Tag Archives: PWD Sites

Ha Noi & Dong Nai

In Vietnam, there are two cities where Vietnamese with disabilities can live their utmost potential: Ha Noi and Dong Nai.

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. It has “sweeping boulevards, tree-fringed lakes and ancient pagodas.” Within the city limits is the Daum Kakao Corporation, one of Korea’s leading Internet services providers that has recently opened a centre to train the Vietnamese with disabilities on information technology. A team of volunteers, who are employees of the corporation, will monitor the centre that would be run in cooperation with the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA).  Similar projects have been implemented in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar since 2007.

There are also three disability centers in Hanoi: the Ba Vi Disability Center, the Disabled Children’s Village, and the Centre for International Cooperation and Vietnam Talent Development (CVTD).

Meanwhile, the southeastern province of Vietnam has opened the Dong Nai Sports Center so that its citizens with disabilities can participate in the National Sport Games for People with Disabilities.

Hosted in coordination with the General Department of Sports and Physical Training and the Vietnam Paralympic Association, its goal is to select and train the Vietnamese athletes with physical disabilities for the Asian Paragames in Singapore in December.

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” ~ Scott Hamilton

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of The Unbounded Space Project

Vietnam

Historically, people with disabilities in Vietnam—particularly those living in rural areas—have experienced greatly reduced access to education and reduced employment opportunities.

Just as worse is the confounding statistics on how many of them actually live in the country. In the news article on Viet Nam News, the total is at 6.7 million. And from that figure, about 80,000 have ‘gained vocational skills in jobs that suited their condition, such as spa services, animal husbandry, mushroom cultivation, carpentry, and making clothes and bamboo products’ last 2013.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is 15.3%, however.

But Vietnam is inching closer. It has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last February 5, 2015 and will be implementing initiatives together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Its Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) has also crafted the National Action Plan to Support People with Disabilities for 2012-20. The 250,000 working-age disabled will be provided with vocational training and the companies that would employ them will receive government allowances and incentives.

Children with disabilities in Vietnam could get to study, too, under the Inclusive Education by 2015 plan.

As early as 1998, the Vietnamese National Assembly has passed the National Ordinance on People with Disabilities Act. It resulted in the establishment of the inter-agency National Coordinating Council on Disability (NCCD); barrier-free access code and standards for public construction and transport; disability inclusion provisions in its Vocational Training Law (2006); and implementation of a five-year National Action Plan on disability. The said initiatives brought about the Law of Persons with Disability, which is the first comprehensive national law guaranteeing the rights of people with disabilities.

A partnership has begun to exist between various businesses, non-government organizations (NGOs), and Chambers of Commerce as well. Through a program of the Disabilities Research and Capacity Development Centre (DRD), disabled persons can ride three-wheel motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City for free.

“Disabilities are not going to fade out, in fact the numbers are growing. They are not the barrier to inclusion, society is. We must change environments, attitudes and organisations, and everyone is included in this,” ~ Gemma Thompson

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the AFP News Agency

Moldova

It’s simple. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Moldova just have to use a perforated sheet of thin plastic and—voila!—their votes will be casted.

With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Moldova has introduced the “sleeve envelope.” It was piloted and tested in a polling station in Chisinau during the 2010 elections and could let those with visual impairments to vote their chosen political party by counting the openings in the sleeve and then marking on the specially designated space.

The UNDP has sponsored 7,000 voting booths and 10,000 ballot boxes to ensure that the upcoming elections would be more inclusive and up-to-date. Even PWDs in wheelchairs would be able to cast their vote in a special booth.

The UNDP was able to do this through its Moldova Democracy Programme funded by the governments of Sweden and Norway (the electoral equipment amounted to $436,000 all in all!). The programme aims to enhance the capacity of the Parliament and the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) in carrying out its main functions such as in bringing gender and human rights aspects into the formal political process.

As of this writing, the programme has helped compile gender-disaggregated data like number of women and men voters, improve access to elections for persons with disabilities, turn CEC an ISO-certified elections management body, and create a valid voter register.

“I was very happy and proud that as a citizen, I can now really vote secretly, that I can express my opinion without the help of any another person, even the most trusted one.” ~ Nicolae Ciobanu

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the UN Moldova

Windsor

Even through the summer heat, the outdoor city pools in Windsor will be open for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The Atkinson Pool, Central Pool, Lanspeary Pool, Mic Mac Pool, Remington Booster Pool, and Riverside Centennial Pool would be setting up lifts for them, anyway. There would also be amenities such as heated pools, wade pools, skateboard facilities, walking trails, and soccer pitches, among others that PWDs and non-PWDs alike can enjoy.

Lifts or elevators have been a legal requirement in some countries for some time now. It is followed by this state as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Aside from that, Windsor supports the employment of PWDs by maintaining a website that lists the programs that could assist them. These programs include employment preparation, one-to-one assistance, job coaching and maintenance, job trial and volunteer activity placements and vocational life skills training including mobility training and computer training.

