Don’t look at disabilities, look at abilities

Don't look at disabilities, look at abilities

Source from CDPO

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Children & Women With Disabilities In Cambodia
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Disability And Addiction – The Hidden Risks

Disability And Addiction – The Hidden Risks

People with disabilities have to put up with a lot. They’re denied many opportunities, and must put up with a great deal of societal stigma. However, they’re also vulnerable to one particularly oft overlooked problem – substance abuse. All the negative factors which influence the life of a disabled person often leave them open to addiction in ways which might pass a healthy person by. It’s a problem which seriously needs addressing if we are to improve the lives (and reputations) of the disabled in Cambodia.

Influential Factors

Studies in the United States and elsewhere have identified several societal factors which put someone at increased risk of developing a substance abuse issue. These include emotional abuse, neglect, lack of opportunity, frustration, being bullied, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety issues, and depression. Many disabled people reading this will be beginning to see the problem – many of these issues chime with the life experience of disabled people. Disabled people may well suffer emotional – or even physical – abuse and bullying as a result of their condition. They lack the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions or needs in the way they might like, which may in turn lead to feelings of inadequacy. Anxiety and depression are shockingly common amongst the disabled. However, most disabled people are all too capable of taking addictive substances, and drug dealers know that. It’s not uncommon for a disabled person to try and salve their troubled psyche with drugs or alcohol and, as vulnerable individuals, they’re all too often targeted by unscrupulous dealers. These people know that they’re likely to be good customers too as, due to social isolation, they’re often not able to reach out for peer support and are unable to access inspiration for those trying to get sober.

Addiction In Cambodia

Drug abuse in Cambodia has grown at an exponential rate in recent years. Alcohol is not quite so problematic. Cambodia’s drinking culture does not resemble that of other nations, and Cambodian beverages are drunk in reasonable moderation for the most part. However, there are a significant number of alcoholics, of which many are disabled. Drug addiction is also something of a scourge for the disabled community. Although accurate statistics are hard to come by, if we go by the experience of other nations, it is reasonable to assume that substance abuse rates are proportionally much higher within the disabled community than in other communities. This is, of course, very troubling on a lot of levels.

What Can Be Done?

A big step towards reducing the problem would be raising awareness of the potential for addiction among the disabled community. Disabled people don’t fit our culture’s stereotyped addiction profile – they’re not, typically, the ‘bad lads’ and gangsters we’ve come to associate with substance abuse. This often means that disabled people’s substance abuse problems are missed until it’s too late. Nobody’s looking for it, so nobody sees it. Another major help would be to reduce the vulnerability factors which make the disabled more likely to turn to drink and/or drugs. Improve opportunities, reduce social stigma, enable the disabled and stop them from feeling inadequate. There are plenty of social, cultural, physical and financial things a disabled person can do, the trouble is that many simply lack the opportunity. A happy and fulfilled person is not a person who needs drugs and alcohol to make them feel ‘better’. Finally, for those already under the spell of substances, better diagnostic and recuperative facilities are needed. Given the potential scope of this problem within the disabled community and the specialist care, support, and treatment methods that disabled individuals with addictions may need, it would seem advisable for disability organizations to be trained to deal with these issues. Learning how to do things like spot the signs of addiction, help people to open up about their lifestyle and problems, and obtaining access to the resources and rehabilitation facilities which are needed to bring someone through something as tough as getting clean and sober would help enormously. Above all, the people of the disabled community need a lot more support in order to save them from falling through the cracks, and becoming prey to the addictions which are already haunting so many vulnerable people.

“This is a freelance article by Helen Rupert”

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Annual Network Meeting for Persons with Disabilities in Cambodia


Annual Network Meeting for Persons with Disabilities in Cambodia

Phnom Penh – “The annual network meeting for Persons with Disabilities in Cambodia.

The group photo of persons with disabilities during the annual network meeting of Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) hold in Cambodiana Hotel on 24th -26th Nov 2014 provided a big smile for persons with disabilities rights.

Mr. Ky Sophan, Acting Director of the Cambodian Disabled people’s Organisation (CDPO) stated in closing ceremony of the annual networking meeting that “the participation of persons with disabilities in society is right-based approach to ensure a disability-inclusive society in all development aspects.”

What is DPO? DPO stands for Disabled People’s Organisation. DPO is a group of persons with disabilities established to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Recently, CDPO has 60 members of DPOs which represented in 24 provinces within country. Those DPOs closely work with provincial and local decision makers such as commune council, school, health care centers, etc. to mainstream disability issue into development plan and activity.

