Tag Archives: Vietnam

What Lea Sicat Reyes has said

In her column “Insight Avenue,” Lea Sicat Reyes has asked how can disability intervention in the Philippines become accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country with limited resources and what should be done about it.

Countries like Vietnam, Togo, and India have successful programs in place that cater to children who live with visual and hearing impairments and other physical, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities,” she noted after mentioning the countries with similar context to the Philippines but have effectively addressed disability- related concerns.

“The Philippines can definitely gain valuable insights from their common practices,” she added.

So Reyes suggested pursuing partnerships between the government and civic groups that have the capacity to empower stakeholders. The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), for instance, has initiated a program in Vietnam that would “provide an integrated effort to teach deaf children sign language at a very young age, helping them to get ready to learn when they enter formal primary school.” It also funded a program on inclusive education for the PWDs in Malawi which “tests innovative methods to raise enrolment among children with disabilities who are not in mainstream schools and also supports the development of an inclusive education policy.”

Throughout the country, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the LAJ Philippines- LEGO funded the creation of the National Centers for Children with Disabilities in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Reyes noted, too, that a community-based approach where intervention is concerned is both practical and sustainable. Parents and families must then have a working understanding of their children’s intervention program. The disability-related concerns in the Global South1 should be studied more since “resources are readily available and systems are already in place to provide maximum support for children with disabilities” in the Global North2.

“We can no longer overlook the need to address the plight of children with disabilities in the Philippines. If we continue to allow these to fester, more and more children will be deprived of a chance to have a better quality of life. The time to act is now.” ~ Lea Sicat Reyes

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of unicefphilippines

1The Global South refers “Third World” (i.e., Africa, Latin America, and the developing countries in Asia), “developing countries,” “less developed countries,” and “less developed regions.”

2The Global North is home to all the members of the G8 (United States of America, Japan, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France) and to four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Filipino PWDs in ICT

Amidst insufficient training and funding, four persons with disabilities in the Philippines bagged several medals during the Global IT Challenge (GITC) for Youth with Disabilities on this day last year.

They were Janna Nadine Tan from the Miriam College Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf; Adrion Peter Palacpac from Gen. Pio del Pilar National High School; Nathaniel Edward Quing Dimalanta from the Philippine School for the Deaf; and Mark Christian Dipatuan Evangelista from the Philippine National School for the Blind.

They were tested then on how to utilize information and communications teachnology–particularly the Internet Explorer, MS Office, and Scratch Programs–in solving problems.

Tan was awarded a gold medal then, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Tool challenge; and a silver medal, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Life challenge under the Hearing Category.

Adrion Peter Palacpac, on the other hand, was awarded a gold medal, a Certificate of Achievement, and a cash award in the e-Life challenge; and a silver medal, a Certificate of Achievement and a cash award in the e-Tool challenge under the developmental/learning disability category. He was also conferred–for the first time in the history of the IT Global Challenge event–the IT Global Leader/MVP for the year 2017.

The 2017 GITC for Youth with Disabilities was held at the Grand Plaza Hanoi Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam and participated in by 16 other countries broken into 25 teams.

It seeks to set the ICT agenda for participating countries to boost international cooperation and exchange for accessibility in addition to providing leverage information and social participation.

“Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential for making significant improvements in the lives of persons with disabilities, allowing them to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration in communities by enlarging the scope of activities available to them.” ~UNESCO

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of AccessForAlleu

In the Face of Calamities

Children with disabilities in the Philippines—there are 5.1 million of them to date—are the most vulnerable if there happen to be a calamity or an emergency in the country. They wouldn’t be able to flee; around 1.5 million need assistive devices. They wouldn’t be able to go back to school immediately and they wouldn’t be able to subsist in the sanitation conditions in evacuation centers.1

So, Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Department of Science and Technology, proposed to carry out continuing education and preparation on disaster management in all levels especially those in the most vulnerable groups. He encouraged developing “disaster imagination” to bring about people’s resolve to prepare for any disaster and “disaster preparedness” as a way a life for every Filipino.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council–Office of Civil Defense also endorsed “Lahat Handa,” a training manual that promotes the rights and capacities of children, youth, older people and PWDS.

The ramifications of a typhoon, flood, or fire may linger, said Alex Ghenis of the Berkeley, California-based World Institute on Disability. These may disrupt access to caregivers, assistive devices and medical supplies. A person with a mobility impairment might be less able to escape a storm on their own while a person with a visual or hearing impairment might not receive appropriate evacuation notices. PWDs, therefore, even they have mostly been ignored in scientific literature and policy, will be the most vulnerable during calamities because of falling buildings and environmental pollution.

Good thing, someone has thought of sign language gestures for words like typhoon, storm surge and signal numbers in 2013. Some waterside villages in Tacloban have also planned to raise flags and made announcements over megaphones to alert the deaf and the visually impaired, respectively.

The PWD Forum also hopes that closed captioning will be added to television broadcasts soon. For, as of now, research director Perpi Tiongson of the Oscar M. Lopez Center in Manila has observed that the standard version of Filipino sign language isn’t required to be taught at schools for the deaf yet.

“Some of the children with disabilities wouldn’t be able to duck, cover and hold under tables, so they should identify the safest area in the room, where no debris would fall on them. If they use wheelchairs, they should fix it to ensure stability, and everyone should be informed of their buildings’ respective evacuation routes. They should also pinpoint the safe parts of a building in case of an earthquake.” ~ Dr. Renato Solidum Jr.

1This was noted by Lotta Sylwander, country representative of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during the “Emergency Preparedness Forum for Children and Youth with Disabilities.”