It also has services that protects the rights of PWDs in the area. Among these is the Citizen Advocacy, Easter Seals Ontario – Windsor/Sarnia, and Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor – Essex County – PACE (Parents Advocating – Children Excelling).

“Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” ~Mother Teresa


Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Kevin McShan

New Delhi

Together with the civil society, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in India will be identifying 100 government buildings that are ‘unfriendly’ to persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Gurgaon, Guwahati, Jaipur and Mumbai before upgrading the premises “barrier-free”.

“We are forming audit panels comprising differently abled persons to examine facilities that should be provided in the identified public buildings. The process for selecting members for the panels has started,” Awanish Kumar Awasthi, the joint secretary in the department, said in a report.

“Our ministry would coordinate with other central ministries for the public buildings belonging to the Union government. For state government buildings, we would approach the social welfare departments of the respective states and provide necessary assistance for the purpose,” he added.

The PWDs in the country themselves will be the ones who will audit the structures based on the ramps, lifts, toilets, tactile paving and visual signage within. The department under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, on the other hand, will provide the assistance needed to make the buildings ‘fully accessible’ by July 2019.

The initiative is part of the government’s Accessible India Campaign to make government buildings barrier-free for PWDs “from entrance to exit.”

“Inclusive growth should not be a mere slogan but a fundamental driving force for sustainable development.” ~ Pranab Mukherjee

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Pranav Desai

Peoria

Peoria has just been awarded the Hon. John R. Sticht Excellence in Disabilities Accessibility Award!

Peoria is one of the largest 150 cities in the United States of America. Based in the survey of the WalletHub last year, Peoria is the most suitable place for a disabled person to live and work in Arizona and the second in the entire state.

The city has just renovated its baseball stadium so that every person with disability (PWD) in the vicinity can ‘facilitate greater access to seating, restrooms, the field, vendors, and other amenities’. The stadium has more than 200 wheelchair seats available and a wide ramp.

In 2011, the Peoria Municipal Court had been expanded and reconstructed to allow accessible parking, variable height counters for city clerks, push button building access, and appropriately labeled and designed handrails, ramps and workstations. Inside the courtroom, each workstation as well as the juror seating area is accessible.

“The City of Peoria is a diverse city, respecting all of the needs of our citizens,” said Carl Swenson, the city manager. “Besides our efforts to be as sustainable as possible when constructing city facilities, we do our best to go beyond what is required to meet the needs for those with disabilities.”

“This award is an honor for us. Before each project we design, we first think about how best to meet the needs of all residents. This award is validation that we are thinking and doing the right things.” ~ Ed Striffler

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Unravel Travel TV

Cornwall

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Canada will finally be able to “gain the skills and experience they need to find jobs.”

Thirty-two PWDs in Cornwall, United Counties of SD&G, and Akwesasne will be supported by the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) upon receiving over $366,000 from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities from the government of Canada.

“Canadians with disabilities deserve every opportunity to participate in the job market, and that’s why partnerships with organizations like the Eastern Ontario Training Board are so important,” Guy Lauzon, MP Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, was reported saying. “Through this project, people with disabilities in our area will gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce.”

Jobs Now will teach customer service and computer skills to PWDs in Canada. The latter will also be allowed to join the workforce of the local companies involved in sales and service. The program will also provide a wage subsidy to employers who employ PWDs and would keep them even after the program ends.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to provide employment skills and make connections in the community for people with disabilities. We know that everyone has contributions they can make in the Canadian workforce, and this program will make sure that we can make it happen for dozens of local residents.” ~ Denis Thibault


Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the AttitudeLive

Mandaluyong

Likened to a tiger by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center in 2002, Mandaluyong has been intense as well in caring for the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the city.

It has established an office—the Disabled Persons Affairs (DPAD) —in 1998. It has issued identification cards for free in 2009. It has led the latter to possible research-based programs through its accurate registry.

Within the department is a literacy program for PWDs, children or youth. Local legislations are thought of for the sector as well as workshops. A task force is also assigned to monitor the implementation of the Accessibility Law and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and community-based programs are established to supports the different organizations of PWDs and caregivers.

Mandaluyong has sports and socio-cultural programs in place. It has the Mandaluyong Manpower and Development Center (MMDC), a small government institution that has become a “nationally competitive training center” to help PWDs realize their optimum potential. It has two training centers—in Barangay Hulo and in Welfareville Compound in Addition Hills—with 23 training facilitators and 26 support staff teaching casket making and carpentry.

To date, PWDs in the city have benefited from the DPAD programs. A summary of its projects and impact to the sector from 1997-2003 were recorded and four social welfare organizations have been opened even to those who are not residents of Mandaluyong. Among them are the Integrated Day Care Center, which is both for autistic and “normal” children ages 0-3 years old; the Sanctuary Center, which serves as a temporary shelter for recovered psychotics; the National Center for Mental Health and Social Service, which provides medical assistance to mentally ill patients; and the Jose Fabella Center, which serves male psychotics age 19-25 years old only.