The right of person with disability is protected and promoted by the Law on the Protection and Promotion on the Right of Persons with Disabilities which adopted by the National Assembly in 29 May 2009.

“We have law to protect our rights, what we need to do is to awareness to public to aware and ensures that we have equal rights to participate in society”. Mr. Sophan added.

Source from: Mr. Sophan Ky, Secretariat of ASEAN Disability Forum at CDPO

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People with Disabilities Realize Their Dreams with Digital Divide Data in Cambodia


When Treng Kuy Chheng looks back at her past, she wonders what she would be doing, had she not met Digital Divide Data (DDD), a non-profit organization whose goal is to empower Cambodia’s youth through digital training and employment.

Being Disabled in Cambodia

Chheng was born into poverty, and to make things worse she had polio when she was two. She survived but her illness left her with physical impairment and bleak prospects for the future.

Being disabled in Cambodia is often perceived as a tragedy and, among the estimated 700,000 Cambodians who are afflicted with disabilities, it is true that the majority do not fully enjoy their fundamental rights, and they often do not have equal opportunities for education or employment.

Chheng was rather lucky as her parents did not treat her differently from her siblings. In the morning she would sell vegetables at the family’s food stall; and in the afternoon she would go to school. However hard it may have been, it made Chheng believe in herself and her abilities. And the more the neighbors would stigmatize, pity or even discourage her, the more determined she was to succeed in life and not be a burden to her relatives.

This determination gave her the strength to look for employment after she graduated from high school. At the time, the economy was beginning to recover slowly, and landing the first job was very hard for everyone. For a disabled girl like Chheng, it was even more difficult, and, while she was searching for a professional opportunity, she experienced stigma, rejection, and discrimination. Before she started losing hope, she had the chance to meet with Digital Divide Data, which had been co-founded two years earlier by Jeremy Hockenstein.

Impact Sourcing

In 2000, this young American traveled to Cambodia as a tourist. During his stay, he was not only struck by the level of poverty in the country; he was also impressed by the eagerness of the youth to learn and struggle to build up a better life. They would take computer and English lessons but in the end there was no job for them and they kept being trapped in an endless cycle of poverty.

In the meanwhile, the world was going global, and international companies started outsourcing low-skilled IT jobs to India. Hockenstein was a business consultant at McKinsey, and it did not take him long to figure out that he could replicate this model in Cambodia and use it to promote employment and empowerment for the disadvantaged youth.

A Study-Work Program


When she joined Digital Divide Data in 2003, Chheng had hardly seen a computer in her life. She had to learn everything from scratch, but she worked hard and soon she knew how to turn a computer on, enter data and master fast typing. She was also trained in English and soft skills (e.g., team work, self-confidence, management). After six months, she was fully operational and became one of DDD’s data operators.

For four years, she worked six hours a day to transform physical documents into searchable and digitalized archives for publishers, libraries, and companies all around the world. For her work she was paid a fair wage but she was also granted a scholarship to study at Pannasastra University, one of Phnom Penh’s best universities.

A Stepping Stone to a Brighter Future

With 400 employees, Digital Divide Data is today the largest technology employer in Cambodia, and in the past 13 years its impact sourcing model has had a transformative effect on nearly 2,000 underprivileged young adults, 10 percent of them being disabled.

Working at DDD is always a stepping stone to a brighter future. After they complete the program, graduates are either hired by the organization or they move on to other companies, where they earn more than four times Cambodian average salary. With this money, they can support their parents and enable their youngest siblings to get a proper education. In the long run they break the cycle of poverty that has trapped their family for generations.

As for Chheng, she has managed to make all her dreams come true. She wanted to study; she now holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and an executive MBA. She wanted to have a job; she started as an accountant at DDD and for the past year she has served as the finance and administration manager of a large electronic company. She wanted to see the world; in 2013, she went to Canada to participate in the Global Change Leaders program.

At 29, this highly successful woman keeps having new dreams! Today she wants to change the public’s attitude towards persons with disabilities and create real job opportunities for them. She believes they have the ability; they just do it in a different way. Just like her.


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Cambodia PWDs Law Updated – Preah_Reach_Krom

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Cambodia Government Allowed To Choose People With Disability To Work In Ministries

Cambodia Government Allowed To Choose People With Disability To Work In Ministries

Cambodian Gov't Allowed to PWD can work in Gov't Office

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Education for People With Disability in Cambodia

Education: Education is a universal rights and important to a human being, in all communities, from birth throughout life. Children and adults with disabilities are some of the most excluded and marginalized group within education. It is particularly important for pwds as rights in itself but also to enable them to access Image




Source from: (Community Rehabilitation Programme)

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