Known as ‘Silk Island’ among foreigners, Koh Dach is, in fact, a pair of islands in the Mekong River about 5km northeast of the Japanese Friendship Bridge. The name ‘Silk Island’ derives from the many silk weavers who live on the islands.
Like most rural areas of Cambodia, statistics and information regarding the prevalence of disability are non-existent. People with disabilities are largely ignored by local government and ostracised by their communities.
The EmbraceAbility team has spent a significant amount of time on Koh Dach, and it is clear to us that this is a place where our services are most needed. With the help of our advocacy department, we are working to collect data so that we have a deep and thorough understanding of the issues facing people with disabilities in their communities. In doing so, we can tailor our projects to their specific needs, ensuring maximum engagement and efficiency. Bringing the issue of disability rights to light by engaging the local community, together with the education and rehabilitation of disabled children is the first step in building an accepting and inclusive community.
Our daycare centre provides therapy services tailored to the needs of each individual child with disabilities, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
EmbraceAbility strives to be a sustainable organisation. We will employ and train local therapists. Our skills development programme will allow every aspiring therapist to have the opportunity to train with qualified overseas therapists in a number of different skills and disciplines.
We believe every child should have access to education. EmbraceAbility will teach the state curriculum, arts and vocational subjects to children who are unable to attend state education due to a disability.
Every month, EmbraceAbility will run community support groups for families affected by issues of disability. During these sessions, staff will be on-hand to talk through any concerns, to offer support for families, and to build up a network of families who can support each other. EmbraceAbility will also run workshops on disability prevention and basic healthcare. These workshops seek to stop needless physical impairments caused by malnutrition, road accidents and unsafe environments.
Our legal team will work with other Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) to encourage the government to uphold their domestic and international obligations concerning disability. Crucially, the advocacy team will research and publish work related to disability and development in Cambodia. A clear understanding of the extent and severity of issues surrounding disability is essential to any disability rights initiative.