Learning Disabilities in Bangladesh: Something MUST be solved

Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman
Posted October 9, 2020 from Bangladesh
Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman Study Buddy Pitch
Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman Pitch

This is Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman, founder & CEO of Study Buddy, an alternative learning platform for children with learning disabilities. Social Entrepreneur, Activist, Social worker, Programmer these are the some of the terms that I relate to. I am quite entrepreneurial in nature since childhood and I detest to see any problems unsolved. If I find out out any problem, I try my heart and soul to solve it. That’s why I admire my field of study very much as its all about solving problems and indeed this problem solving nature is the initial driving force to become an entrepreneur. 

“Study Buddy”, one of my social venture is the best achievement I explored by winning one of the startup incubation program called ZEITGEIST by German Embassy back in 2018.

We all have heard that Einstein couldn't cope up with the traditional curriculum. He couldn't read till 9. Well, the reason behind it was one of the disorders that we work with Dyslexia. However, Eisenstein explored the own way to solve the problem. But all people in a developing country like us having lack of resources may loose out the next Einstein without proper guidance.

The problem Learning disability and difficulties are neuropsychological disorders in which a person’s brain works differently affecting one or more basic processes. Like dyslexia having reading issues. There are also similar kind of disorders including Autism (communication), Dyscalculia (math), Dysgraphia (writing). Surprisingly, every 3 out of 10 children in Bangladesh are going through learning disabilities and the problem is so acute that if we do not solve the problem there is actually 300 % possibilities that this children may dropout before reaching high school. There are 200 % possibilities that this children may become jobless in future, there are 31 % possibilities that these are the children getting bullied by the mainstream society.  

Actually the motivation to build “Study Buddy” came from my sister  used to suffer from multiple learning difficulties who died three years ago because of lungs infection. I have seen my parents moving here and there to get my sister well, leading a normal life. They even moved to abroad consulting doctors & experts in this manner. We used to remain tensed most of the time to make her life easier. She had all the symptoms of learning disabilities like trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes, Difficulty following directions or routines, slow fine motor skills, confused with basic words (run, eat, want), making consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x, /, =), Slow to remember facts, Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization, Impulsive, difficulty planning, unstable pencil grip. One way to teach her thing was applying interactive techniques. She was tech-savvy and used to learn things if taught using cartoons, music, games. Everything was going well since previous year she died. May her soul rest in peace.   In my pathway, I found several other kids, parents and educators suffering for learning disabilities and difficulties which directly or indirectly making their life hell.  Though I couldn’t help my sister, I would try my level best so that any other sister or brother suffering from this issue any single day. That’s how “Study Buddy” came in, an alternative learning platform for kids with learning disabilities and difficulties.  

One thing that really surprised me that Neuropsychological disorders creates one of  the world’s largest minority, but they continue to be physically and socially marginalized from mainstream society. These disorders impacts the individual, society and the economy at large. It often causes difficulties in reading, writing, spelling and organization which affects not only academic success but also self-esteem and social-emotional development among students. They are also seen finding  difficulty if left to figure things if taught in conventional ways. They can also interfere with higher-level skills such as organization, time planning, abstract reasoning, long or short term memory, and attention. Besides, Parenting children with learning disabilities requires a high level of knowledge and access to resources, information and services. In developing countries, however, these resources and services are not always available. And, Stigma is a life companion. Can’t focus properly on job. Usually demotivated and lack with proper tools and resources. Also, most of the teachers are not aware of learning disabilities in children. The teacher may sometimes fall into confusion how to deal with them. They may fail to balance the different learning needs of these special children. They may struggle helping parents and students meet long-term goals.

Study Buddy is the one stop solution. we are the go to resource for mastering terminologies, procedures and best practises in parenting children with learning disabilities. We work positively alongside Child with Learning Disabilities, their families, and carers providing specialist services tailored to each individual in three ways mainly. Firstly, We offer various expert home services such as Special Educator, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, etc. Secondly, we do campaigns on ld breaking the taboo and train the cares incubating next Einstein. Thirdly, we cater Assistive Technology tools and resources developing fine motor skills. 

Raising social awareness on learning disabilities is also part of our job. So far we were able to conduct 27 social campaigns on learning disabilities impacting 30,000+ people. Parents of this special children usually seen frustrated. They spend quality of their time behind their children. Even they cant focus on their work. This eventually affects the national economy as well. Besides, employment is also a question in the case of this special child.  We Study Buddy is working on creating a balance where we can make this children self reliant, make a way to the  parents so that they can focus on work and keep them motivated

 

Comments 5

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Tamarack Verrall
Oct 09
Oct 09

Hello Sheikh,
A warm welcome to World Pulse. This is such important work, and so touching to read about how your love for your sister has inspired you to develop Study Buddy. Even the name is so friendly. The details of how this has been helping many is sure to be helpful for many here who are also working with children ad adults with learning disabilities. A warm welcome to World Pulse.

Nini Mappo
Oct 09
Oct 09

Hello Sheikh,
Welcome to World Pulse. Your social initiative is crucial in decimating stereotypes and misinformation that surrounds learning disabilities. Good on you for the advocacy, and creating tools for families and educators to support learners according to their learning styles and needs. That is powerful and vital in the process towards inclusion and equal educational opportunities. How goo to see the number that has already benefited from your campaigns.
All the best for further Study Buddy campaigns and congratulations on your impact.

Andrace
Oct 10
Oct 10

Wow! This is super cool, Sheikh. Congratulations on your awesome startup. I'm so sorry your sister eventually passed after so much was done for her to survive. It is very disheartening loosing a loved one and I can imagine the pain. However, the startup is a great way to immortalise her, through problem-solving. Many people do not realise that learning difficulties are special needs which we should support with empathy rather than discrimination. Thanks again for being a problem-solver. It is so good that "We Study Buddy is working on creating a balance where we can make this children self reliant, make a way to the parents so that they can focus on work and keep them motivated." Please share your website link as I am eager to learn more.

Meanwhile, a warm welcome to World Pulse and hearty congratulations on sharing your first post. We desire to read more from you, so keep writing!

Best wishes always,
Your Sis,
E. J.

Sabiha Hasan
Oct 21
Oct 21

It's an amazing initiative, I am a journalist working with a budding new platform based in UAE i.e. worldcapitaltimes.com
What if we want to interview you & publish this project on your platform?

Sheikh Inzamamuzzaman

That would be awesome. I will be more than happy to share my story. Please feel free to reach me at [email protected]