In the spirit of Rectangular Strategy of the Royal Government of Cambodia enhanced cooperation with national and international organizations. The Royal Government increased its social sector interventions to reduce discrimination to the PWD, and expended vocational rehabilitation programs for PWD for improving their living conditions, and to lead dignified lives free of discrimination.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has provided mandate to Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MOSVY) with a mission to manage and oversee vocational rehabilitation programs and services for people with disabilities. And MOSVY has set up Disability Action Council (DAC) to be a permanent institution which activities are based on the welfare of PWD and is composed of representatives of relevant ministries and NGOs. DAC acts as a consultant on disability issues by coordinating with NGOs and Ministries, and aims to alter tactics for rehabilitation, providing equal opportunities and measures to eliminate discrimination and prevent disability. DAC is proceeding with its activities through technical and professional commissions.
According to the Action Guideline of UNESCAP called BIWAKO Millennium Framework (BMF, 2003 to 2012) the MOSVY has been put out the Seven Priority Works on Rehabilitation Areas for PWD as below:
- Self-help Organization,
- Strategy development on disabilities depending on basic right,
- Disabilities data,
- Strengthening community development strategy and right of people with disabilities,
- Vocational Training and Employment,
- Physical Rehabilitation
- Access to Accessibility, Information and Communications
b) Vocational Training Facilities for the people with disabilities
There are currently 9 vocational training centers was created by the cooperation between MOSVY and NGOs, which are 3 centers based in or near Phnom Penh and 6 centers in provinces (Kandal, Kompot, Pursat, Battambang, Kompong Thom and Banteameanchey). Besides, the MOSVY has cooperated with NGOs to train people with disabilities in the community at many other places. All of them operate under Memorandums of Understanding with the MOSVY.
c) Vocational Training at public vocational training centers
The Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in Cambodia is under Department of Technical, Vocational Education and Training of Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MOEYS). This department has the overall lead for vocational and skills training at the policy level. This vocational and skill training system is for All, which included people with disabilities. Through this system PWD are rarely to access, because majority of Cambodian with disabilities have very little education, and it has no accessibility, no provision for people with disability such as curricula for deaf, blind and mentally retarded, etc.
Presently, all segregated vocational training programs for PWD in Cambodia has been running in collaboration between the MOSVY and many NGOs. The ministry provides some resources, especially building, lands, staff to NGOs for operating programs, and ministry participates in monitoring, controlling and evaluating projects/programs as well.
All vocational training programs offer a range of pre-training, actual training and post-training services including assessment, preparatory courses, business start-up grants or loans, follow-up visits and business development counseling. Their overall goal is to provide people with disabilities with marketable skills, which they can use to earn an income upon their graduation or the means with which to improve their livelihood.
The majority of these vocational training programs run for six to nine months. Some programs add on an additional three months for literacy and numeracy training for those trainees who need to upgrade these skills prior to the skills training. Others integrate literacy and numeracy training into the overall programs. In these instances the full program cycle is nine months to one year. During the course period, most of the programs provide both room and board, and in some cases trainee supplies for the trainees as well.
The skill choices most commonly offered are TV and radio repair, motorcycle repair, sewing, carpentry, handicrafts, weaving, hairdressing, poultry raising, welding, and computer operating etc.
The trainees are provided a skill based on their personal disability attitude, preferably, and its marketability in their home areas.
All programs combined serve a total of approximately 500 people per year. They serve a disabled people which is primarily rural, with low education levels and which has little work experience. So far, the people with disabilities amount 11,538 have been trained in various skills. And by evaluation in general of the post-training course, employment statistics has presented that the percentage of graduates who had any kind of employment following their training ranged with an average of 60%.
d) Measures taken for employment in the private sector
Presently, Cambodia no employment quota system in public as well as private sectors for PWD. In this case MOSVY that is an in charge Body for PWD help them to get jobs by using three methods:
- Requesting the government institutions to accept people with disabilities to work at their places;
- Asking the factories, private companies, business enterprises and NGOs to provide some suitable job placement to PWD for working in their units;
- Facilitating the persons with disabilities to set up small business in the community where they are living.
