Target groups and areas
Apasen International and our partners on the ground have worked hard on undertaking needs assessments and identifying which groups of people would most benefit from our assistance and support.
Prioritising children and youth
As a result,initially we are focusing the majority of our efforts on improving the lives of vulnerable children and young adults who have moderate to severe learning disabilities, autism, or other special needs and live in communities where there are no services for them of any kind.
They are at a crucial stage in their development where access to community based education and regular speech and physiotherapy can transform a young person’s quality of life within a short space of time and make an enormous difference to their life chances.
Poor families in Bangladesh – especially those in rural areas – are condemned to a cycle of poor nutrition, illness, and poverty. If they are caring for a child or adult with a disability – especially a disability that the community labels ‘mad’ – then their situation is desperate. The mother is often abandoned by the father for having brought a ‘curse’ on to his household. She has to provide full time care to a vulnerable child and has no time to earn an income – or look after her other children. Often, the child is allowed to wander free in the slums or village – putting them at extreme risk of abuse, accidents, or drowning – or locked in during the day to protect them from the community. Those families with some income seek advice from inadequate and under-qualified medical staff and waste valuable money on unnecessary treatments and inaccurate diagnosis. By the time the child is five years old, families have given up seeking medical help and as a result, they are not receiving any care that could improve their condition and quality of life – like basic physiotherapy or speech therapy. The whole family suffers from reduced income, nutritional diversity, extra caring responsibilities, and social stigma and stress. The child is isolated and marginalised and becomes invisible to society. They are denied a decent standard of living and the opportunities to participate fully in family and community activities in their family and community life.