Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Holistic support system from early childhood to vocational training

The Disabled Rehabilitation & Research Association (DRRA) is one of the largest non-profit development organizations working in the field of disabilities in Bangladesh, operating in 25 districts. The ‘Learn for Life’ programme started in 1998 and offers a holistic model for supporting children with a variety of disabilities to achieve more in school. The programme provides learning materials, assistive materials, financial support, and training for teachers, and has supported around 8,000 children in furthering their education.

“The initiatives were my own, the wish to go on was my decision. My family had a positive attitude towards my journey, and the DRRA has always been beside me. That is why I am now stable and independent.”

Sondha Rani SarkerLearn for Life beneficiary
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Learn for Life
Organisation:Disabled Rehabilitation / Research Association (DRRA)
Country
of Implementation
Bangladesh/ 18 districts
Start Year1998

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Dropout rate of children with disabilities reduced from 57 per cent to 37 per cent across 10 years of the programme.
  • Grown from supporting 20 primary schools in one district in 1998 to 132 schools in 19 districts by 2018.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Disability law is in place to support inclusive schooling in Bangladesh, but this does not always mean schools are sufficiently set up to provide an inclusive learning experience.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Learn for Life provides a range of support mechanisms to allow children with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy, to advance in the education system. The project supports young people at all stages of schooling, from early childhood intervention starting at age three to supporting inclusion in vocational training up to 25 years. For school-aged children, DRRA provides supplementary learning materials, assistive technology, and financial support, along with support for teachers, parents, and therapists.

The programme works with a range of stakeholders, including local disabled person’s organizations (DPOs), parent groups, and the government, to embed the methods within the schools and the wider community. Local DPOs then assume leadership of the programme and continue the work of DRRA after its support is phased out.

The programme started by supporting 20 schools in one district of Bangladesh between 1998 and 2012. As of 2018, Learn for Life has embedded methods in 120 primary schools and 12 special schools in 19 districts.

A woman and a boy in the front surrounded by children in the background are holding their finger up and look to the left.

Inclusive teaching is supported by a variety of additional learning materials and assistive technology.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK, and TRANSFERABILITY

As of 2019, project costs are approximately €250,000 per year with 90 per cent coming from three international donors Liliane Fonds, CBM and Niketan and 10 per cent through corporate and community funding.

The practice has already proven its replicability within Bangladesh, while elements of the model have also been implemented in India. DRRA is planning to make the resources to replicate this practice available online through e-learning for interested DPOs and parent associations in disability-inclusive formats. DRRA additionally aims to assist in the coordination of Inclusive Education among the country’s various ministries.

FACTSHEET

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING