Bangla group bats for differently-abled workers
Differently-abled people in Bangladesh may now have a better chance to join the country's work force after the 'Bangladesh Business and Disability Network' said it would give people with different abilities a better chance to join the workforce while contributing to economic growth.
At an event held in Dhaka on Tuesday, the Bangladesh Employer's Federation (BEF) and International Labour Organization (ILO) with the support of Canada, brought together private sector employers, especially those involved in promoting the employment of persons with disabilities, to discuss the establishment of a 'Bangladesh Business and Disability Network.' The initiative is also backed by the Bangladesh Government, the ILO said in a press release.
“Our Ministry is committed to helping people with disabilities of working age improve their skills but the private sector will have to create the employment. We will support organizations that empower people with different abilities to earn their own livelihoods and contribute to economic growth,” said Md. Mujibul Haque, State Minister, Ministry of Labor and Employment.
Inspired by the success of ILO's Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) and other national networks, ILO aims to support BEF to increase the number of employers with people with disabilities in their workforce. During the event, a committee was formed to give shape to the Network and define its function and operation modality.
“Bangladeshi employers who have hired people with disabilities speak highly of their performance, loyalty, productivity, retention, regularity in attendance and overall workplace performance,” said Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Managing Director, A.K.Khan & Companies and President of the BEF.
Also speaking at the event, Kishore Kumar Singh, Senior Skills Development Specialist, ILO, said, “Enhancing job opportunities for people from underprivileged groups, including people with disabilities, makes it possible for the nation to recognize their potential. We are excited to see the private sector's enthusiasm to create such opportunities.”
Given prevalent misconceptions about hiring those with disabilities, the Network will need to highlight experiences of champions – Bangladeshi employers who have hired disabled people – to encourage others to do the same. KEYA Group, Square Group, Viyellatex, Renata and BEXIMCO are excellent examples of such champions. Donors, government stakeholders, business associations, disability organizations and others were also present to support the initiative.
“Our role in this Network will be to encourage companies to learn about how to make their workplaces more inclusive from others who have already successfully employed persons with disabilities. The Network will facilitate linkages with disability organizations and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions training persons with disabilities,” said Farooq Ahmed, Secretary, BEF.