk management programs, including specific actions to be undertaken by 2017.
At this year’s Conference, Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson, attended the inaugural ceremony chaired two sessions which was Plenary 1 and a technical session presented on Models for Psychosocial Support: Learning from our Experiences, and participated as a panelist in Plenary 5.
Nazish Arman, Research Capacity and Buidling, Shuchona Foundation presented on Psychosocial support as part of crisis preparedness and management: the Bangladesh Experience.
This year’s outcome was the declaration which highlights ensuring participation of all individuals with disabilities within Disaster Risk Management (DRM) at local, national, regional and global levels. The declaration also undertook to enhance collaboration within all the concerned stakeholders. They will ensure establishment of effective mechanisms and guidelines to collect data at all stages of DRM. Promoting empowerment and protection, removal of barriers to reduce the impact of disasters on persons with disabilities, Act at Local to National to Global were some of the other highlights of the Dhaka Declaration 2018.
The declaration can be accessed at http://dkconf18.modmr.gov.bd/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Dhaka-Declaration-2018.pdf.
Shuchona Foundation signs MoU with Ability Bhutan Society
Shuchona Foundation and Ability Bhutan Society (ABS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 12th May 2018. A number of Executive Committee members of Shuchona Foundation was present during the MoU signing. The MoU anticipates facilitating a collaborative joint research program, which will include training & workshop sessions, translation and sharing of resources. ABS is a public benefit organization inspired by the vision of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, The King of Bhutan, of a compassionate and just society. The Royal Patron of ABS is Her Majesty Gyaltsuen Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. ABS envisions empowering individuals with diverse abilities and enhancing their quality of life to live independently and with dignity within Bhutanese society (http://absbhutan.org/).
The collaboration intends to benefit both the organizations by developing low-cost, high-impact programs, resource materials about neurodevelopmental disorders and the coping mechanisms for the individuals and their family members, establishing a strong awareness around the notion.
In the future, Shuchona Foundation will collaborate with ABS, lending its expertise to conduct training sessions for service providers and stakeholders from Bhutan, which will be organized by ABS; identify appropriate experts and institutions for collaboration with ABS; and assist them in developing strategic GO-NGO partnerships to promote awareness and advocate for NDD-sensitive policies and programs. ABS in turn will provide feedback to Shuchona for cultural adaptation, improvement and updating of the resource materials and presentations.
Kishor-Kishori Club receives training on ECD from Shuchona Foundation
Shuchona Foundation conducted a 6-day training session with the leaders of the Kishor-Kishori Club at the training complex, Bangabandhu Academy for Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development (BAPARD), Kotalipara, Gopalgonj, from 27th April, 2018 to 01st May, 2018. This training was part of the Early Childhood Development project (ECD) which Shuchona is carrying out in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA). The training was on “Early Child Development” (0 to 5 years old) which was partaken by 45 youths, including 23 female and 22 male participants, aged 14-17 years old. The training program was designed with the aim to create awareness of the importance of monitoring early childhood development. This training focused on adolescents with the knowledge that in about a decade’s time, these participants will become parents themselves, and knowledge on ECD will make them better parents bringing up a healthy future generation. The participants gathered were from different sub-districts of Gopalgonj. These community leaders were the first batch to receive training from Shuchona Foundation. The training will then be followed up with Refresher Trainings over the year. The objective is to select master trainers from the training course who will then be eligible to facilitate trainings in their communities by themselves in the future.
The training sessions were conducted by Dr. Nusrat Y. Ahmed, MD. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury and Evalin Rafia from Shuchona Foundation.
All the participants undertook interactive training sessions, for instance: hands on activity, group work, Q/A, role-playing/demo. The trainers also showed videos which were very enthusiastically received by the attendees.
The First Refresher Training on ECD in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA)
The First Refresher Training on Early Childhood Development (ECD) organized by Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MoWCA) was given to caregivers working at day-care centres. The training was conducted in two different batches. The first batch had their training on 8-9 April, 2018; and the training for second batch was on 10-11 April, 2018 at the Directorate of MoWCA, in Eskaton, Dhaka. Each batch had 40 participants.
The sessions were conducted by Dr. Nusrat Y. Ahmed, MD. Serajus Sadekin Chowdhury and Evalin Rafia from Shuchona Foundation. The Project Director, Mst. Ferdousi Begom, Joint secretary, MoWCA was present during the first and last days training session.