e) Measures taken by NGOs, Charity organizations, religious associations
There are many NGOs concerning to the field of vocational training and job placement promotion for PWD in cooperation with government ministries. The Vocational Training, Job Placement, and Income Generation Committee was set up as part of the DAC. This committee comprised of NGOs and Ministry personnel. The main responsibility of the committee as follows:
- To coordinate the implementation of Sector Strategic Plan on Vocational Training and Employment for PWD;
- To organize regular and/or special committee meetings with representatives from relevant government ministries, NGOs and the private sector to resolve issues, address needs and to improve job placement opportunities for graduates;
- To improve and strengthen collaboration, communication and networking between government, national and international bodies on issues related to vocational training, job placement, and income generation sectors.
The National Center of Disabled Person (NCDP) is a semi-autonomous entity tasked by Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation to provide resources to people with disabilities organizations working on disability issues in order to promote the full participation of PWD in social and economic activities of Cambodian society. It also aids in the development of programs, services and policies for PWD. Through the collaboration work of NCDP’s Information Referral Service project and The Business Advisory Council (BAC), 494 job placements in various companies were attained successfully so far.
The Business Advisory Council (BAC) is a group of representatives of employers and other business sector leaders who are interested in promoting greater employment opportunities for Landmine survivors and others with disabilities in Cambodia. The BAC works with a number of non-profit organizations that serve or advocate for the people with disabilities. BAC members advise these organizations with regard to job openings, labour market needs, training opportunities in industry, work experience opportunity and other matters aimed at increasing the employability of PWD who are seeking job opportunities. The BAC provides advice on job training and employment readiness training to service providers. In turn, these services and advocacy organizations help to develop candidates for jobs in industry who are qualified for openings that exist.
f) Issues to be addressed
(1) Issues concerning policy, strategy, system, and other measures
In order to carry out the Government Strategy Plan for PWD, and the dispositions mentioned in the Action Guideline of UNESCAP (2003-2012) on the Seven Priority Areas in the Biwako Millennium Framework, the MOSVY has set up objectives for the rehabilitation, vocational training and employment for PWD which includes some points as follows:
1.1. The implementation of the law on the rights of people with disabilities
As described above, at present time, Cambodia has no specific incentive, quota system or legislative instruments promoting the employment for people with disabilities. So it is very difficult to force/urge private sectors to accept the PWD to work in their units. In order to ensure that the PWD will have the right to full equal participation in various activities, the MOSVY is paying attention to reviewing the draft legislation on “The Right of PWD”, and we hope that it will be enacted in this new mandate of National Assembly (2004-2008). This draft law aims to promote integration of PWD into mainstream development programs/activities, which includes health, education, accessibility, vocational training, employment, etc. to ensure the protection and promotion of the rights of all PWD, and prohibition of abuse and neglect of these PWD and discrimination against them.
1.2. Survey data about people with disabilities
At present, the MOSVY doesn’t have enough data information of PWD for use for the development of various work plans. The purpose to obtain the data about needs of the disabled people is very necessary in order to let every PWD to receive services at each place.
In order to accomplish the above goal, the MOSVY will instruct all provincial offices of SVY to conduct a survey to get data about the obvious needs of PWD:
- Collect statistic of all types of the disabled people;
- Obtain the personal information of the disabled people;
- Understand about the living condition of the disabled people;
- Understand the educational needs of the disabled people;
- Know the employment and income generation of the disabled people;
- Know the physical and medical rehabilitation situations and various needs of the disabled people.
1.3. Creating job opportunities for people with disabilities
The MOSVY will do whatever it can to help the people with disabilities to get jobs so that they can earn some income to:
- Support their living in the family and join in building the country;
- Create a proper environment so that they can live independently;
- Improve their dignity so that they can become the good members for the society.
In order to accomplish that goal, the MOSVY has had the measures as follows:
- Expanding the vocational training center to train the PWD appropriate skill;
- Encouraging the PWD to establish their own handicraft shops and agricultural base;
- Encouraging the government institutions to accept the PWD to work;
- Encouraging private companies, enterprises and factories to hire PWD to work there according to their abilities.
