The initiative has already been joined by Clifton Group, Rotary Club, and several domestic and foreign development partners, including Lions Club.
In 2007, Md Alamgir became aware of the difficulties of autistic and disabled people of Mirsarai upazila of Chattogram while he was working as a development organiser.
At the time, people with autism had to go to the Civil Surgeon's Office for disability assessments in order to get certificates related to their problems. In many cases, the date of assessment would have passed before the Civil Surgeon's Office received the assessment letter from the post office.
Alamgir brought the matter to the notice of the government authorities concerned with the help of Mirsarai Upazila Social Service Officer Mohammad Jasim Uddin through a DO (Demand Order) of the local MP, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain.
In 2012, the authorities made it possible for all disabled people in Bangladesh to get the certificates from their Upazila Health Complexes instead of the Civil Surgeon's Office.
This was a joyous moment for Md Alamgir, who then became enthusiastic about establishing an autism centre for providing different services to disabled people and children in Mirsarai.
Eventually, in 2019 his dream came true with the inauguration of the Mirsarai Autism Center.
Once fully operational, the centre will provide education, medical services and vocational training for 7,000 children and people with disabilities and autism.
Some of the services, including neurodevelopment work, counselling, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy and parent counseling, have already been started in the centre.
Child Rehabilitator Tasfia Tanjum Nila said, "These services for autistic children are not available away from the district town. Children have started getting the services from here after the establishment of this centre."
Nurul Islam, father of an autistic child, said, "My son is 18 years old. I bring him to this centre hoping that he will be a normal child. I like the environment here."
Kamal Uddin, president of Rajapur Disability Development Organisation, said, "I had to go to the Chittagong Civil Surgeon's Office four times in 2008 to get a disability certificate. After that, I had to go to the district social service office three more times. It was difficult to go to Chittagong city from Mirsarai so many times with physical disability to get a disability certificate."
In 1992, Md Alamgir launched the Organisation for Poor Community Advancement (OPCA), a social development organization, in Mirsarai. This organization helped him to establish the autism centre.
Currently, it spends about Tk26 crore a year on different development projects. Since its inception, it has spent Tk15 crore on various disability-related projects.
Md Alamgir, the executive director of OPCA and Mirsarai Autism Center, said, "The centre currently offers different services for people with disabilities, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, neurodevelopment delays, skill development in sports, etc. Work is underway to set up a vocational training centre for persons with disabilities."
The initiative has already been joined by Clifton Group, a Chattogram-based industrial company, Rotary Club, an international service organisation, and several domestic and foreign development partners, including Lions Club.
Clifton Group Director and CEO, MDM Mohiuddin Chowdhury said, "Clifton Group is providing logistical support for the construction of a vocational training centre at Mirsarai Autism Center. People with disabilities will get job opportunities with training according to their abilities."
Md Mizanur Rahman, Additional Divisional Commissioner of Chattogram, told The Business Standard, "The autism centre is a specialised institution. I think if this initiative is fully implemented in this area it will be a milestone for children with disabilities and autism."
With the help of OPCA, about 3,000 persons with disabilities in Chattogram and Cox's Bazar districts have become self-reliant by engaging in different economic activities.