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Em Chan Makara Meets with Maybank to Discuss Pilot Program for Cambodia’s Disabled Community

PHNOM PENH: Secretary of State for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the Disability Action Council, Em Chan Makara, met with Chief Operating Officer of Maybank Cambodia, Qazreen Chan Abdullah on October 25 to discuss a pilot program launching next month which aims to help disadvantaged communities, with a special focus on persons with disabilities.

The Secretary of State spoke about his recent visit to Indonesia to attend the ASEAN Summit on "Disability-Inclusive Development and Partnership Beyond 2025" and the recent ASEAN-US Dialogue. He said that the meetings focused on the issues of PWDs affected by the Covid-19 crisis. He also mentioned the upcoming celebration of the 25th Cambodian Day of Persons with Disabilities in Koh Pich under the presidency of Prime Minister Hun Manet, who is an Honorary Chairman of the Disability Action Council. The Sec. of State added that the government has now spent $1.2 billion to help vulnerable victims of the Covid-19 crisis and post-Covid inflation, including pregnant women and children under the age of two.

Qazreen Chan Abdullah presented Maybank’s RISE Programme (Reach Independence and Sustainable Entrepreneurship), which is designed to provide real and tangible support for disadvantaged communities, with a special focus on persons with disabilities (PWDs). The program empowers PWDs and marginalized communities to achieve financial independence and sustainability through education, training and a self-discovery process that enables participants to identify their skills, talents, and passions and prepare them for their future business endeavors so that they can become role models and leaders within their own communities.

The RISE Programme has raised the incomes of tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals and PWDs in Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines with great success. “We want to be able to provide very real, very tangible support for disadvantaged communities, especially for PWDs,” said Qazreen Chan Abdullah, The pilot program will be launched in Cambodia next month in Meanchey and Russey Keo Districts, two of Phnom Penh’s most impoverished settlements.

Maybank is aiming to reach 160 participants with the launch of the RISE Pilot Phase in Cambodia, 70% of whom will be PWD and 30% being marginalized individuals.

Sec. of State Em Chan Makara told Maybank that under the leadership of Social Affairs Minister Chea Somethy, who is also Chairman of the Disability Action Council, Cambodia has made progress in the field of disability. He thanked Malaysia's Maybank for its interest in partnering with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, saying, "Maybank's contribution to the relief of victims, especially those with disabilities, will drive the sector's growth.”

He said that the pilot program is a remarkable start to helping Cambodia’s disabled community and pointed out that there are more than 800,000 people with disabilities in Cambodia out of a total population of more than 15 million.

He suggested that the project give priority to persons with physical disabilities, deafness and street buskers, to help them find a better way to market their skills.

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