Testimony: Litan Baruri

29 July 2019
Litan Baruri

Litan is a Program Officer at Access Bangladesh Foundation, a partner organization on the i2i project.

My name is Litan Baruri and I work for Access Bangladesh Foundation, a leading national Disabled People’s Organization in Bangladesh. I am a Program Officer and I have been working here for the last three years. I live in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

Since contracting polio when I was 1 and a half years old I have been living with reduced mobility. A general thought was that my disability was the end of my life.

But my parents didn't give up. My father helped me with my homework and my mother took me to school every day. From grade two to grade ten, I was the top student! I was later accepted at Dhaka University where I completed my bachelor and masters degree in Sociology.

When I was in university, I was involved in voluntary activities at ADD Bangladesh, an international development organization working for the persons with disabilities. They formed a "Force Group" with students with disabilities and I was the general secretary. We brought together students with disabilities from many educational institutions of Dhaka and organized a mass movement to achieve disability employment quotas in state jobs.

In 2009, Orascom Telecom Bangladesh (a telecommunications company) recruited some persons with disabilities under a special recruitment process. I took the opportunity and started working there. I was the best performer several times, but was never promoted in the 7 years I was there. The managers only saw my disability and not my capacities. I was later offered to work for persons with disabilities, at Access Bangladesh, and I couldn’t say no.

I was offered the position at Access Bangladesh in 2016. I have since been trained on advocacy, skills, entrepreneurship development ... I was a a Green Business Booklet in Sri Lanka, supported by the International Labour Organisation. Now I am a SIYB (Start and Improve Your Business) trainer and I conduct training for creating entrepreneurs. I also focus my work in local and national level advocacy and provide job matching support, amongst others.

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