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Association Extends Support to Children with Disabilities

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The Aid for Children with Disabilities Association (ACDA) is still in need of support from businesses or individuals in Laos, as part of its ongoing support for disabled children.

Association staff and teachers regularly hold various school activities and distribute information about disabled children’s rights to promote education for all.

The ACDA has focused on providing basic education and vocational training for children with disabilities from poor families and has helped over 1, 000 children in recent years, officials said.

The ACDA also provides nutritional assistance and helps to restore children’s physical and mental health.

President of Aid for Children with Disabilities Association, Mr Somphet Akhavong told Vientiane Times last week before a cheque handover ceremony that every year, the ACDA conducts training courses for officials in target districts, with trainees learning about children’s rights along with gender and disability equality.

He said although, the Association has received support in the form of financial assistance and education  equipment from donors including the US Embassy to Laos, the Kenan Institute Asia, Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC) and others organisations it is still in need of additional assistance.

The ACDA is still in need of support from businesses or individuals including NGOs operating in Vientiane because the association still lacks the necessary budget to extend its support to all children with disabilities, Mr Somphet said.

The ACDA and its partners are helping disabled children to reach their educational and developmental potential by providing training and creating opportunities for them, allowing them to study alongside other children at school, he added.

He explained that the ACDA donates 250,000 kip annually to provide each of the students with disabilities with the following: school materials (stationary, notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers and colouring pencils); learning materials (books); two sets of uniforms; shoes and a book bag.

Meanwhile 16 scholarships for disabled children are provided by the ACDA. These 16 scholarships are valued at 1,500,000 kip annually, with the support of the Phonesak Group of companies. According to the association, in the past, the ACDA has visited several schools in the provinces and Vientiane to distribute information about disabled children’s rights.

The Lao self-help organisation has been advocating for the rights of children with disabilities and providing services to members based on their needs.

The ACDA aims to ensure that children with disabilities will receive a quality education with a view to enable their education continuum throughout all levels of their education from primary school to secondary school and in the future to vocational school.

The ACDA has branches in the capital as well as in Oudomxay, Xieng Khuang, Savannakhet, Champassak and Vientiane provinces.

The national census conducted in 2005 identified 80,000 people with a disability in Laos. The World Health Organisation estimates that 10 percent of the population is disabled.

Many children with a disability in Laos live in poverty and have limited opportunities in accessing education and those that are in inclusive schools have a high risk of dropping out.

 

Source: Vientiane Times