Thursday, 23 March, 2023

Caring for disadvantaged children

It is a very pleasant piece of news that over 800 disadvantaged children, many of whom are differently-abled and autistic, got an opportunity to enjoy a ride on Metro Rail on Monday. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs took this well-meaning initiative in conjunction with Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL).

On this occasion, the Metro Rail station in Agargaon became abuzz with the footsteps of children who were extremely happy witnessing the metro rail first hand. Many of the disadvantaged children said that they saw Metro Rail on TV only and never thought that they would be able to have a ride on it. However, apart from the fleeting moment of joy of riding on Metro Rail, what is more important is that the ride made them feel that they are not left behind from Bangladesh’s development journey. 

Ensuring inclusive development is a huge challenge for the government, and the initiative to let disadvantaged children enjoy a special ride on metro rail is a step forward in that direction. It will not only encourage the children to dream big, but also serve as an example for others to do things to benefit or inspire the hapless children.

In Bangladesh a large number of children are growing up in miserable conditions, fighting for survival and encountering barriers at each step of their life. Moreover, disadvantaged and disabled children are treated as a burden. Their parents either lack wherewithal or unwilling to invest in the education of their disabled wards. So, it is not always possible for them to grow up as worthy citizens facing negligence from childhood. But if they are not neglected and given an opportunity to nurture their talent, they too can grow up as skilled human resource and worthy citizens.

Therefore, while the government should ensure necessary opportunities for the disabled and disadvantaged children, the well off families and businesses should also extend a collective hand to meet their needs. Only our collective efforts can make up for the cruel treatment they receive at the hands of fate.