Community Centre Based Care and Education for Children with Neuro Developmental Disability: Experience from BRAC

Since its inception, BRAC Education Programme (BEP) has been including children with disabilities in its various educational initiatives. To foster this inclusion initiative, BEP developed the Children with Special Needs (CSN) unit in 2003. From 2014 this unit launched Neuro-Developmental Disability (NDD) centres for poor communities in Bangladesh in cooperation with the Health, Nutrition & Population Programme (HNPP) of BRAC. Till June 2015, four centres were established; one in a slum in Dhaka city and three others in Pabna, Khulna and Gazipur districts. Preparation of opening another centre in Sylhet district is in progress. As this is relatively a recent initiative of BRAC, this research study was done to document and analyze its processes, outcomes, problems and solutions. The overall aim of this study was to explore in detail about these centres including strategies taken, successes achieved, challenges faced and scope of further improvement in operation. A qualitative research design was followed as the study intended to document the entire development of the centres from the perspectives of policy and personnel, the lives of the children and their families and communities. The study involved a review of program documents (e.g. policies, curriculum, materials, etc.), repetitive non-participant observations of the centres combined with a semi-structured interview and focus group discussions (FGDs) with a range of stakeholders including children, parents, teachers, and other officials from BRAC. Findings indicated positive learning outcomes of children with disabilities and the joy of having a school-like centre for them, changing attitudes and perceptions of families and communities regarding disability, and genuine goodwill among most staff involved.

Author: Mallick, Utpal
Type: Report
Year: 2016