Disabilities in Cambodia

The Situation of People with Disabilities in Cambodia

Help disabled people to help themselfThis section gives a brief overview of the situation of people with disabilities in Cambodia. Whilst 10 years ago the primary of disability in Cambodia was mine/ UXO related incidents, recent research indicated that the causes of disability are changing for example these is today a much higher prevalence of mobility incidents related disability. National Statistic vary in their assessment of the prevalence of disability in Cambodia-the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) reported that in 2003 to be the disabled reported 1.5% of Cambodia’s total population-while the 2004 CSES (census) estimated the disability rate in Cambodia to be 4.7%. Relating this percent age to the estimated 2006 population of 14 million indicates that approximate 6664,000 of Cambodians have a disability. 

Couses of Disability

The Asia Developement Bank 2005 survey indicated that pricipal reported cause of disability in Cambodia in 2004 were desease (Or illness) and old age accounting for 52% accidents and injuries (including war and violence related)


People with disabilities (PWD) are among the most vulnerable groups in Cambodian society. They suffer even more than the general population from limited access to basic social services, education, skills and vocational training, job placement, and income generation opportunities. As a result, many PWD are extremely poor. Income generation for PWD thus not only contributes to establish a sense of dignity and self-confidence among PWD, but it is also directly linked to poverty reduction and development. There is much potential for expansion of activity in this field.


PWD also face discrimination by other Cambodians which prevents them from functioning as full members of society. This is due to a combination of a decline of community spirit as a result of conflict, the Buddhist belief in Karma which influences the view that disability is the result of bad actions in previous lives, and a general lack of public awareness and understanding of disability issues.

Disability Awareness

Public awareness and mass education campaigns on the inclusion of PWD in the country’s mainstream development programmes, by mobilising the private sector and the community for eradication of discrimination, are almost non-existent. Such campaigns are needed to promote awareness of the rights of PWD; the abilities that PWD possess; and to overcome inaccurate stereotypes that PWD cannot be productive members of society.


Cambodia’s built environment contains many obstacles for PWD as well. The majority of public buildings, hospitals and schools have been built with complete lack of consideration for the needs of disabled people, and they find it difficult to navigate public thoroughfares due to obstructions, uneven and unpaved surfaces, steps, and suchlike.

At present the responsibility for building and construction permits is not clearly regulated. Also, the legislation on disability is still in draft form. Hence it is difficult at this stage to place responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of accessibility features on a specific government body.


The Khmer Rouge regime (1975 – 1979) oversaw the almost complete destruction of the education system, which has been trying to recover ever since. After a lengthy period of emergency relief and emergency deployment of teachers, there has been a growing emphasis since the early 1990s on government-led policy reform. However, the education system still has very limited capacity and resources, particularly in rural areas, where most disabled people are located. For PWD, formal and non-formal education are among the services essential for development of children’s capacity and a vital means for empowerment and self-help. To date, education programmes for PWD have been implemented solely by NGOs, and have focussed on children with disabilities. A limited number of special schools and classes exist, as do a few community-based initiatives. Collectively these services provide for only a fraction of children with disabilities in Cambodia; are concentrated mainly in urban areas; and cater almost exclusively for children with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. Educational opportunities for adults with disabilities is still minimal. A small number of children with disabilities are included into the mainstream education system; however, the present school environment does not facilitate integration. The Disability Action Council, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, is coordinating a national policy and piloting inclusive education programmes for children with disabilities.

Training and Employment

Skills training, income generation and job placement are important means of rehabilitating PWD. In Cambodia, PWD typically come from the poor and poorest segments of society. It is a high priority for these people to gain an income for themselves and their families. Existing training and employment programmes can be categorised as follows:

  • Provision of vocational training (which can include literacy, numeracy and small business management.
  • Referral services to training providers and employers.
  • Production of crafts for the local market and export through production workshops or independent producer groups.

Follow-up after graduates have left centres has received increasing emphasis in most programmes. This takes the shape of regular visits to the graduates’ work place, the provision of start-up equipment, and – in some cases – the provision of loans or grants. PWD face some specific constraints when trying to develop an income:

  • Self-employment usually requires access to credit facilities. Poor PWD find it particularly difficult to access credit.
  • PWD often face discrimination when job-seeking. Non-disabled people have very low belief in their abilities.

Source from: DAC (http://www.dac.org.kh/disabilities_in_Cambodia/index.htm)
By: Love_CAM
E-mail: hengphan@yahoo.com
Blog : https://pwds.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: