Civil society organisations whose work mainly focuses on advocating the welfare of people with disabilities across Asia appealed to their governments to pay more attention to the private sectors offering job opportunities for disabled people.
The call was made at the 11th Workability Asia Conference 2018, hosted by Workability Asia, Essential Personnel Cambodia and Disability Action Council.
Themed Enabling innovative diverse workforce towards sustainable competitiveness, the conference takes place in Phnom Penh for three days – from Monday to Wednesday.
Katsunori Fujii, chairperson of Workability Asia – the regional chapter of Workability International, the world’s largest body representing providers of work and employment services to people with disabilities – said support for disabled people is not solely attributed to charities or volunteers.
The governments are also responsible to ensure the rights of the disabled are equal to those of others, he said.
Essential Personnel Cambodia executive director Ouch Nimul said: “Most disabled people are the poorest of the poor, with women and children, in particular, remaining the most vulnerable, and that their economic activities stay low.”
He said that disabled people face discrimination and exclusion in society, saying, “their access to social services, such as health, education, skills training and jobs remains limited”.
“We firmly believe that the conference would stimulate discussions on the rights of and employment prospects for disabled people which may trigger actions to reduce poverty and foster inclusivity.”
A participant from a school for the blind in Pattaya, Thailand, showing his notebook with a built-in Braille display and screen reader, told The Post that disabled people “must not stop developing their skills and knowledge in order to meet job demands”.
Chid Sooknu has been visually impaired since birth. He encouraged other people with disabilities to “not feel hopeless and do our best in studying to be able to support our lives”.
UNDP Cambodia country director Nick Beresford urged the public and governments “to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realised”.