Project TEACH (Therapy, Education and Assimilation of Children with Handicap) has been a leading initiative for children with disabilities (CWDs) here since September 2007. Its therapy center has been providing evaluation, diagnostic and regular therapy services. It would teach basic sign language to community workers and policemen so that they can communicate effectively with the deaf among them. Even the city’s private sector would help: it would cooperate with the city government to give free therapy to the CWDs.

Under the project, there would be the Mandaluyong CARES (Center for Alternative Rehabilitation and Education Services) and the Kitchen Specials (KS). They would be offering pre-vocational skills training programs to CWDs and supply public school canteens with “healthy, delicious, and affordable snacks” prepared by PWDs themselves, respectively.

But what excites me more is Mandaluyong’s initiative to share with other local government units (LGUs) the projects that have worked for the PWDs in it! Just recently, Wennah Marquez, officer-in-charge of Mandaluyong’s DPAD, trained the staff of other LGUs responsible for the disability issues in their own cities how to custom-fit wheelchairs for CWDs based on their physical constitution and nature and level of disability. Mandaluyong is not just giving them what it think they need, but is also making sure that the latter would be able to function as equals among ‘normals’!

“Expert studies show that given the same opportunities as others, children with disabilities can equally contribute to the social, cultural and economic vitality of their communities.” ~UNICEF Philippines

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Juan Miguel Ala-Tolentino

Washington

It has been on the news recently: some residents in Washington resorts to fraud to be able to park easily and for free.

Should the authorities be blamed for not being able to curb the deception? An official report in 2012 have had identified 10 blocks where 40%-91% of parked cars had disability placards when the District’s Office of the Inspector General also documented 14 cases of city employees abusing them.

Or should the residents be censured for forging disability-parking license plates? The Department of Public Works cited that in 2001, more than 29% of the metered spaces were taken by people parking all day with a “handicap designation,” four times the national rate of people with ambulatory disabilities.

Is this how driving in Washington really is for persons with disabilities (PWDs)?

“We call upon people of good will to reexamine their attitudes toward their brothers and sisters with disabilities and promote their well-being, acting with the sense of justice and the compassion the Lord so clearly desires.” ~U.S. Catholic Bishops on Persons with Disabilities

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Government Law

Baguio

There’s more to Baguio than just being a tourist’s haven.

It’s also the spot for persons with disabilities (PWDs) who want some respite from the Manila heat. The Federation of Persons with Disabilities of the Baguio–Benguet chapter has pushed for the establishment of a law-mandated affairs office for PWDs in December 12 of last year, as anchored on the Republic Act 10070.

Ten days before that, there had been a public hearing to inform the PWDs in the city of the three proposed measures pertaining to them. The annual celebration of the International Day of the People with Disabilities worldwide should be localized, suggested Councilor Isabelo Cosalan, chair of the Council Committee on Employment, Cooperatives and Persons with Disabilities. There should be an affairs office for them that would be funded by the City Health Department as well as a committee that would oversee, advised Councilor Joel Alangsab. A free movie once a week must also be granted to the city’s PWD residents, recommended Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.

PWDs in Baguio City also underwent livelihood training through the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP). Among of the 67 participants were Michael Pascua of Bokawkan Road who survived an accident in 2011, and his wife Michelle who are blessed with four children.

The Rehabilitation, Skills Training and Livelihood Promotion for Persons with Disability was proposed to be funded by the GPBP with a local counterpart of P230,769.23 and P769,230.77 from the DSWD. It is being implemented under the department’s “Sustainable Livelihood Program,” a community-based program that aims to improve the socio-economic capacity of the poor by providing them with entrepreneurial and technical skills training.

But there’s no definite population figure of PWDs in Baguio. The city social welfare and development office (CSWADO) counted 1,654 PWDs in the city as of May 2014 while the Department of Social Welfare and Development listed 1,375 PWDs in December of the same year. Councilor Cosolan had to propose an accurate population figure to the City Social Welfare and Development Officer, City Health Services Officer and the City Schools Superintendent-Department of Education last June 10, 2014 “for legislative support, planning and program implementation purposes.”

Having a disability affairs committee was also already ordered by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog when he was the acting mayor of the city last August 3, 2014. The free movie viewing is open only to PWDs’ who are registered and holders of Baguio City PWD ID Card once a week—on either the first or second screening during Wednesday or Thursday only.

I must admit, though, that the proposal of Councilor Cosalan is a good step. The measure intends to create a committee that would be the one “to formulate, implement and monitor the various activities comprising the observance and in accordance with the current international theme for the particular year, as well as local programs and projects for PWDs.’” It could lead to awareness, long-winded as it may.

“…disabled persons are “part of the Philippine Society, thus the state shall give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of disabled persons and their integration into the mainstream of society.” ~ RA 7277