Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was celebrated in Dhaka by Aspire to Innovate-a2i Programme and Friendship, a social purpose organisation on Thursday.
GAAD serves as a platform to raise awareness and promote accessibility in the digital realm for over 16 million people with disabilities in Bangladesh. The event saw the presence of esteemed guests, including the chief guest Md Shamsul Arefin, special guest the secretary of the ICT Division; Md Shaiful Islam, joint project director a2i and joint secretary of ICT; and Ahmed Toufiqur Rahman, deputy director of Friendship, said a press release.
In his speech, Md Shamsul Arefin highlighted the achievements in implementing the Smart Bangladesh Vision and emphasised the need for an inclusive digital government service system. He assured full cooperation in implementing the National Web and e-Services Accessibility Guidelines and making websites and digital services accessible for all including persons with disability.
The workshop started on time with the introductory speech by Manik Mahmud, programme specialist innovation of a2i, the moderator of the event. In his welcome speech, he briefed about Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and highlighted the importance and significance of the day. The event included informative sessions and practical demonstrations by experts from a2i and Friendship.
Vashkar Bhattacharjee, national consultant accessibility at a2i, showcased accessibility websites and digital services in Bangladesh while highlighting the barriers that still exist. Rahman from Friendship emphasised the importance of comprehensive planning and research to provide disability-friendly inclusive accessible internet services to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities. He stressed the need for collaboration and financial investment to develop accessible tools and equipment.
The chair Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, the project director (Additional Secretary) of the a2i, concluded the event by expressing Bangladesh's commitment to inclusive digital services. He mentioned ongoing efforts to make websites and digital services accessible to all, including marginalised communities and people with disabilities. Kabir thanked everyone for their participation and urged them to ensure accessibility to websites, mobile apps, and digital services.