1.4. Managing and creating sustainability for vocational rehabilitation centers
The Ministry still needs these supports at present time and in the future. At the same time, the Ministry is thinking about how to take over the management tasks from NGOs when they leave or end their programs in Cambodia.
In order to insure a proper management and sustainability for the vocational rehabilitation centers, the MOSVY has prepared the following strategies:
- Making the unofficial staffs to become the contracted ones of the ministry.
- Participating step by step in providing fund for services at the Centers.
- Knowing the gross expenses of each Center so that the Ministry can have enough information for the development of funding proposals to support them.
g) Social recognition
Often attitudes in Cambodia to the people with disabilities are negative. The disabled tend to have fewer opportunities and to receive poorer education than the non-disabled. Many in Cambodia feel that disability is a sign of bad past life, and the disabled person thus not deserving of any special consideration.
Therefore, the MOSVY has a goal to expand works on mental rehabilitation for the PWD through arts and sports with an attempt to help them build hope for themselves and show to the community the abilities of the PWD rather than just look at their disabilities. They will also be helped to promote and expand friendship, and to raise public awareness within the community in order to eliminate discrimination toward disabled people.
In order to reach this goal, the MOSVY has cooperated with some NGOs to celebrate many events:
- Organize the Cambodian Disabled People Day every year;
- Organize the International Day for Disabled People every year;
- Organize PWD into artistic groups to play music and perform concerts in many important National Events;
- Organize the Disabled People Sport Day every year.
h) Necessary components for vocational training and social
1. Facilities and equipment
- The infrastructure is still poor, with erratic electricity supply, especially at the province centers, equipment, instruments and materials for teaching are not sufficient, and also with no modern.
- In general, most of building no accessibility, and have not emotional environment.
- The training manual as well as curriculum of each program has not yet standard level.
- The current capacity of most instructors is still limited of professional skills, they continue to have very significant training needs in terms of the skills and knowledge that is necessary to do their job. Principals have not create opportunities for networking amongst instructors or between centers in order to share the knowledge and skills.
- Government staff join working with NGO counterparts, and receive some supplementary income from those NGOs.
- One of major constraints is low government salary, which explains the lack of motivation of staff. The average salary for ministry staff is approximately US$ 15 to 20 a month, which could not afford their living, while the NGOs staff got salary from US$ 80 to 200 or over a month.
- The lack of financial resources within government ministries and respective departments to implement programs, which promotes ministry dependency on NGOs to provide services to disabled people.
- The lack of financial independence of the government does not offer the good prospects for the ministry to take over the running of many services near future.
- For public vocational training institutions, the main source funding come from Government and in some cases, with some donors. All these institutions have problems of deficient financing.
- Most of the funds allocated are only for salaries. Lacking of budget for operation, maintenance, training materials, book,…it impacts the quality of training.
- In real the business and employment practices, people with disabilities may have met with some specific constraints and obstacles in their aim to gain an income for their living. Those factors can be foreseen as following:
- Self-employment and starting businesses requires usually access to credit facilities. The poor disabled find it particular difficult to access credit.
- People with disabilities often facing with discrimination from society when it comes to employment and running businesses. The belief in their abilities is very low among the general population.
- The labour market is very limited. Employees are often hired because they are trusted by the owner and not are particular qualified.
- Employees are paid very low salaries, often not meeting the minimum expectations and needs of the job seekers.
- Most of disabled people live in rural areas, where economic activities are limited.
- Micro-enterprise promotion requires people willing and able to be entrepreneurs. This can not be assumed for every body.
- For self-employment, there is very difficult to find the market for the goods that they produced in their area.
- The vocational training system is still weak relation with the labour market.
- The labour market information system is not available, so that the market demands and requirements are not aware enough.
- Vocational training center do not built partnerships with private sector. As a result, graduates have difficulties looking for employment.
- The development of national economy is till slow, the demand for skill manpower is small.