What are your first thoughts when you hear “public toilet”? Dirty, smelly might be some of the words that come to mind. However, inaccessibility is a feature that we are less likely to think of. For people living with disability, this might be the only feature without which they cannot access something as basic as a public toilet.
At this year’s BRAC Frugal Innovation Forum, I had the opportunity to meet Mr Vashkar Bhattacharjee, National Consultant for Accessibility at a2i. Vashkar da sat right next to me at dinner and what happened right after was something that I will cherish forever.
In the last decade, disasters have cost the global economy USD 520 billion and pushed 26 million people into poverty. Certain groups, such as people with disabilities, have historically been disproportionately affected by natural hazards.
“I am not sure if I can repay more loans, and I don’t want to be overburdened by debt.” That was how Noyon, a small grocery shop owner with a physical disability, replied when BRAC asked whether he would like to take a loan to expand his business.
On 24 June, 2014, BRAC welcomed Joshua Goldstein from the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, to Bangladesh. Josh, a key figure in the campaign for disability-inclusive development, is helping to galvanise a worldwide movement that takes financial inclusion that necessary step further- including persons with disabilities. Naturally - connecting with the world’s largest NGO seemed like a great place to start.