An estimated 10% of Bangladesh's population suffers from either a visual or hearing impairment or a physical or intellectual disability. The challenge these adults and children face is often compounded by poor access to healthcare, education or employment.
Based in Dhaka, Impact Foundation Bangladesh (IFB) works to support the prevention, cure and management of disability through its health centre and community-based activities.
Mothers' Clubs offer training to thousands of rural families in life skills, healthcare, disability and nutrition. Home gardens help families meet their micro-nutrient requirements as well as generating extra income.
IFB also offers corrective surgery and provides assistive devices to those in need of them. In order to reach the most remote rural communities in the river areas IFB operates the innovative Jibon Tari Floating Hospital. This three-deck ship includes a patient ward, a well-equipped operating theatre, facilities for radiology, pathology and physiotherapy, and a training centre.
The organisation is also involved in advocacy work, helping to mobilise national support for the mainstreaming of people with disabilities in every sphere of life.
Since its establishment in 1993, IFB has performed more than 34,000 corrective surgeries (for cataracts, hearing impairment, cleft lip, club foot, etc.). It has distributed more than 4,000 assistive devices to people with physical disabilities and provided physiotherapy treatment for more than 20,000 patients.
IFB is also helping to reduce causes of disability in the communities where it works, by providing vaccinations for newborn babies and antenatal and postnatal check-ups for pregnant women. Another major achievement has been the creation of 5,000 gardens for women and their children, ensuring improved nutrition and vitamin intake.
After receiving the Impact Award, IFB immunised more than 1,500 from six communicable diseases and operated on 200 children suffering from cleft lips and 100 children suffering from clubfoot. It also provided skills development training to Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) who assist child birth at home.
The consultancy support was used to improve the organisation's fundraising capacity.
Photos: Andy Aitchison