No more people look down upon the disabled persons as burdens on society. In fact, they are not addressed as 'disabled' anymore either. We call them differently able in recognition of their other potentials. They can get into various professions using their brain and healthy limbs. They can earn a living and as such they do not have to depend on their family members to feed or clothe them. They even can run a business of their own, individually or collectively. Here is one such story of entrepreneurship that deserved to be widely shared.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that physically-challenged people have started a state-owned factory of bottled drinking water named ‘Mukta’. In a bid to create jobs for the disabled people, the government set up the plant in Gazipur in 2004. The plant bottles 10,000-12,000 litres of water a day in nine sizes of bottle, including 250ml, 500ml, 1 litre and 1.5 litres, and sells water at prices equal to those offered by private bottlers.
The income from the factory are spent for the betterment of the challenged people. The brand is the official drinking water of Prime Minister’s Office, Ganabhaban, Parliament Secretariat, Secretariat and Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation and related offices. In a function held on the occasion of ‘World Autism Day’ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon ministries and divisions to use the drinking water for the benefit of the challenged people. She said the quality of the water is good, but the market did not expand much due to inadequate marketing initiative.
Holding up a bottle of ‘Mukta’ drinking water, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “This is made by our physically-challenged people. The quality of the water is very good. Unfortunately, the use of the drinking water has not been ensured in my office. Only few bottles are brought for me after repeated demands. Others drink water of different other brands.” She urged all to use this brand of drinking water for the benefit of the challenged people.
The Premier urged all, particularly the affluent people to stand beside the disabled and provide them with necessary support, including financial aid and jobs in their organisations, to ensure their meaningful livelihood and sharpen their hidden potentials. PM requested the parents for putting in effort to integrate them into the mainstream society brushing aside shyness about their children’s physical and mental barriers and asked them to spend more times with their children.
“We’ll have to create a scope for them in all walks of lives including family, society, educational institutions and workplaces to flourish those talents,” she added. Putting emphasis on inclusive education for the children with disabilities, the prime minister said they should be given scope to pursue study with general students. Sheikh Hasina, who herself offers great patronage to autistic children, said the issue was completely unknown and unattended in Bangladesh and even to her. With her daughter Saima Wazed Hossain taking the lead, she said, the importance and awareness about autism have increased nationally and internationally.