Education for diversity: The role of networking in resisting disabled people’s marginalisation in Bangladesh

This article examines the role networking has played, at local and national levels, in facilitating communication between key actors involved in challenging the marginalisation of disabled people from education and from wider Bangladeshi society. Efforts to promote awareness of the importance of including disabled children in their local schools have gained ground at national level through a complex web of networking relationships, including government departments concerned with education and social welfare, disability-focused NGOs and mainstream development agencies and networks.

Using qualitative interview data, the article explores the experience of blind people, (in their role as members of self-help groups linked to Community-Based Rehabilitation programmes in rural areas) in supporting disabled children to access their local school, and in ensuring their safety. Some evidence is provided for the role of networking in challenging marginalising policies, in accessing services (including financial benefits), and in resisting marginalisation. In considering this evidence, the authors debate the different forms and meanings of networking in societies which prioritise collectivity and interdependence, rather than individualism.

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