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Bangladeshi activist gets Unesco award

  • Published at 01:32 pm November 30th, 2018
Vashkar Bhattacharjee
Vashkar Bhattacharjee at a workshop titled ' innovation summit of disability employment inclusion,' at Hotel Lake Castle in Dhaka Facebook

The prize will be awarded to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Bangladeshi disabilities rights advocate Vashkar Bhattacharjee and private sector enterprise Tencent (China) are set to be awarded the Unesco Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in the individual and organizational categories, respectively.

The award will be handed out in a ceremony at the Unesco headquarters in Paris on December 3, reports BSS.

The prize, named after former Kuwait Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah and supported by the country, will be awarded to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, according to a press release.

The theme for the day this year is the empowerment of persons with disabilities, and ensuring inclusiveness and equality as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that pledges to “leave no one behind.”

A high-level panel discussion on inclusiveness and the 2030 Agenda will be organized on the day, with National Star College (UK) Vice President Lucy Hawking, daughter of renowned theoretical physicist Dr Stephen Hawking, among the speakers.

Lucy Hawking will also open and deliver the keynote speech at the prize-giving ceremony. 

Unesco Communication and Information Sector Director (Knowledge Societies Division) Indrajit Banerjee will moderate a roundtable discussion.

Permanent Delegate of the State of Kuwait to Unesco Ambassador Dr Adam Al Mulla will deliver the welcome address at the opening ceremony.

In another session, Sheikh Mubarak Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, representative of the government of the State of Kuwait, will deliver the welcome address. The prize winners too will also give speeches.

Vashkar Bhattacharjee (Bangladesh), from Chittagong-based NGO Young Power in Social Action, is a leading advocate who collaborates with local, national and international partners on the production of resources dedicated to learners with disabilities, and the training of teachers in the use of accessible reading materials.

He and his colleagues established a network of employers that provides fair work opportunities to persons with disabilities. He has also organized national level campaigns on issues of disability and information rights.

In addition, Bhattacharjee has successfully developed Bangladesh’s first accessible dictionary in four forms, for people with visual, print and learning disabilities, and a special program of self-employment through e-micro credit support for persons with disabilities.

In the organizational category, Tencent (China), an Internet-based cultural enterprise, is being recognized for its outstanding contribution to the empowerment of persons with disabilities by using inclusive digital technologies to provide greatly enhanced access to information.

Tencent cooperates with professional information accessibility research organizations to optimize digital technologies and make information accessible for all people.

In China, Tencent products have helped persons with special needs access critical information and interact more easily with digital devices, improving their quality of life.

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