Building understanding and promoting rights

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CDD has built a reputation as an experienced and innovative disability inclusion training and consultancy organisation committed to raising awareness of disability issues and improving access for persons with disabilities.

Our core competency is in delivering disability-specific training courses to individuals, partners and organisations throughout Bangladesh and internationally. These courses aim to improve understanding, create disability-friendly environments, and improve access and inclusion to enable persons with disabilities to participate in mainstream society. We also produce and disseminate a range of disability information materials and organise workshops and forums to celebrate the achievements of persons with disabilities and encourage organisations to share experiences on how best to achieve inclusion. Growing recognition of our extensive disability expertise has also led to frequent requests to share our knowledge at national and international conferences.

Disability Inclusion Training Courses

CDD commenced in 1996 to address the need for more skills and capacity in Bangladesh in the disability field by delivering disability-inclusion training. We have now developed a suite of disability training courses and materials and have built up an expert core group of trainers, who have developed their skills at centres of excellence at home and abroad.

Our core training programs are specifically designed to embed inclusive practices at all levels within development organisations, and comprise an extensive training program followed by CDD assessments, monitoring, networking and workshops with peers to stimulate a continual learning environment. We also provide a range of training programs focused on specific disabilities such as physical, visual, speech, hearing, intellectual, and deafblind disabilities – as well as on related issues such as how to use or make assistive devices, inclusive education, livelihood options, disaster risk reduction, self-help group development and leadership training for persons with disability.

CDD’s 3 major training courses are as follows:

  1. CAHD Orientation – Program Design Implementation and Management (PDIM) Training

This course is designed for organisational leaders and disability program managers and provides an introduction to disability issues, the CAHD approach and an understanding of the training available for organisational staff.

  1. Community Handicap and Disability Resource Person (CHDRP) Training course

This extensive training program is designed for developing disability field workers and focuses on building rehabilitation knowledge and skills to enable participants to help people with a wide range of disabilities. It comprises four parts commencing with initial training, then field work with an existing CAHD implementing organisation, an assessment by a CDD trainer four-five months later and a final refresher course to consolidate the program learnings. Each trained CHDRP has the opportunity to attend regular networking events and an annual conference to share their experiences and receive further updates to ensure their continual knowledge development.

  1. Social Communication on Handicap and Disability (SCHD) Course

This course is aimed at community educators in implementing organisations and focuses on helping them to change community attitudes and raise awareness of disability issues to enable persons with disabilities to participate in social, religious, economic and political activities to the best of their ability. The course provides information about the causes of disability, ways to prevent disability, and how to assist persons with disabilities to participate more fully in the community.

In addition to these three major training courses, CDD also offers advanced training courses in:

  • Disability Orientation
  • Workshop on Awareness Raising through alternative media
  • Care of children with cerebral palsy for care-givers
  • Advanced training course on Cerebral Palsy
  • Community based rehabilitation for visually impaired person
  • Low vision screening and management
  • Advanced intervention skills for visually impaired children
  • Awareness raising and Prevention of blindness
  • Sign supported Bangla for interpreters
  • Primary eye care
  • Management of persons with intellectual disability and autism
  • Workshop on early detection and intervention
  • Making simple assistive devices by using local resources
  • Making special seating
  • Assistive Devices for Facilitators
  • Assistive Devices for Local Artisans (metal and wood workers)
  • Income generation activities for persons with disabilities.
  • Mainstreaming education for children with disabilities
  • Organisation management
  • Development of project proposals for fundraising
  • Training of trainers
  • Advocacy, leadership and networking

CDD can also tailor a training course to specific organisational needs on request, which can be held at either the requesting organisation’s premises or at one of our customised training centres in Savar.

Contact us for further information on our training courses

 Disability Materials & Resources

CDD has also developed an extensive range of information materials including booklets, manuals, flashcards, videos and DVDs. This information covers subjects ranging from understanding different types of disability to educational resources and storybooks, and is provided to the community to build awareness and understanding of disability.

