Zero Project 2020/2021
PFDA-Vocational Training Center (PFDA-VTC) is a social welfare organisation based in Dhaka, that builds skills and promotes employment opportunities for adults with Autism, intellectual disabilities, Down Syndrome, Cerebral palsy and other Neuro developmental disorders. It offers personalized vocational training programmes, ranging from basic life skills to trade-specific training, based on individual capacity. From 2014 to 2019, PFDA-VTC has trained more than 459 people with NDDs, over 300 of whom have been placed in employment.
There is a lack of specialised vocational services in Bangladesh to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Every student at PFDA-VTC receives an ‘Individual Target Plan’ with specified vocational training outcomes based on their industry interests, support needs, and stage of learning. Progress is monitored quarterly and tracked via VTC’s Curriculum Unit Measurement Operating software (CUMO). Alongside vocational training, therapeutic interventions and training for families and carers are also offered.
When a student is ready, PFDA-VTC matches them to an employer in a process involving the student, employers, family members, and educators. Once agreed, the employer signs a memorandum of understanding setting out the employment conditions, salary, benefits, and workplace adaptations.
VTC staff support the student when starting their role, reducing support as the student becomes increasingly comfortable. Trained students may also enter self-employment or sheltered employment on completion of the programme.
About a third of PFDA´s funding comes from student fees (with subsidies for students in financial hardship). Other funding comes from corporate donations, grants, and the sale of handicraft products.
Supported 217 people into full time employment, 21 into self-employment, and 96 into sheltered employment.
Organized 500+ awareness campaigns (policy dialogue, street campaign, round table conference, drama, concert, newspaper article etc)
Established 9 bakery kiosks in markets operated by PwNDDs
Trained 1500 parents for care of PwNDDs
Facilitated formulation of National NDD Protection Act
PFDA-VTC plans to replicate this model in seven cities in Bangladesh to support persons with disabilities in rural areas, with donor support. The use of technology is also being explored, for example, online training modules during COVID-19 and incorporating machine learning or other technology to support individuals who have communication difficulties.
We are looking for local implementers, local government, funders, parents associations
We plan to scale our model in Bangladesh and then expand in Nepal, Sri Lanka, India
Sajida Rahman Danny, Founder and Chair,
PFDA-VTC YouTube channel
PFDA-VTC vocational training webpage