The trainers briefly went through the ECD manual based on the suggestion from the participants on which areas require additional focus. The major areas of discussion were:
– Social marker of development
– Behavior, Rules and punishment
– Expressive and receptive language
The refresher training was conducted successfully through robust discussions, hands-on activities, group work, and Q/A sessions.
Shuchona Foundation Participates at the WAAD Events of 2018 in UN HQ, New York
Like each year, the United Nations hosted a series of events to observe World Autism Awareness Day at its Headquarter in New York. This year’s theme was Empowering Women and Girls with Autism. Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson Saima W. Hossain attended and participated in the day’s events in her capacity as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the Southeast Asia region, in addition to her other titles.
She, along with other experts in the field, spoke in one of a number of panel discussions organized by the UN Department of Public Information (UN, DPI) which was titled “Ableism, Sexism, Racism…How they Intersect”.
In addition to the panel, she attended the “Autism Advantage Luncheon” and spoke at the inauguration of an exhibition showcasing work of organizations in the field of ASD. Shuchona Foundation set up a booth at the exhibition where in addition to Shuchona’s materials, informational products from a number of other Bangladeshi organizations working in the field of ASD and NDDs was displayed. Malka Shamrose, COO of Shuchona Foundation accompanied the Chairperson and attended the WAAD events.
In observance of WAAD this year, Shuchona Chairperson wrote an article which was published by Inter Press Services News Agency. The article can be accessed through the following link: http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/03/responding-needs-families-living-autism-spectrum-disorder/
Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson attends the True Colors Festival in Singapore
In March 2018, UNESCO and Nippon Foundation of Japan organized the True Colors Festival – Asia-Pacific Festival of Artists with Disabilities which was first of its kind in the region. It was a festival for music, dance, and other performing arts in the region aiming to promote the rights of persons with disabilities. A conference, and a discussion forum was additionally organized where the importance of cultural inclusion of PwDs and potential artists with disabilities was discussed.
At the Festival, the Chairperson spoke at a panel discussion titled the policies, strategies and programmes in Asia-Pacific region and worldwide on cultural rights and inclusion of artists with disabilities.
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 consists of the integral part of sustainable development.
ToT on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis preparedness and Management
The second and third ToT on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis preparedness and Management was organized by the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief in collaboration with Shuchona Foundation, Centre for Disability and Development (CDD), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The trainings, which were held from 4th to 8th January and 9th to 13th January 2018, was conducted by Joanne Byron, M.S., S.S/P, NCSP and co-facilitated by Prof. Dr. Shaheen Islam. The objective of the trainings is to continue the process of developing a pool of trainers with the capacity to respond to crisis and provide mental health support. These trainers, who were taught ways to respond to psychological crisis, will form a strong network, and in the future will be training additional crisis responders.
The 25 participants of each of the trainings consisted of professionals from the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief, Ministry of Defence, Fire Service & Civil Defence; psychiatrists and psychologists from BSMMU, National Institute of Mental Health, and higher education bodies like Dhaka University; and organizations such as Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, Save the Children, Plan International, etc.
The First Foundation Refresher Training on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis Preparedness and Management
The First Foundation Refresher Training on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis Preparedness and Management was organized by the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief in collaboration with Shuchona Foundation, Centre for Disability and Development (CDD), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The two-day refresher training which was held on 2nd and 3rd January 2018, was conducted by Joanne Byron, M.S., S.S/P, NCSP. The refresher training enabled the participants of the first ToT on Strengthening Capacity of Crisis Responders on addressing Mental Health Issue within Crisis preparedness and Management to re-learn contents from the training, and also make connections between what they learned in the classroom earlier with their experiences on the field. The refresher course was organized after all the participants had a chance to go on field visits.
The 22 participants of the refresher course consisted of professionals from the Ministry of Disaster Management & Relief, and organizations such as Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed, Gana Unnayan Kendra, Plan International, among others.
Shuchona Foundation Chairperson delivers keynote speech at 1st International Conference for Rehabilitation Professionals
Shuchona Foundation Chairperson Saima W. Hossain delivered the keynote speech at the 1st International Conference for Rehabilitation Professionals in Bangladesh, held on 22-23 December 2017. The theme of the conference was Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services and Physiotherapy for achieving a milestone of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Organized by the Bangladesh Physiotherapy Association (BPA), and supported by the Bangladesh Occupational Therapy Association (BOTA), Society of Speech and Language Therapists (SSLT), and International Society for Prosthetics & Orthotics (ISPO) Bangladesh, the conference had both national and national delegates attending.
