Some 100 Cambodian women with disabilities gathered in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, ahead of International Women’s Day on Friday, to call for better training to enable them to become fully independent.
An estimated 9.8 per cent of the Cambodian population have disabilities, with women numbering 65 per cent, the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey found. Despite the lower number of men with disabilities in the Kingdom, their participation in society was greater than that of women.
The Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO) urged relevant parties, particularly the government, to provide more opportunities to learn skills that enabled people with disabilities, particularly women, to support themselves without having to depend on their families and become a burden to society.
At the Asean Master Plan: Mainstreaming the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2025 workshop, CPDO executive director Ngin Saorath highlighted that the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey also found that 10 per cent of people with disablities had encountered problems in the provision of training.
Although Cambodia has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and was committed to creating a more inclusive society, some people with disablities still encountered grave inequality, he said.
He said people with disablities still struggle to fully engage in society and face many obstacles on a daily basis.
“We are calling for confidence when people with disablities are trained because we have seen that the established training centres often do not use modern methods. It means when they complete their training, the skills that they learned cannot be used."
“What we want is training in skills that match the economy and our society alike. Because if training does not fit the context of our country in 2019, the skills learned will be useless for people with disablities, especially women,” Saorath said.
The Asean Master Plan 2025, compiled and translated by the CDPO and released on Wednesday, says it aims to fulfil the objectives of the bloc’s member states regarding people with disablities through an of enhancement their roles and participation in society and help Asean countries legally coordinate their domestic policies regarding people with disablities.
Nhem Morokat, the under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, with responsibility for people with disabilities, said the Kingdom has 14 centres nationwide to provide skills training for women. And the ministry is preparing for the creation of additional centres soon for people with disablities, especially women.
“We are seeking experts to help us with what kind of training people with disablities should be given. For example, it is common for blind people to learn massage skills and sing, and they often don’t know what else to do. But we will study more on how people with disablities can be trained in other areas,” she said.