AUSTRALIA HELPS TO IMPROVE LIVES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to help improve the lives of people with disability on International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, has released a report highlighting Australia’s achievements in implementing its aid strategy on disability entitled Development for All: Towards a disability-inclusive Australian aid program.
The report shows that Australia’s disability strategy for its overseas aid program is working. Two years of strategy implementation has improved disabled people’s access to education and scholarship programs, public infrastructure, and has strengthened disabled people’s organisations.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, said, “Australian aid is addressing the needs of people with disabilities and is helping to improve their lives through our partnerships with a number of organisations in the Philippines.”
Australia’s community assistance programs have increased disabled people’s access to livelihood and income-generating activities, and to social services such as health and special education.
In the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Australia is promoting understanding of disability and inclusive development in interfaith fora. Through its partnership with the People with Disabilities Advocating Rights and Empowerment, Australia is helping to ensure that the needs of disabled people are included in the development plans, existing services and programs of local government units.
Australia has likewise provided funding to the Philippine Deaf Resource Centre to help increase awareness about human rights among the deaf, especially among women and children who are victims of sexual abuse. Paralegals and advocates for the deaf throughout the Philippines are being trained on how to monitor cases involving the deaf for reporting to the Department of Justice and the Committee on UN Convention for Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Australia also supports the UN Joint Program on Maternal and Newborn Health, implemented by UNICEF, UN Population Fund, and the World Health Organization in partnership with the Department of Health. The program helps to prevent disabilities in newborns and mothers by promoting healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth.
“Through our aid program, we will deepen our support to Filipinos living with disability. We are exploring options for supporting inclusive education, disability research, and capacity building of people with disabilities and disabled peoples’ organisations through scholarships,” Ambassador Smith said.
“Our support for people with disabilities stems from our commitment to help the Philippines to make progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs cannot be achieved unless development efforts reach and benefit all Filipinos, including those with disability.”