The title of Saima W. Hossain’s keynote speech was Necessity of Regulatory Body for Rehabilitation Professionals to meet the diverse health and rehabilitation needs of the people in Bangladesh where she acknowledged the need for rehabilitation professionals and emphasized on the need for a regulatory body to ensure dignity and quality of services provided by all rehabilitation professionals.
Shuchona Foundation commences training of project implementers for UNICEF project
On 18 December 2017, Shuchona Foundation in collaboration with FAITH Bangladesh commenced training of the project implementers of UNICEF’s pilot project on capacity-building of government service providers. The first episode of this training was a four-day preparatory course on autism spectrum disorder, which has been prepared by Shuchona. The course was delivered at the Shuchona office to 20 local psychologists from various institutions in Bangladesh such as IPNA, Shishu Hospital, and Labaid Specialized Hospital. The instructors for the course were Dr. Shirin Munir from the Department of Education Psychology of University of Dhaka, Dr. Nusrat Ahmed, autism expert from Shuchona Foundation, and Kazi Afroza Sultana, Vice-Principal of Proyash Institute of Special Education, Dhaka.
The purpose of this course was to establish a solid foundation of the diagnostic criteria for autism and the general types of interventions used to address this condition. After establishing the foundation, some partcipating psychologists will be recruited to serve as trainers for UNICEF’s pilot project in order to train government service providers on specific screening and diagnostic tools.
Shuchona Foundation partners with UNICEF Bangladesh and FAITH Bangladesh to pilot capacity-building of government service providers
On 17 December 2017, Shuchona Foundation signed an agreement with UNICEF Bangladesh to serve as a technical advisor for a 3-year pilot project on capacity-building of government service providers in order to achieve early identification of children with autism. This project will be in collaboration with FAITH Bangladesh, who is responsible for project implementation, and ICDDRB, who is the principal investigator responsible for researching the impact of the capacity-building and the efficacy of the pilot project.
While UNICEF Bangladesh is the principal sponsor of the project, Shuchona Foundation will be responsible for designing the technical components of the project, preparing the technical resources to be used in the project, and training those responsible for implementing the project. The aim of this project is to determine whether government service providers at various levels of the country’s healthcare system can be feasibly trained on the knowledge and skills necessary to identify children with autism and possibly other neurodevelopmental disabilities through a tiered screening process.
The International Development Pediatrics Association Congress
The 2nd International Development Pediatrics Association Congress was held in Mumbai, India from 7 to 10 December 2017. The Congress secretariat was Ummeed Child Development Center.
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.
The mission of IDPA, as stated in its website “is to create a scientific platform to connect and support clinicians, researchers, and policy makers working in the field of Development Pediatrics and Allied Disciplines from around the world, especially from low and middle income countries to address this inequality.”
Shuchona Foundation organizes a seminar at Digital World 2017
On 7 December, 2017, Shuchona Foundation organized and hosted a seminar at ?the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Division’s “Digital World 2017” expo at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. The seminar was organized in collaboration with Bangladesh Computer Council and the Prime Minister’s Access to Information porgamme (a2i). The objective of the seminar titled Employment of Persons with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in the IT Industry was to promote the strengths and talents of individuals with NDDs that make them ideal for certain jobs particularly in the IT industry, such as data entry, software debugging, and graphic design.
The seminar was chaired by Prof. Md. Golam Rabbani, Chairperson of the Neurodevelopmental Disability Protection Trust and the keynote presentation was delivered by Ms. Parul Kumtha, President of the Forum For Autism in Mumbai, India. Other speakers at the seminar were Prof. Pran Gopal Datta, Vice Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, Mr. Khandaker Jahurul Alam, Executive Director of Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID), Md. Mustafizur Rahman, Director of Innovation for the a2i Programme, Md. Shahadat Hossain Khan, a parent of a young man with autism, and Ms. Farhana Anwar Rahman, CEO of UY Systems and Vice President of BASIS. Additionally, Ms. Sajida Rahman Danny, Chairperson of Parents Forum for Differently Able Vocational Training Centre (PFDA VTC), delivered a presentation on how persons with NDDs have to be prepared for open or sheltered employment.
Ms. Kumtha’s presentation focused on ways to identify suitable jobs for persons with NDDs based on the individual’s strengths and talents so that employers view them as valuable human resources positively impacting a company’s bottom line, as opposed to being a recipient of charity.
The seminar was organized with the aim to deliver to the audience a better insight into the potential of persons with NDDs to hold jobs in a mainstream environment. This in turn will hopefully make the society come forward and support them in however way they can to help create employment opportunities for them. The seminar was attended by entrepreneurs from the IT industry, government officials, public representatives, and civil society members.
