Resource Integration Centre (RIC) took first initiatives for Older People in Bangladesh after 1988’s tremendous flood. RIC launched a pioneer program on Micro-Credit for 150 older people at Jeenardi in Narshingdhi in 1989. The salient features of RIC’s activities for older people are community-based rehabilitation and support. Primarily, RIC started support to older people in housing, healthcare support, facilitation for forming recreation clubs, pension, funerals, etc. at 5 unions of Palash and Narsingdhi Sadar Upazila in Narshingdhi. RIC also pioneering for introducing lifetime Old Age Allowances before government and 20 Older People achieved this award in Narshingdhi Area. In Bangladesh, RIC first observed International Day for Older People-IDOP by the year 2000. Later, RIC continues support to older people with the support of Help-Age International and Other major stakeholders. RIC is the pioneer organization working to claim the rights of the Older People since 1997 with the assistance of Help-Age International in different areas of the country. ‘National Policy on Older Persons-2013” approved by the government due to continuous advocacy by the Older People’s Committee and developed an Action Plan to implement the policy. RIC is playing a vital role for implementing policy. Now, in Bangladesh 13 million older people exist among the total population, that is nearly 8% of the total population. The expert says that it will be two or three-fold in the upcoming future. RIC tries continuously to aware people, concerning bodies and stakeholder in this issue. In the following paragraph, RIC’s program for older peoples has given.
Older People Welfare Fund Program (2013 to ongoing): With an aim to contribute to the lives and livelihood of the poor and vulnerable older people in Bangladesh; RIC has been facilitating social and health services for the older people by providing financial and material support to the poor and vulnerable older people to solve their problems and meeting up their specific needs.
Currently, a fund is being created from the regular monthly contribution of RIC’s micro-credit operation services, contributions from its staffs and donations from personal and organizations. Gradually the fund will be generated from other sources like NGO’s and Corporate sectors and other educational institutions.
At present in RIC is providing eye care services in particular organizing eye camp and cataract operation are done for the older people in different parts of the country. Under the initiative, there is a plan to provide health services to the older people by appointing Physician in each of the working areas of RIC.
Housing Support: Housing is one of the basic needs of the people, older people always suffer more due to lack of adequate housing facilities. Their sufferings increase during monsoon and the winter season. Taking this into account, housing repairing or construction support will be provided to the older people those who cannot afford their expenditure or cannot arrange their financial support from their families. Housing support will also be provided to the older people who become the victim in the natural disasters.
Livelihood Support: RIC will identify the vulnerable older people and will provide them livelihood support. These supports include cash for food and medicines, help to engage them in the old age friendly income generation activities, etc.
Credit support for the income generating activities of the older people: To engage the older people more active and alleviating their poverty and establishing self-sustainability, initiatives will be taken for involving the older people in their income-generating activities. To support the initiatives, the older people who are physically active and interested in earning by investing capital and has experiences they will be supported from this fund with less interest.
Formation of OP Organization: The areas where OP groups already have been formed, the OP members of the RIC’s Micro-credit programs will be included in the OP groups. Besides, in the RIC’s Micro-credit program areas where there is no OP group existed, new OP group will be formed following the ideal OP group formation structure. The purpose of the forming group is to increase awareness on older people issue and including the older people in the development process and justify their contributions in a sustainable manner.
LIFT OPLI- Improving Older People’s Livelihood through Community Initiative: RIC is working with older people at Arial, Baligaon union of Tongibari Upazila. Project duration is 02 years (September 2015-August 2017). Project activities are Baseline survey, Older Peoples Association (OPA) formation, Monthly meeting of Older People Committee, Health Service for Older people, physiotherapy training, Eye camp as well as medicine support, Grants & microcredit support for IGA, IGA training, Microcredit support, elderly friendly material support (Stick & Commode chair), Day observation on older persons, workshop on intergeneration solidarity. As of 30 December 2015; 435 (Female-290, Male-145) older people received health service by the static clinic, satellite clinic, and health camp. The total number of Older people of this union is 1735 (Female-893, Male-882). Older People Village committee-29, Ward committee- 09, Union committee-01 and organizing their regular monthly meeting. 38 people are selected for grants and microcredit support, 75 older people received IGA training on Poultry, cattle farming, and Homestead gardening. 100 Peoples received Stick & Commode chair.
Uplifting the lives of Elderly People Program: In Munshigonj RIC is implementing the project at Arial, Baligaon union under Tongibari Upazila. The project goal is to “Improvement of older people’s livelihood”. Specific objectives are to form community-based older people committee, include of older people in older people friendly Income Generating activities, increase the older people access to social and recreation activities and in health service, and to build inter-generation solidarity.
Activities are: Conduction of Baseline survey, formation of Older Peoples Association (OPA), Coordination among the OP and other stakeholders through organizing meeting , Leadership development through skill development training, establishment of Older People’s Centre (OP centre), Providing Old Age allowance, Providing health service and Para physiotherapist training, Awarding for Older people for contributing to the society, Micro-credit training for OP, Loan support for ageing friendly IGA, Funeral support for the poor OP’s, Material support for frail vulnerable older people (Walking stick, blanket commode chair etc.) and Social awareness campaign on Elderly issues. No. of Beneficiaries of this program: 1. Direct Beneficiaries: 1500 Older People 2. Indirect beneficiaries: 10,000 (OP’s family members and local people). Total Budget: 10, 82,150.00 BDT (PKSF-611860.00 & RIC- 470290.00)