becoming agents of change

Empowerment is essential for removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from accessing basic services.  The change starts with them! 

In order to encourage people with disabilities to become more effective change agents in their own communities, CDMD has set up various self-help groups, which are concentrated in areas where a significant number of persons with disability live. In self-help groups, people with disabilities can come together amongst peers and provide mutual support. 


Self-help groups 

empowermentAll members are trained in communication, leadership, decision making, saving money, financial recording and reporting. As soon as a self-help group is able to generate income through savings, CDMD will provide a ‘seed-grant’. This can be used to provide new loans to the members in the group. In each group three leaders selected leaders receive additional training as chief, secretary and cashier. 

Self-help groups are also linked to Community Development Committees, Disabled People Organisations, local authorities and service providers such as health centres, pagodas and schools. In this way they can approach themselves to solve their issues related to health, family and income. Field staff assist the group in management until they are independent.

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the right to employment, work and income

People with disabilities have the same right to employment and income as everyone else. However, due to limited access to education, training and work, people with disabilities in Cambodia face impoverishment in every sense of the word. As work is a way out of poverty, encouraging and facilitating income generation for adults with disabilities plays an important role in CDMD’s work. 

In consultation with CDMD’s fieldworkers, clients seek employment as soon as they are functionally independent. CDMD coordinates the provision of vocational training in areas of each client’s interest, such as mechanic, agriculture techniques and professional skills, including management of a grocery shop. 


Low-interest loans


When clients gain experience they are encouraged to start generating income through low-interest loans from the CDMD. On case-to-case basis, either a full or partial loan will be given.

All clients are visited regularly—at least once a month—by CDMD field staff until the loan is repaid or the client is independent. During the visits field staff check the farming, animal husbandry or other business and help them as necessary.

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the right to live as equal members of the community

The main goal of CBR is for people with disabilities to live as equal members of the community, to enjoy health and well being, to participate fully in educational, social, cultural, religious, economic and political activities.’ - Joint Position Paper, 2004.

empowermentIn addition to functional, economic and educational rehabilitation, CDMD’s CBR includes social rehabilitation to encourage client participation in family and community activities. CDMD encourages community members to employ people with disabilities with equal opportunities and at equal salaries. For children, community volunteers organise play activities for children with and without disabilities to improve social skills and reduce discrimination in the community. 

Our CBR program also addresses the social barriers of disability, such as exclusion, by involving family and neighbours in making individual rehabilitation plans and client training. Many communities also hold yearly meetings where key members, such as local authorities, commune council members, religious leaders, teachers and others are invited to discuss and raise awareness of issues related to disability.

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