Shuchona Foundation receives the Ministry of Social Welfare Award
Shuchona Foundation is one of the proud recipients of Ministry of Social Welfare’s (MoSW) award recognizing its work and achievements in the field of disabilities. The award was given out to a number of organizations and individuals this year during a program organized by the Ministry of Social Welfare to observe the 26th International and 19th National Disability Day on 3 December 2017. Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Finance Minister of the Government of Bangladesh was the chief guest at the event.
The award was received by Shuchona Foundation’s Executive Committee’s Vice-Chairperson Dr. Pran Gopal Datta. Other organizations who received the award were Green Disable Foundation (GDF), and the Lalmonirhat branch of Society for the Welfare of the Intellectually Disabled, Bangladesh (SWID Bangladesh, Lalmonirhat), along with a number of individuals for their work.
This year’s theme was Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all. After the award ceremony, and prior to the cultural show by differently-abled individuals, Shuchona Foundation’s short film on inclusion was screened.
Shuchona Foundation in upcoming High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Midpoint Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities, 2013-2022
Shuchona Foundation’s Chairperson Saima W. Hossain will be heading the Bangladeshi delegation to the high level meeting organized by the United Nations Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Beijing, China. She will be heading the delegation in her capacity as the Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and NDD, and will function also as WHO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in the South East Asia Region.
The meeting, scheduled to be held from 27 Nov-01 Dec, 2017, is divided into two segments namely the Senior Officials segment (27-29 November, 2017), and the Ministerial segment (30 Nov-01 Dec, 2017).
Saima W. Hossain will have three speaking engagements during the meeting which are as:
- Panelist in Ministerial Round table on disability-inclusive sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific,
- Chair and speaker at the Side Event Leaving No One Behind: Inclusion of persons with autism & neurodevelopmental disorders in the 2030 agenda, organized by Government of Bangladesh and UNESCAP
- Speaker at the session Forward looking policies to accelerate the implementation of the Incheon Strategy.
Shuchona Foundation will be further represented by Malka Shamrose, its Chief Operating Officer. As high-level decision and policy makers discuss the progress of the Incheon Strategy, Shuchona Foundation hopes to bring to the fore issues surrounding persons with Autism and other Neurodevelopmental disorders, as their disabilities and disorders are often invisible thus, sometimes overlooked.
Preparatory Course for the 2017 KOICA Autism Fellowship Program
16th-20th October 2017
From 16th-20th October 2017, Shuchona Foundation developed and conducted a pre-departure comprehensive preparatory training on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for participants selected for a two-week training course in South Korea. This training was held in the meeting room of the Institute of Pediatric Neurodisorder & Autism (IPNA) at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU)
Since 2012, as part of the Korea International Cooperation Agency’s (KOICA) capacity development program in Bangladesh, the Agency has been arranging an annual fellowship course on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) for 15 local professionals selected by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The course is taught by Korea’s top experts on ASD with the objective to expose Bangladesh’s professionals to the various techniques of diagnosis and treatment of ASD that are practiced in South Korea, as well as delivering an insight into the infrastructure and services offered to individuals with ASD and their caregivers in South Korea.
This year, for the first time, the participants selected to go to South Korea for the fellowship received a pre-departure comprehensive preparatory training on ASD, which was developed and conducted by Shuchona Foundation. The training held from 16th-20th September 2017, covered the core concepts, theories, assessment and diagnostic tools, etc. for ASD and NDDs. It was develop
ed following discussions between Dr. Shin Suk-ho, senior expert on neurodevelopmental disorders in Korea, Saima W. Hossain, Chairperson of Shuchona Foundation, and Joe Hyungue, Country Director of KOICA Bangladesh. The aim of the discussions was to explore ways of improving KOICA’s annual autism fellowship in order to attain better outcomes for the Government of Bangladesh.
This year the preparatory course was delivered to 5 doctors, 3 therapists, 4 teachers, and 3 government officials, all of whom are currently working in the field of ASD in Bangladesh. The trainers for the five days were:
- Saima Wazed Hossain – Chairperson, Shuchona Foundation
- Shirin Zaman Munir – Expert on Special Education & Executive Member, Shuchona Foundation
- Nusrat Yasmeen Ahmed – Manager, Research & Training Development, Shuchona Foundation
- Helal Uddin Ahmed – Psychiatrist & General Member, Shuchona Foundation
- Ashley Adkins – guest lecturer
Knowledge and information obtained from the pre-departure training has allowed KOICA to demonstrate to the fellows more advance techniques and strategies during their two weeks in South Korea. The feedback from the participants was positive, appreciating the preparatory course. The first of its kind for KOICA was very well-received, and Shuchona Foundation was informed that KOICA is now encouraging other country offices to conduct similar preparatory initiatives for other fellowship programs.
