The UK-based Asian People’s Disability Alliance (APDA), a non-governmental group, expressed its enthusiasm to support and work with similar entities that need help in Myanmar.
APDA, which has a consultative status with the Social Economic Council of the United Nations, not only wants to provide financial assistance but also share skills to increase the productivity of disabled people in the country.
The group has been searching for potential partner organisations and disabled individuals in the country since September 2017 at the same time as helping them.
Michael Jeewa, co-founder and joint CEO of APDA, said many families in Myanmar hide from public view family members who have disabilities.
Michael hopes to encourage families to allow their members with disabilities to come out in the open and make them productive members of the society.
“Caring for the disabled for his/her whole life is not the correct answer for them,” he told The Myanmar Times. “I am of Myanmar origin; I want to support my countrymen with my experience and skills. That’s why I decided to choose Myanmar.
Michael also set up a Myanmar community organisation to address the mental and physical well-being of the Myanmar community in the UK.
He is also involved in overseas development, sharing his experience and knowledge with disabled people in South and Southeast Asia since 1999.
According to the 2014 Myanmar census, 4.6 percent of the country’s population, or roughly 2,368,300 people, live with a disability.
In Myanmar, disability is categorised into four classifications: physical disability, vision impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability.
Currently, APDA provides wheel-chairs, hearing aids and crutches to people who suffer stokes, deafness and crippling diseases. The group also provides skill training and equality training aimed at empowering the disabled.
APDA is also providing technology to help the disabled run their own local organisation named the Myanmar Peoples’ Disabilities Association (MPDA).
Daw Pan Ei Phyu, secretary of the association, said, “We raise funds ourselves. APDA teaches techniques to seek funding and to access technology to help the disabled.”
“We are still preparing to register the MPDA. Before we get registered, we stand as private organisation helping disabled and disability organizations,” she said. “We expect to open a day-care center and outreach education for the disabled.”
“The APDA is a user-led registered charity of Asian disabled people. Launched and active since 1988, APDA is a non-political, non-religious and nonprofit entity.
Michael said he hopes the government of Myanmar will ease its policy to allow international organisations like APDA to directly help disabled people.
Myanmar TImes 2018