The heartfelt approach taken by InclusionX to art, education, and humanity that is breaking down barriers
InclusionX, established in 2015 by Labib Tazwar Rahman, stands as a beacon of hope and empowerment for individuals with disabilities and mental health conditions. At its core, InclusionX envisions a world where every person, irrespective of their disability or mental health challenges, can unlock their full potential and live a life imbued with purpose and dignity. This remarkable organisation has made substantial strides in realising this vision through a multifaceted approach encompassing mental health initiatives, reproductive health advocacy, inclusive computing, and arts education programs. With unwavering dedication and commitment, InclusionX has successfully imparted valuable training and support to an impressive half a million individuals across diverse communities in Bangladesh, India, and the United States.
The Founder Who Found Purpose
Labib’s journey to founding InclusionX was deeply personal and rooted in empathy. It began with a tragic incident – the passing of Labib’s brother, worsened by a classmate’s insensitivity about his brother’s mental state. This experience compelled Labib to work for a more inclusive and compassionate world for people with disabilities. As he delved deeper into his mission, Labib observed the isolation that children with disabilities often faced, attending separate schools or none at all. They had different worlds; playgrounds and classrooms, underscoring the need for change.
In 2015, InclusionX launched the groundbreaking ‘InclusionX Connecting Circles’ program, inviting individuals to spend a day in schools for students with disabilities. This initiative garnered an overwhelmingly positive response, with around 250 students from various schools and colleges visiting these specialised institutions, bridging the gap between the two worlds.
However, InclusionX ought not only to bridge but also to reverse these roles. They collaborated with Viqarunnisa Noon School to organise a massive art festival, drawing 10,000 attendees and ensuring accessibility for students with disabilities. This event brought together students from diverse backgrounds to create art, transcending their differences and highlighting their shared humanity.
Today, InclusionX stands as a beacon of inclusivity, supported by esteemed organisations such as OpenAI (the creator of ChatGPT), Stanford University, the US Department of State, EMK Center, and the ICT Division of the Bangladesh government.
InclusionX offers a range of programs designed to foster inclusivity and empowerment. These initiatives span personalised computer training, puberty health education, inclusive schooling, and mental health support. InclusionX is dedicated to bridging gaps, promoting understanding, and shaping a more inclusive future.
Joy of Computing (JoC)
The ‘Joy of Computing’ (JoC) program, in operation for 8 years, strives to bridge the digital divide for disabled students. It provides training in computer animation and 3D modelling, utilising a personalised, multimodal learning approach. InclusionX has also trained over 200 computer science teachers to assist JoC students.
Puberty Health Training
InclusionX offers training to parents on navigating their disabled child’s puberty years, addressing the taboo nature of topics like menstruation and nocturnal emissions in Bangladesh. InclusionX has trained thousands of parents since 2018 to address these issues.
InclusionX for Schools
To promote inclusivity, InclusionX has collaborated with schools like Viqarunnisa and Saint Joseph, co-organising events to ensure they are inclusive for disabled students. They serve as a resource bank for parents, offering consultations and directing them to appropriate services.
InclusionX Mental Health
This program offers a mental health curriculum taught in schools and conducts sessions in various institutions, reaching around 300 students per school on average. InclusionX facilitates affordable mental health services for students, connecting them with psychiatrists at below-market costs. They also provide mental health first aid training and produce a web series called #StudentsAskAPsychiatrist featuring leading psychiatrists, which has reached over 550,000 viewers.
Innovation Alongside Inclusion
InclusionX utilises a personalised, multimodal approach in its computer training program, adapting the learning experience to each student’s unique needs. Instructors engage actively, identifying strengths and utilising techniques like video tutorials, signs, sketching, and shape-based learning. This innovative method integrates insights from education, computer science, AI, and disability studies. Notably, The ‘Joy of Computing’ program uses an adaptable learning approach structured around four primary areas – Early Childhood Learning and Development which focuses on building essential computer skills from a young age, Learning Differences and the Future of Special Education which emphasises neurodiversity and provides specialised support for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Equity and Learners which utilises joint media engagement to expand the creative expressions of students who may be non-verbal, and Workforce Learning which enables both students and peer trainers to access cutting-edge, no-code AI tools.
Call To Action
In recognition of its impactful work, InclusionX has received support from various organisations. In 2015, it established partnerships with the EMK Center and the US Department of State. In 2018, Stanford University awarded it a grant, followed by a grant from the Bangladesh government in 2021 to enhance InclusionX Mental Health. Most recently, in 2023, OpenAI extended a grant to integrate Generative AI into the InclusionX JoC program.
As InclusionX continues to grow, it is constantly on the search for motivated, aspiring changemakers. To follow the inspiring work and become a part of InclusionX, interested individuals can follow the office Instagram page @inclusionx and Facebook at /inclusionx. The organisation has opened its doors to youth volunteers and onboards new people to its team every three months.
Photographs: Courtesy of InclusionX