When I first met Abul, he was making the finishing touches on a beautiful headboard, sanding down the edges to ensure the finishing was smooth. Prior to working at a carpentry shop in Sitakunda Upazila, a sub-district in rural Bangladesh, Abul spent two hours each day commuting on public transportation to a carpentry shop where he worked as a carpenter.
While Abul–who walks with a cane–had access to a job, it was not considered decent work per ILO standards. Abul’s job wasn’t secure. He was contracted on a day-to-day basis and was required to show up seven days a week. During the monsoon season, if the roads were washed out, he could not get to work and lost his daily salary.
Abul was exhausted from working long hours and spent a sizable amount of his salary commuting to and from this demanding job. Abul needed help. That’s when Handicap International stepped in.
Abul started participating in our GPAF project in Bangladesh, which gives lower-income people with disabilities and their families the right tools and assets to pull themselves permanently out of poverty. With the support from the project and Handicap International’s community livelihood workers, Abul applied and was hired for a carpentry job closer to his home where he earns more, is paid on a monthly basis, and has other benefits including sick leave. Now able to walk to work, Abul never misses a day during monsoon season and has a much better schedule: five eight-hour days each week.
The owner of the carpentry business, Mohammad Harun, had historically employed people with disabilities in his shop. For Mohammad, disability isn’t different–his son is deaf, and participated in the Special Olympics on behalf of Bangladesh. As the business owner, he ensures that Abul works the same hours and receives the same pay as his counterparts.
In addition to Abul’s new job, Handicap International provided him with a cow, which will help provide additional resources for Abul and his family and vocational training. He is also participating in a risk fund, a village savings and loans group with several other individuals, which will help them purchase land for their families.
Thanks to Handicap International’s livelihood program and his new job, Abul, was able to save enough money to purchase his own land, providing further stability for him and his family.
By: Angela Kohama, inclusive livelihood policy officer at Handicap International
The GPAF project, funded by the Department for International Development–UK uses a livelihood approach called the Graduation Model, which targets individuals living on less than 80 cents a day and provides a series of time-bound supports to “graduate” participants sustainably out of poverty.
Handicap International’s work in Bangladesh
Since 1997, Handicap International has worked to advance the long-term rights and social inclusion of people with disabilities in Bangladesh. It is active in physical rehabilitation as well as providing access to quality services and support in isolated areas of the country including economic inclusion. Learn more about our work in Bangladesh.