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Scholar reflections: Nurunnahar Nupur

Posted: 18 July 2019

Bangladesh, Disability, Impact, Inclusion, Scholar,

Australia Awards scholar Nurunnahar Nupur from Bangladesh is undertaking a Master of Education with a focus on Special Education at Flinders University. She is the Managing Director / Founder of Positive Thinking in Bangladesh, a school for children with special needs. She has reduced walking tolerance, a physical disability she developed after being affected by polio when she was an infant. However, this has not stopped Nupur from reaching great heights.

“It was my dream to come to Australia, and this has opened up many opportunities for me. I’m not only getting the chance to do my studies. I’m getting involved in a lot of things and I am very active. I’m participating in more community activities and even social events. When I was in Bangladesh it was difficult for me to explore opportunities to this extent due to my physical limitations. Even public transport is difficult when you have a physical disability”.

She says accessibility in Australia has truly changed her life. “I even received a scooter from Australia Awards, which has made day-to-day activities more convenient. There are so many opportunities for everyone here, and people are culturally very accepting” says Nupur.

Australia Awards scholar Nurunnahar Nupur (centre) with Mr Ben Power, Director at DFAT (right) and Prof John Webb, Professor at Centre for Transformative Innovation – Swinburne University (left), at the Australia Awards Scholars Forum in Melbourne, April 2019

Nupur says moving to a foreign country would not have been possible without the tailored support she received through Australia Awards, including the opportunity to bring her husband with her. “My husband is very supportive with everything I do; it’s great that he is here with me” she adds.

Nupur is passionate about not just learning and enhancing her skills but also giving back to the community.

“While I’m trying to learn from the Australian education and inclusion system, I’m trying to give something back as well”.

“In my country I worked with a home-based program. After a few years I realised that only the mothers know how to take care of a child with special needs. Sometimes even the father does not join when the child is taken for therapy. I realised I need to do something about it. So, I started travelling to where these families were, and stayed with them for about a week and trained the entire family. I shared this idea in Australia as well, and they found it to be wonderful”, says Nupur.

As an Occupational Therapist and overseeing a special school, a Masters in Special Education she says will immensely benefit her career. “This will be a great strength in planning specific goals and direction of my organisation. It will also help me with the opportunity to create guidelines and effective curriculum for the Government of Bangladesh to run special schools. I will be able to present equal opportunity goals and guidelines to regular schools on how to handle children with special needs in their classrooms – a task I have already started to do”. Nupur adds.

“I have a clear vision, which will lead to greater contribution to the community through what I plan to do. The Australia Awards experience will help me strengthen my capabilities so I can contribute effectively through my passion to make a difference in the lives of children with special needs.”