A listing of the current CDD disability resources available are as follows:


Type of material Description
Booklet §  Primary information on Stroke

§  Primary information on Mental Handicap

  Primary information on Cerebral Palsy
  Primary information on Amputation
  Primary information on Burn
  Primary information on Hearing Disability
  Primary information on Communication Disability
  Primary information on Down Syndrome
  Primary information on Polio
  Primary information on Spina Bifida
  Primary information on Hydrocephalus
  Primary information on Club Feet
  Primary information on Cleft Palate and Lip
  Primary information on Contracture
  Primary information on Arthritis
  Primary information on Visual Disability
  Primary information on Fever Management

Flashcards §  Preventing Disability During Pregnancy Period

§  Fever Management

§  Intellectual Handicap and Us

§  Epilepsy

§  10 Awareness Messages on Disability

§  Disability Card

§  Preventing Stroke

§  Prevention of Ear Infection and Deafness

§  Severe Burns and Disability

§  Happy Village

§  Cerebral Palsy

§  Early Detection and Intervention

§  Basic Information on Assistive Devices

Posters §  Normal Child Development

§  Disability Awareness (9 posters)

§  Sign language

Manuals/books §  Cerebral Palsy Manual

§  Early Detection Manual

§  Helping children who are Blind

§  Sign Supported Bangla (2 books)

§  Manual on Visual Impairment

§  Helping children who are Deaf

§  Story Book – Amina’s Story

§  Siandabad & His Friend (2 Vol)

Video/Audio/CD §  Fever Management (video)

§  Disabled People in Flood situations (video)

§  General Awareness (audio/song)

§  Education (audio/song)

§  Documentary (CD)

§  Sign Supported Bangla (2 CDs)

§  CAHD Toolkit (CD)

 Building Community Awareness of disability

Another way in which CDD raises community awareness of disability is by engaging with local communities using workshops, leaflets, and drama events to promote the abilities and rights of persons with disabilities.

 Information sharing and advice

Due to our unique and considerable experience in the disability field, we are regularly requested to work with Government committees to provide technical policy input. CDD also provides a consultancy service to both national and international organisations to assist them in their inclusion practices, which includes training, studies, research, seminars, workshops, photographic exhibitions and exposure visits.


Improving Health

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CDD works to provide persons with disabilities with the best possible standard of health, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We aim to provide access to health and rehabilitation services to improve cognitive, sensory and physical functioning.

To achieve this, we raise awareness among families and communities about disability prevention and early intervention issues. Partner organisation trained rehabilitation workers provide health and rehabilitation services at the door steps of persons with disabilities and we ensure those living in very remote areas are serviced using our state of the art ship and mobile van service. We focus on the most vulnerable by offering surgical reconstruction to children born with cleft lip and club foot and improve mobility and quality of life by providing assistive devices such as wheelchairs, tricycles, artificial limbs, hand splints and walking frames.

Health Promotion & training

CDD conducts health promotion activities in order to alleviate the impacts of social, economic and environmental conditions on the health of persons with disabilities. We conduct campaigns on specific disability health issues such as how to prevent future disabilities, use of assistive devices and eye care campaigns throughout the year, disseminating information using posters and leaflets, community meetings, visits to households and health and disability worker training.

Reconstructive surgery

CDD provides reconstructive surgery and follow up speech and physical therapy for people with cleft lip and palate and club foot deformities. The surgeries are conducted by qualified pre-selected surgeons at regional hospitals throughout the year, and have enabled thousands of people to go on to live healthy, productive and fulfilled lives.

Assistive Devices

CDD produces and supplies thousands of different assistive devices to help persons with disabilities to become more mobile and independent, such as wheelchairs, artificial limbs, hand splints and visual and hearing aids. These devices are manufactured at our central facility, the National Resource Centre on Assistive Technology in Savar, and are distributed through our extensive country-wide partner network. Through this program, many persons with disabilities have been able to gain more functionality, participate in community activities and become less socially isolated.

A photographic list of our assistive devices and a price list can be found here.

Regional & remote outreach

To ensure that we reach persons with disabilities living in regional and remote areas, we operate a Mobile Therapy Unit. This comprises two vans and a ship which travel regularly to isolated areas where persons with a disability have few, if any, services available to them, to provide assessments, health checks, information and assistive devices.


Making education more inclusive

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CDD is committed to ensuring that children with a disability have access to inclusive education and individual support to maximise their academic and social development. We cater for children of all ages and provide support for both formal and non-formal education formats in order to meet different needs and learning styles.

Our early childhood care program targets the most vulnerable pre-primary children with disabilities as there are very few services available to address their more profound needs. At primary and secondary school age, we focus on helping mainstream schools to be more inclusive by training and supporting teachers, curriculum development, providing education materials and assisting families with enrolments. We also operate a pilot non-formal pre-primary school catering for disadvantaged local children who would otherwise miss out on schooling, which integrates children with a disability.

