Keywords: Bangladesh, Community-based education, Inclusive schools, Teacher training

Learn for Life

The Disabled Rehabilitation & Research Association is a local NGO working in 19 districts across Bangladesh. Through their community-based inclusive education programme, they provide two resource centres, online training for teachers, accessible learning materials and diagnostic and referral support in mainstream schools. They supported 8,000 children in the past two years and are looking to replicate in other countries in South and South East Asia.

About the practice at a glance
Name of OrganisationDisabled Rehabilitation & Research Association
Type of organisationNGO
of Implementation
Year started1998
Funding model€250,000 per year – international donors 90%, corporate and community supported funding 10%


In 2012-2016 DRRA covered 75 mainstream schools and 6 special schools in 2 districts. In 2016-2018 this grew to 120 primary schools and 12 special schools in 19 districts, with 8,000 children with disabilities continuing their education. Dropout rates have reduced by 37% and retention rates increased to 67%. This practice has influenced the government as a standard practice of inclusive education and allocate budget for inclusive education through primary education development program-IV (PEDP-IV), as well as the Non-Formal Education program (BNFE). UNICEF and the national taskforce of inclusive education identifies this as a model of low-cost disability inclusive education in Bangladesh. Parents groups and DPOs are involved in monitoring the education program of DRRA, and they also ran a an action research project in 2017-18 to evaluate the programme.


We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:

Target GroupActivityImpact
Children with Disabilities and their
• Provide appropriate rehabilitation support (therapy and assistive device, referral medical and advance care)
• Parents and care givers training on home care and education support
• Teaching learning materials, supplement
• Consultation with parents, teacher and children with disabilities through e-health & e-learning
• Organize inclusive co-curricular activities (inclusive sports, debates, art competitions,
cultural program etc.)
• Need based children focused assistance like Braille books support, extra coaching for hearing impaired and slow learners.
• Increased enrollment rate at mainstream schools
• Reduced dropout rate from mainstream
• Functional capacity and social interaction of children with disabilities improved
• Parents are more aware and motivated to support their children
Community Institutions and Disabled People Organisations
• Teacher training & support class room management
• School accessibility
• Making schools disability friendly with SMC and PTA
• Develop video documentary, pot song, IEC materials etc.
• Support teachers and CWDs through NOBODHARA-a mobile library with TLM and E-Rehab service.
• Capacity building of DPOs and other community based institution like Upazila health complex, community clinic, schools, Upazila resource center and
Upazila vocational training center etc. as a part of sustainability.
• Increased enrollment rate at mainstream schools
• Reduced dropout rate from mainstream education
• Functional capacity and social interaction of children with disabilities improved
• Parents are more aware and motivated to support their children
National and International stakeholders • Support government for disability Inclusive project design.
• Advocacy with national and international stakeholders • Advocacy campaign (We ring the Bell, Ovijatra)
• Knowledge management and evidence generation
• International networking
• Ensured the children with disabilities in existing services and safety net program;
• Policy advocacy and collaboration with lead Government ministry;
• More resource allocation for inclusive education by national and international agencies;
• Policymakers are sensitized to take initiatives and budget allocation, for policy adaptation and disability inclusive education.


DRRA has replicated their innovation. It is currently being implemented in districts across Bangladesh directly by DRRA, in partnership with local Disabled Peoples’ Organisations (DPOs) and supported by its inclusion in government frameworks. The model is also being partly implemented by NGO in India. DRRA is looking to replicate in other parts of Bangladesh where DRRA partners are working, and in countries like India, Vietnam and Myanmar. They are looking for partners in the NGO or business sector with a working interest and capacity to invest in disability inclusive education. Partner organisations also need a good working relation with government or local government. Organisations working on a community-based rehabilitation approach, disability issues, or DPOs engaged in project implementation would also be good potential partners. In some cases, technical training from DRRA might be needed to replicate the project.


Scaling is a stated aim of the organisation over the next 3 years and there are plans to make the programme’s resources available through accessible e-learning for DPOs and parents associations. The education program is the core strategy of DRRA and replication is supported by the Board and leadership team to ensure education for all. One of the strategic objectives of the organization is to promote lifelong learning and inclusive education for all children with disabilities. The organization has the required human resources and experts for replication, but requires financial resources to replicate at scale. The proposed project lead has 7 years experience working with DRRA’s inclusive education program implementation and program planning with national and international NGOs.


After successfully rollout more than two decades DRRA designed an action research project with CBM funding (2016-2018). Based on the evaluation findings and recommendation from stakeholders, DRRA updated the model for the children with disabilities. The ultimate goal of the practice is to enroll the children with disabilities in education whether its formal and non-formal education. Disabled Rehabilitation & Research Association (DRRA) is applying for Zero Project Impact Transfer programme because the programme provides a platform to share the innovative and effective solutions to problems that persons with disabilities face. DRRA want to take this opportunity to share their education model with the network and also replicate the innovative model in other parts of the world through the platform of ZERO Project Impact Transfer Program.