For Immediate Release
HANOI, April 17, 2013 -- Today, U.S. Ambassador David Shear officially introduced a new U.S.-supported program that will provide a comprehensive range of services that will benefit approximately 10,000 Vietnamese with disabilities.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) integrated support to persons with disabilities program will provide vocational training and support to give children with disabilities equal access to education as well as other services. This $9 million program will also help raise the effectiveness and voice of disabled people's organizations through a small grants program and assist people with corrective surgeries, physical therapy, assistive devices, speech therapy, and occupational therapy.
"Today, on the eve of the Vietnamese with Disabilities Day, I am delighted to publicly introduce USAID's new program," said Ambassador Shear at a ceremony in Hanoi. "Our support reaches the workplace, homes and schools to promote greater social inclusion for people with disabilities."
An important aspect of the program is to build a case management system that will enable people with disabilities to access improved specialized services. Under the new program, USAID and its implementing partners, DAI and Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped, will work with the People's Committee, Disability Steering Committee, and constituent government departments in Binh Dinh, Danang, Dong Nai and other regions.
During today's ceremony, Ambassador Shear also awarded certificates to several national and international members of the 160-strong Blue Ribbon Employer Council (BREC), also supported by USAID, in recognition of their proactive policy for hiring people with disabilities.
"Hiring persons with disabilities is not an act of charity," Ambassador Shear noted. "It shows strong corporate social responsibility and strengthens Vietnam's economy by engaging these capable workers in key industries."
U.S. Government assistance in this area, amounting to over $54 million since 1989, began and continues to receive strong support in the U.S. Congress from Senator Patrick Leahy and others. Through these programs persons with disabilities throughout Vietnam received rehabilitative services, prosthetics and orthopedic support devices, and improved care through training of doctors and other health workers. U.S. Government assistance also supported policy development leading to the Vietnam Disability Law and regulations to help people with disabilities access buildings, transportation and media through sign language and other measures.
Last updated: December 18, 2014