2Typhoons could form if the temperature is above 280C (82.40F).

3The figure was from a report of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Notes:

  • Among of the natural disasters that had happened in the Philippines are the Bohol earthquake, (October 15, 2013), Typhoon Bopha (December 3, 2012), Pantukan landslide (January 5, 2012), Tropical Storm Washi (December 2011), Typhoon Fengshen (June 20-23, 2008), Tropical Cyclone Durian (November 25, 2006), Guinsaugon landslide (February 17, 2006), and Tropical Depression Winnie (November 2004).
  • The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas headed by Melissa Banias of the Capability Building Section has trained more or less 700 individuals from the 14 vulnerable or basic sectors that were identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on the Philippine DRRM system, different kinds of natural and human-induced hazards, and DRRM applications. They are composed of volunteer groups, persons with disability, farmers, fisherfolk, rebel returnees, and Indigenous Peoples (IP), among others.
  • The Philippines is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, landslides, storms, cyclones, and depressions simply because it is located just above the equator, where the country faces the western Pacific waters with 280C (82.40F) temperature2. Its hillsides are denuded of forests and it rests on the so-called volcano Ring of Fire.

A lot of Filipinos live on coastal islands, too. The Super Typhoon Haiyan reached 23 feet (7 meters) upon its surge. It rolled over the low-lying parts of Leyte, causing death to more than 10,000 people3.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Edison Jared

UPDATE (October 2, 2018): On average, more than 1,000 lives are lost every year in the Philippines, with typhoons accounting for 74 percent of the fatalities, 62 percent of the total damages, and 70 percent of agricultural damages, according to the World Bank.

Source: GMA News Online

Help in Vietnam

Approximately 5 million people live with a disability in Vietnam. In its poorest province, Quang Binh, there are already 40,000 persons with disabilities (PWDs).

As such, it is important that there are organizations empowering Vietnamese PWDs. The Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) has been doing so since May 2010 for those who have sustained injuries during the Vietnam War (November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975). It employed the survivors as its peer-outreach workers, hosted training workshops, partnered with local health clinics, assisted self-help groups, provided economic opportunity activities, and led advocacy action in the country.

The Hanoi Disabled People Association (DP Hanoi), on the other hand, is open to Vietnameses from any background, ethnicity, religion, gender, social status, and cause of disabilities. It is a social organization for those who are willing to participate in any activities of the disabled and for the disabled.

The number of DPOs in Hanoi is 26; there is a DP in Chuong My and another in Ung Hoa. It has organized a workshop to (1) increase the advocacy effectiveness of DP Hanoi and its member organizations in developing, advocating and monitoring the policies, (2) assist to protect the equality rights of PWDs, and (3) focus on how laws for PWDs should be implemented.

There is also the Vietnam Blind Association in this country with projects related to healthcare, social affairs and employment that could benefit the blind. There is the Nguyen Dinh Chieu that provides visually impaired students with many extra classes for practical skills in music, physiotherapy, and computer.

The Training and Adaptability Center for Blind Adults was established in 1994 to train blind Vietnameses some skills on management, teaching, English language, computer, and massage. The Blind Association has trained blind Vietnameses to work as masseurs, making them self-sufficient and thus building their self-confidence.

“Nothing limits intelligence more than ignorance; nothing fosters ignorance more than one’s own opinions; nothing strengthens opinions more than refusing to look at reality.” ~ Sheri S. Tepper 

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jimmy Tieu

Standard label?

How could the members of the world’s largest minority be known in a variety of names?

The Philippines has officially referred to them as “disabled persons” last July 22, 1991. Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 7277 has defined them as “those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Fifteen years later, though, the law that was otherwise entitled as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was amended and Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 9442 renamed every disabled person in the country as a “person with disability.” The title of Republic Act No. 7277 was changed to the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” and all references to “disabled persons” to “persons with disability”.

This must be the reason why Americans with a disability are labelled as “individuals with a disability”; Canadians and Vietnamese with a disability as “people with disabilities”; and Indians with a disability as “persons with disabilities.”

Moldovans with a disability are “invalid,” though—a portrayal that The Rhythmic Arts Project has claimed to “elicit unwanted sympathy, or worse, pity toward individuals with disabilities.” TRAP has further advised to use the terms person with a disability; people with disabilities; has a disability; or have disabilities instead.

If someone is using a wheelchair to move around, describe her as a “wheelchair user.” What some may classify as a “birth defect” or “affliction” is actually a “congenital disability” or “birth anomaly.”

There’s no need to describe someone as “a victim of [the physical condition]” when you can just say “has a [the physical condition]”. It could also be “has had [the physical condition]”; “experienced [the physical condition]”; or “has a disability as a result of [the physical condition].”

A “person with Down Syndrome” is different from a “Down’s person” or “Mongoloid” (the last two terms are simply derogatory). A “person who has epilepsy/people with seizure disorders or epileptic episodes” is also not the same as an “epileptic.”

Those that some in the society claim “the mentally ill,” “crazy,” “psycho,” or “mental case” should just be termed “people who have mental illness” or “person with a mental or emotional disorder.” Those it call “blind-hearing impaired,” “deaf-mute,” or “deaf and dumb” should be identified as “people who are blind,” “visually impaired,” “person who is hard of hearing,” “person who is deaf,” or “the Deaf.” Deafness is a cultural phenomenon and should be capitalized in this particular instance.

“The use of outdated language and words to describe people with disabilities (PWDs) contributes greatly to perpetuating old stereotypes.” ~ The Rhythmic Arts Project

Video taken from the website of the Disability Horizons

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