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British people to help transform the lives of children with deafblindness in Bangladesh

22 June 2018

Two smiling men and three smiling women hold a sign that says "Thank you". Behind them a banner says "My Turn To Learn"

(Image shows Minister of State for International Development, Lord Bates, stands centre with Sense International Director, Alison Marshall, and staff, to announce the amount raised for UK Aid Match appeal)

Sense International will begin a pioneering programme to transform the lives of children and young adults with deafblindness in Bangladesh, it was announced today. It follows a successful appeal that raised £521k from the public – including a £216k contribution in Aid Match funding from the UK Government.

The Minister of State for International Development, Lord Bates, visited TouchBase South East, a Sense run day-service in Barnet, UK, on Friday, for the announcement. The Minister toured the service, and met staff and service users to learn more about the support Sense provides to individuals and their families.

Sense International will work with local partners in Bangladesh to improve access to education and opportunities to work for children and young people with dual sensory loss in the country. The programme will recruit and train specialist teachers who will work with families to support the children at school; training for mainstream teachers; the creation of a model school to promote best practice; and targeted meals so that children with deafblindness are well enough to learn.

Less than ten per cent of children with a disability in Bangladesh are in primary school. It is rare for children with deafblindness to be included, often because teaching staff don’t have the skills to support them and families are overwhelmed by the emotional and practical challenges. Without access to education, children with deafblindness remain at home, and do not develop the vital communication and life skills they require to achieve basic independence.

Director of Sense International, Alison Marshall, said:

“Currently, children with deafblindness in Bangladesh rarely get the opportunity to learn vital communication and life skills, leaving them isolated and at greater risk of poverty.

“Thanks to the tremendous support of the generous British public and the UK government, we will be able to transform the lives of children and young people with deafblindness across Bangladesh.”

Minister of State for International Development, Lord Bates, said:

“I’d like to thank all the generous supporters of Sense International’s ‘My Turn to Learn’, UK Aid Match appeal.

Education offers a wealth of opportunities and is key to ensuring no child is left behind. It is fantastic that the British public, through this appeal, have enabled hundreds of deafblind children in Bangladesh to access a quality education and learning environment. This work will transform so many lives.”

The UK Government matched eligible public donations to the My Turn to Learn appeal - which ran from 18 October 2017 to 17 January 2018 - through its UK Aid Match scheme. UK Aid Match, which is run by the Department for International Development, brings charities, the British public and the UK Government together to collectively change the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

Find out more about the My Turn To Learn appeal.

UK Aid from the British People


First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019