Responding to the Rohingya crisis: 8th-26th October 2017
Shuchona Foundation recently has been coordinating field visits to Rohingya refugee camps to provide psychological support to refugees using group crisis intervention techniques, as well as one-on-one counselling. This is being done in collaboration with the Department of Disaster Management, Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and Centre of Disability in Development (CDD). In August 2017, the Ministry in collaboration with CDD and Shuchona Foundation organized a 6-day training on ‘Strengthening the capacity of crisis responders on addressing mental health issues within crisis preparedness and management’. Following this, the crisis preparedness and management for mental health (CPM-MH) trainees, which included a colleague from Shuchona, conducted three field visits to the Rohingya Refugee Camps; the first visit being from 8th – 13th October, 2017.
During the first trip, over the 6 days, the CPM-MH team went door-to-door at the Kutupalong and Balukhali camps, hearing stories of lost family members, homes, and belongings; and surviving without any food or water for days. At the Shamlapur camp, the CPM -MH team also visited one of the women-friendly spaces by a local NGO, Mukti. The team conducted group counselling sessions at this center where refugee women shared their stories about seeing their family members killed in front of them by gunshots, fire, drowning, and beating. They spoke about their feelings of loss and despair and their long journey to Bangladesh; many of whom had to walk for nearly 7 days without any food and minimal water to make it to safety in Bangladesh.
The CPM-MH team will continue to conduct follow-up visits in the coming months to the Rohingya camps for providing mental health support services to the refugees, as well as the crisis responders themselves, including doctors, nurses, volunteers, etc.
Shuchona Foundation’s Annual General Meeting
The members of Shuchona Foundation convened for its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 5th October 2017. The AGM, which was held at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Auditorium, was attended by general members including Executive Committee members. Additionally, the auditor, a number of Shuchona Foundation’s advisors, and the management team were in attendance at the meeting.
The Annual General Meeting is an opportunity for the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and the Chief Operating Officer of the Foundation to present a report to the members highlighting the achievements of the previous year. For Shuchona Foundation, highlights of 2016-17 included the overwhelming success of the International Conference on Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ANDD2017), the development of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) manual and the commencement of ECD program in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, development of the Collaborative Framework, launching of Saima W. Hossain’s book Unique Glimpses, among others. In addition to presenting highlights, the previous year’s audited financial report, appointment of its auditor, and other organizational matters were discussed and approved at the AGM.
This year’s AGM was a no-frills affair. The budget set aside for it was donated towards coordinating an initiative to provide preliminary mental health support to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. This activity is being carried out in association with the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
Training of Trainers on Early Childhood Development:
A Training Program to help child development from birth to five years
With the belief that it is imperative for children to have an enriched stimulating environment in their early years, and investment in Early Childhood Development can have an extraordinary public return (Grunewald and Rolnick, 2003), Shuchona Foundation has developed a training module for parents/ care-givers, that will assist them in enhancing their child’s development from an early age. This module has also incorporated early social-communication markers expected for typical child development. The module is implementable in any socio-economic and cultural context.
To ensure the proper use of this manual, in partnership with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MOWCA), Shuchona Foundation has undertaken a training program to develop a pool of trainers who in turn will train mothers/care givers. The training program, which was formally launched on 4 June 2017, is being provided to mothers who fall under MoWCA’s Lactating Mothers’ Scheme program.
Currently under the program, five-day foundational training has been received by 55 trainers from different garment factories working under Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA). These trainers will then train 28,000 lactating mothers from garment factories over a three-year period. Shuchona Foundation has also conducted the foundational training for 80 daycare workers under the ministry, who will directly work with the children attending the daycare centers. In addition to the foundational training, trainees will receive refresher trainings thrice a year. Under this plan, BGMEA and BKMEA trainers have already received their first refresher training at the end of October 2017 .
As part of this program, 320 leaders of teenage clubs under MoWCA will also receive this training. They will in turn train 780 teenage club leaders. These teenage leaders will then train 33,000 teenage members in total over three years. The aim is to make future mothers become aware of important milestones of children’s social-communication development and ways of working with young children in developing their social-emotional and cognitive wellbeing.