Civil society organizations and government officials on Tuesday expressed concern about the limited employment opportunities for disabled people in the kingdom and other challenges they regularly face.
They complained that most job seekers with disabilities still had limited skills and training. This contributed to the fact that they could not find decent jobs and that they were regularly discriminated against by employers.
The concerns were raised during a meeting to raise awareness of the rights of disabled people and to share information on job prospects and training opportunities for them.
More than 200 representatives from various disability groups, international donors and government officials attended the meeting, which was held in the capital on Tuesday.
Ngin Saorath, executive director of the Cambodian Disability Organization (CDPO), said unemployment is a concern for society and the families of many disabled people.
He said disabled people tend to have fewer years of schooling than others, which leads to the acquisition of limited skills and educational qualifications. This has contributed to the high unemployment rates among the disabled.
According to Saorath, most employers do not offer employment opportunities for the disabled. “Some companies don’t know how to work with them, while others don’t know about the laws and regulations that promote the rights of people with disabilities. These are the most important challenges in our society.
“CDPO is currently working with our partners to create a database to solve the challenges. We collect information on job seekers with disabilities for the private companies they want to hire, ”he said.
According to Saorath, CDPO currently has more than 20,000 members across the country. Each branch consists of nearly 2,000 members who are able to help disabled people at the grassroots level “by offering them qualification training”.
Pich Saroeun, a 54-year-old disabled person and representative of the organization’s branch in Battambang province, who was also present, said he could perform tasks like other people and contradict the belief that a disabled person cannot do much things.
He said such beliefs are a form of discrimination, discouragement and undermine the trust of disabled people.
“Employers should encourage disabled people because we all want to lead a decent life, just like others,” he said.
Ung Sambath, deputy director of the Disability Action Council of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, said, citing a report from the Ministry of Planning, 542,000 disabled people were registered in Cambodia in 2014. In 2017 there were almost a million.
The government, he said, is still running the most recent census of disabled people, so the result has not been made public.
Sambath said of the 542,000, only 38 percent of 18-year-olds or older have decent jobs.
“I spoke to employers and asked them to recognize their skills, not just their disabilities. If they don’t have jobs, they have no money to live on. “
“This is the main source of our concern. On the other hand, we should also encourage disabled people to acquire new skills, ”he said.