CDD conducts studies and research into the education of children with disabilities in different settings, and this contributes to our policy advocacy, teaching & learning strategies and resource development.

Inclusive mainstream education

Children with disabilities need to be included in mainstream schools so that they can learn and play alongside other children. CDD assists this process by helping these children to enrol in mainstream primary schools and supporting their inclusion into the school by working alongside teachers, training them in inclusive education methods and equipping them with accessible education materials. Where feasible, we also ensure that the school is physically accessible.

In addition to this, CDD develops inclusive education curriculums and works closely with Government departments to promote the education of children with disabilities. We also participate in national and international research and networks to share experiences and insights.

Deaf Blind Day Care

The deaf blind day care program of the Deaf Blind National Resource Centre aims to improve child survival, development and learning by focusing on health, nutrition and hygiene. These are critical to the child’s ability to develop and to teaching the children and carers/parents how to communicate with each other. The service is delivered by CDD’s team of deaf blind specialist staff at the Dhaka Day Centre and in homes around Bangladesh.

Schools for autistic and disadvantaged children

CDD assisted in setting up the Anandashala School for autistic children at Jahangirnagar University and also runs a pilot non-formal pre-primary school catering for disadvantaged local children who would otherwise miss out on schooling and which integrates children with a disability. Both schools are proving to be a great success and ensure that children in the community are able to receive an education regardless of whether or not they have a disability.


Encouraging greater financial self-sufficiency

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Persons with disabilities have the right to seek and obtain paid work, but in practice there are many barriers which prevent them from doing so. This is therefore a key focus area for CDD’s work in Bangladesh.

We provide support to enable persons with disabilities to obtain waged employment, learn essential work skills, set up their own small business enterprises and access loans, grants and savings schemes and social benefits. In this way, we assist in improving their financial security, providing for their futures and enhancing quality of life. Importantly, being able to participate in the workforce and earn a living also gives persons with disabilities a sense of worth and dignity otherwise denied to them.

Work & trade skills training

CDD identifies and promotes opportunities for persons with disabilities to learn skills that are essential for earning an income i.e., core life skills, basic working practices, small business management, technical abilities, trade skills and income generation activities. For example, we have trained hundreds of persons with disabilities in feasible and practical livelihood skills such as poultry and cattle rearing, horticulture, handicrafts, aquaculture and tailoring.

Self-employment training & loans

In low income countries like Bangladesh, self-employment provides the main opportunity for persons with disabilities to earn a living. CDD provides training in how to run a successful small business and assists persons with disabilities to access new enterprise start-up loans and grants using its business and Government links.

Support seeking waged employment

As persons with disabilities face many barriers to finding meaningful waged employment, CDD assists them in creating connections and securing positions in the business, Government and NGO sectors. Although employers are slowly becoming more receptive to employing someone with a disability, there is still a long way to go.

Loan, grant & savings scheme assistance

Persons with disabilities have the same needs for financial services as persons without disabilities but are often not aware of or able to access services available. CDD assists them in identifying, applying for and obtaining loans and grants and in setting up savings funds to enable them to provide for their future needs.

Accessing social benefits

CDD also raises awareness amongst persons with disabilities of the social benefits which they are entitled to and helps them to access these i.e., disability, education and widows’ allowances etc. We also assist persons with disabilities to set up self help groups so that they can advocate together for their rights and needs, and work closely with local government, development and Disabled People’s Organisations to support their work in the community.


Social strengthening family and community

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CDD believes that persons with disabilities need to be able to participate in social and recreational activities in order to reduce their social isolation, improve their physical and mental health and to encourage society to make their leisure activities more inclusive. However, they often need additional supports to enable their inclusion and this is where we therefore focus our efforts.

We aim to improve community attitudes to disability, clarify needs and encourage personal support for persons with disabilities by providing training and information to families and the community. At the same time, we coordinate inclusive arts, recreation and sporting activities, such as the Deafblind recreation program for children and their carers. Through these programs, we hope to provide greater opportunities for persons with disabilities to maximise their potential, enjoy recreation and make new networks of friends in order to improve their life and health outcomes.

Personal assistance

Some persons with disabilities require personal assistance to enable them to participate in family and community life. CDD provides training to its partner organisations, families and the community on the need for personal assistance, the various options available and how this can be provided at a local level. For example, in areas at greatest risk of natural disasters, CDD has worked with local communities to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in planning and relief efforts such as assistance to evacuate if needed, inclusion on disaster committees, accessible disaster-proof raised housing and accessible rescue boats for flood evacuations.

