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Em Chan Makara Praises Success of Sustainable Service Initiative for the Disabled

PHNOM PENH: Secretary of State for the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation and Secretary General of the Disability Action Council, Em Chan Makara, met with the Board of Directors of the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation Program for Equitable and Sustainable Services (ACCESS) on August 31. There, he lauded the program’s success in working with the Royal Government to implement strategies for improving the lives of persons with disabilities and ending violence against women.

The Disability Action Council leader praised the many achievements made jointly over the five years since the ACCESS initiative was launched to improve the sustainability of quality, inclusive services for persons with disabilities and for women affected by gender-based violence (GBV).

Em Chan Makara thanked the Australian Embassy for continuing its support for the disability sector by committing to ACCESS II over the next five years. As a disability advocate, he proposed some priorities for the next initiative including collecting data, monitoring and evaluating the third phase of the Neurologic Disabilities Support Project (NDSP), and increasing awareness of disabilities following the enactment of the new law among policy makers, service providers and the public.

He also called for the continued development of the capacity for government officials to support the in-depth implementation of disability advocacy and for continued work related to physical and communication access, particularly in increasing the number of Cambodian Sign Language interpreters. He also noted the need for access to a wide range of rehabilitation services for those with physical and mental disabilities, such as autism and psychosocial issues.

Em Chan Makara also addressed the need to continue improving access to economic and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities by providing support for skills training in market needs. He specifically mentioned highly educated disabled youth, who deserve support breaking into the IT industry and leadership management.

"[We need to] give more attention to regional administrations, capacity building of service providers as part of quality improvement, especially rehabilitation services. [We need to] support the meaningful participation of disability advocates and include the diverse range of persons with disabilities through the continuation of evidence-based development," he said.

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