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Organization of disabled people - a voice of their own

After over a year of implementing the project "Supporting People with Disabilities (PwD)" (VM041) in Gio Linh district, Quang Tri province, on September 10, 2013, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) in collaboration with Department of Labour, Invalid Soldiers and Social Affairs (DoLISA) of Quang Tri province, organized the workshop titled "Sharing experience in working with PwD". The event aimed at facilitating the exchange of practical experiences, and for the cooperation among disability-focused organizations in the Central of Vietnam. It also advocated for the establishment of local PwD clubs. 

The participants in the workshop included representatives from governmental agencies of Quang Tri province such as the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Blind Association, Association for Supporting Disabled People and Orphans, Association for Victims of Agent Orange, People Committee of Gio My commune, Gio Hai commune and Gio Linh town. It also attracted delegates from the Associations of PwD of Thua Thien Hue province, the Catholic Relief Service (which is an international humanitarian agency of Catholic community in the United States), as well as 15 members from 3 PwD clubs in the project VM041’s areas.

Quang Tri is one of the provinces that have highest number of PwD in Vietnam, with around 37000 people or 6.2% of its total population having disabilities. Over the past few years, the local authorities have been paying close attention to improve living standard and spiritual care for PwD. More specifically, 7,702 PwD are currently receiving annual public welfare; 100% of PwD in the province are granted health insurance. With respect to education, Quang Tri has supported more than 200 disabled children to attend special schools for PwD.

org of disabled people 1Delegates from PwD club of Gio My commune, Gio Linh district, Quang Tri delivering his speech (Source: SRD)

Non-governmental organizations have played active role in assisting PwD and supporting local authorities to improve the life of disabled people. Through implementing its “Supporting PwD in Gio Linh district” project, SRD has held a wide range of activities to enhance quality of life of disabled people including home health care visits, community-based rehabilitation, training courses on agricultural techniques, developing effective livelihood models, workshops on vocational orientation, social, educational and leisure activities for PwD, etc. Furthermore, local governmental officers have had chances to participate in a variety of capacity building activities such as training on new policies related to PwD, and to visit other provinces to learn for their experience in helping with PwD.

Participants in the workshop all shared their viewpoint on the importance of establishing of local organizations for PwD. “Organizations for PwD act as a bridge between the Government and PwD, especially in terms of policies. They are not only the best spokerperson to advocate for the rights of PwD, but also a common home where PwD feel connected and can restore their confidence. Moreover, organizations for PwD are reliable agencies to where donations can be made” said Mr. Hua Quoc Dung – Head of Quang Nam Association for PwD.

The development of organizations for PwD not only satisfies the needs of PwD but also gives them a chance to build their confidence and affirm their roles in the community. Therefore, the importance and rights of these organizations should be recognized equally as other associations. The workshop left the participants, especially those with disabilities, feeling empowered, and motivated the establishment of disabled people’s organizations in the near future.

org of disabled people 2

“Sharing experience on working with PwD” workshop (Source: SRD)


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