Relationships, marriage and family

By working closely with the community, CDD’s trained community mobilisers focus on improving the social integration of persons with disabilities by increasing awareness about disability, changing negative family and community attitudes, and preventing and reducing violence against persons with disabilities. For example, CDD together with one of our partners helped a totally deafblind person to find employment and gain respect in their community, enabling him to subsequently achieve his dream of getting married. This would have been inconceivable if he had not been able to secure a job and prove his ability to provide for a family.

Culture and arts

Participation in cultural and arts activities is important for personal growth and development. In recognition of this, CDD conducts arts and essay competitions, provides alternative media training and encourages involvement in performance groups. These activities provide a sense of belonging and an opportunity for persons with disabilities to contribute to the cultural fabric of society.

Recreation, leisure and sport

CDD aims to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate in recreation, leisure and sports, especially children and their families, as this is important for their well-being and makes the community more cohesive. Some of our activities include the coordination of inclusive sports events, competitions for school students and a regular recreation program for children with disabilities and their caregivers.


Strengthening the ability to communicate, participate and self-advocate

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CDD is strongly committed to working with persons with disabilities to improve their ability to communicate and engage with others, in order to strengthen their ability to self-advocate. This is based on a belief that only persons with disabilities themselves know what they need but are often unable to express these needs and defend their rights.

At a community level, we focus on building awareness and understanding of disability using a variety of informal communication methods and actively encourage inclusion of persons with disability on local decision making bodies. At the same time, we target persons with disabilities themselves to remove barriers to communication and enhance their skills to enable them to speak out. For example, we have developed a range of Braille and Bangla sign language products to improve communication for those with sight or hearing impairments, and we also train people in leadership and assist in the formation and operation of local self-help groups. Many of these groups and participants go on to form or be involved in Disabled People’s Organisations, advocating for their needs and ensuring that persons with disabilities have a voice.

Development of Braille products

CDD has five Braille printers, making it the largest printer of Braille books in Bangladesh and also the only organisation to have produced Braille educational texts for all primary school subjects. We also produce Braille training publications, novels, menus, brochures and locally-made high quality Braille writing slates.

Bangla Sign language

CDD instigated and developed the Bangla sign language to enable the speech and hearing impaired people of Bangladesh to communicate, given that prior to 2001 there was only a modified form of British, American, Australian and indigenous sign language available. With the active engagement of deaf people and their representative organisations, CDD has now produced a full set of sign language manuals and toolkits and provides training for disability field workers, school-teachers, students, deaf people, family members and care givers.

Community mobilisation

CDD mobilises people by engaging with and sensitising local communities on the needs, rights and issues facing persons with a disability, using workshops, information leaflets and drama events. We also work with communities to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in local decision making committees. Our strategy is to ensure that the community embraces inclusion in the realisation that it will benefit everyone.

Political participation

CDD believes that promoting the participation of persons with disabilities in politics is an important approach to empowerment. Decision-making is central to politics, so political participation enables persons affected by issues to be at the centre of decision-making and to influence change. For example, through our partner organisations we have facilitated persons with a disability to take part in local government elections as candidates and voters, and to advocate for standing committees focused on disability issues. Persons with disabilities elected to these roles or represented on committees now have the opportunity to have a more effective voice in political affairs.

Self-help group formation

CDD helps to form and support self-help groups comprised of persons with disabilities who come together to share information and resolve common problems, and also provides leadership training to group convenors. Participating in self-help groups provides participants with mutual support, encourages them to find solutions together and improves confidence and self-esteem.

Climate Change And Disasters

Inclusion in disaster preparedness, response and recovery activities

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As one of the world’s climate change hotspots, natural disasters in the form of flooding, cyclones, and drought are a part of everyday life for the people of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to natural hazards due to its geographical location, land characteristics, multiplicity of rivers and the monsoon climate. However, these events hit people living in poverty “and in particular persons with a disability” the hardest of all.

Yet, there is very limited participation of persons with disabilities in disaster management planning and limited awareness and training of emergency response and disaster preparedness staff regarding their needs. As a result, they are mostly excluded from disaster management actions such as risk and capacity assessment, identification, early warning, search, rescue, evacuation, shelters, emergency response, water & sanitation, healthcare, and rehabilitation. For example, deaf people are unable to hear audible early warning signals, evacuation may be difficult or impossible without personal assistance and village disaster shelters may not be accessible as they have steps or are under water following a severe flood. They may also be overlooked in the relief and rebuilding process, and given they have often lost their personal possessions and their means of livelihood this can send persons with disabilities into a spiral of greater poverty and vulnerability that intensifies with every new disaster.

