UNICEF yesterday awarded $400,000 to six NGOs to work with disabled people around the country through a series of community based programs.
The money is part of the Cambodia Disability Inclusive Development Fund (CDIDF), an NGO grant scheme supported by UNICEF and funded by the Australian Government as part of its Development for All 2015-2020 Strategy.
CDICF is part of the Disability Rights Initiative Cambodia, a five-year program funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Yeang Bun Eang, executive director of Capacity Building for Disability Cooperation (CABDICO), one of the six NGOs to receive a grant, told Khmer Times that CABDICO received a grant contract to implement a program in Siem Reap province for 24 months, starting this month.
Children with disabilities in 60 villages of 24 communes in Siem Reap province will benefit from the program through CABDICO, Mr. Bun Eang said.
Through its projects, about 500 children with disabilities have been helped by CABDICO since it was established in 2006, Mr. Bun Eang said. The understanding of disabled people has improved, Mr. Bun Eang said, adding discrimination has been reduced.
Parents who have children with disabilities have started sending their children to school, Mr. Bun Eang said. “Before, they kept them at home … just waiting for their parents to feed them.”
Around 120,000 people will benefit directly and indirectly from services provided through the grants.
“This is an important element of our broader support to the disability sector in Cambodia,” Australian ambassador to Cambodia Alison Burrows said in a statement.
UNICEF says about 500,000 people with disabilities live in Cambodia.
Meas Bunly, a UNICEF communication officer, told Khmer Times that this is the second grant of its kind provided to NGOs working to help people with disabilities.
This year, 32 organizations applied for grants but only six were selected, Mr. Bunly said.In 2014, 52 NGOs applied and nine of those were selected for grants that totaled $620,000. This helped 3,800 people with disabilities, more than half of whom are children.
Weh Yeoh, managing director of OIC: The Cambodia Project, said the funding is vital for their operation. The project, under the umbrella of CABDICO, works with children who have speech and swallowing disorders and hopes to train the country’s first crop of speech therapists.
The funding will help the group train community workers to identify children in need of speech therapy. The grant recipients are Caritas Cambodia, Handicap International, Komar Pikar Foundation, Krousar Thmey, Capacity Building for Disability Cooperation, and the Phnom Penh Center for Independent Living. Additional Reporting by Jonathan Greig