To address this issue, CDD implements disability inclusive disaster response and risk reduction projects and advocates for persons with disabilities and their families to be included in preparedness, response and recovery activities conducted by mainstream disaster management agencies.

surviving [image]

disability shelter [image]

disabled food search [image]

CDD’s key disaster and risk reduction activities are as follows:

  • Provision of emergency relief
  • Making capacity and risk analysis disability inclusive
  • Implementing fully accessible early warning signs for those with visual and/or hearing impairments
  • Encouraging inclusive search and rescue mechanisms such as accessible boats, equipment, and training of rescue personnel etc
  • Disability friendly disaster shelters, housing and toilets
  • Installing tube wells to ensure safe drinking water for the community post-disaster
  • Training the community in how to provide for the needs of persons with disabilities in disaster situations i.e., in rescue and evacuation procedures, relief mechanisms, shelters, etc.
  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities on disaster management and planning committees
  • Training persons with disabilities in livelihoods that will survive disaster situations to help them recover and rebuild their lives more quickly in the aftermath
  • Provision of assistive devices and therapy to persons with disabilities to improve mobility
  • Advocacy and campaigning for the inclusion of disability issues into initiatives undertaken by disaster management organisations and the Government

Deafblind support

Access to specialised advice, opportunities and support for people with deafblindness

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Sometimes, fate can deal a challenging hand for families………..Tania (aged 9), Tanzil (aged 7) and Zahidul (aged 4 years) are three siblings from the same family who are all Deafblind and consequently rely on the support provided by CDD.

In 2009, The Centre for Disability in Development (CDD) initiated a specialist service for persons with deafblindness in Bangladesh with the technical support of Sense International India and the financial assistance of UKaid. In order to execute its deafblind program, the National Resource Centre on deafblindness was established, targeting the most vulnerable and socially-isolated children and adults in the country. It is estimated that 10.7% of the population of Bangladesh have multiple disabilities and this figure includes those who have deafblindness. The objective of CDD’s deafblind Program is to promote an inclusive society where persons with deafblindness have access to the advice, opportunities and support that are necessary to meet their unique needs and challenges.

Deafblindness is a combination of both hearing and vision loss which also severely hampers speech and often presents along with additional disabilities such as epilepsy, autism, cerebral palsy and other forms of physical disability. Persons with deafblindness face considerable and multiple challenges in daily life, as they find it very difficult to interact with other people because of their severe lack of communication skills. As a result, they are excluded from participation both within their family environment and in society in general, their rights are ignored and their needs are not addressed. Without recognition and understanding, this rejection can lead to a sub-human form of existence. This prompted CDD to intervene in order to raise awareness and understanding of deafblindness, and provide support to people and families affected in order to uphold the basic rights and provide a voice to these most marginalised of persons with disabilities.

CDD’s deafblind Program is delivered by a team of skilled people, comprising CDD and partner organisation staff, who have been extensively trained as deaflblind trainers and/or Field Educators by experts from Sense International in India.The program comprises several components which are as follows:

National Resource Centre (NRC) on Deafblindness

The National Resource Centre (NRC) is based in Dhaka and provides information, specialised training, and disseminates resource materials to families, teachers and organisations about deafblindness. Its publications include informative newsletters, booklets, case studies and awareness-raising materials. The NRC offers three specialist deafblindness training courses focused on developing basic, intermediate or advanced skills in understanding and addressing Deafblind issues, which are conducted over one, three or ten days respectively. Further details and course dates can be accessed from the National Resource Centre.

Day Care Centre

The Deafblind Day Care Centre is also based in Dhaka to cater for deafblind children and their carers living in the city. This service aims to improve child survival, development and learning by focusing on health, nutrition, hygiene and basic daily living activities which are critical to the child’s ability to develop and on teaching the children and carers/parents how to communicate with each other.

Schools for children with special needs

In order to reach persons with deafblindness living outside Dhaka city, CDD also has a regional service network in six districts of Bangladesh. This network comprises of trained deafblindness workers within selected CDD partner organizations which disseminate information about deafblindness and provide needs-based support services to families, deafblind children and communities in regional and remote areas.

Contact the National Resource Centre on Deafblindness.