Yangon celebrates International Day for Persons with Disabilities at Kandawgyi Park

05 December 2018                                     

The public celebration for the International Day for People with Disabilities took place at Kandawgyi Nature Park in Yangon on Monday.                                                                                                                                                

Held on December 3rd, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The 2018 theme focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda pledges to “leave no one behind”.

U Tha Uke, Managing Director of the Eden Centre for Disabled Children (ECDC) told MIRadio, “We need to improve access to education as well as buildings and public facilities like buses. We don’t have adequate system and facilities for the person with disabilities yet. As long as there is this standard where students need to score at least 40 marks in the exam, this would still be difficult for students with disabilities. The purpose of exam is to better understand what areas students need to improve. In most mainstream schools, we could say there is no teacher who could train the students with disabilities. In foreign countries, the teacher’s training or education college encompasses the subject of how to train the persons with disabilities in the curriculum. So they now how to handle them. But here in Myanmar, we have very few teachers from mainstream schools who could properly train the students with disabilities.”

Recently, the government has confirmed its initiative to enforce setting a job quota for persons with disabilities.

Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said that employers will need to ensure that two percent of the entire workforce is taken up by persons with disabilities.

Concerning that, U Tha Uke commented, “The foreign companies have been practicing this for long where if they employ the persons with disabilities for 2 per cent of the whole employment, the companies can enjoy tax relaxation. But when those companies enter Myanmar, they drop the practice altogether. This is because of the superstition in Myanmar which associates the disabled persons with bad luck to the business. A few of them practice that again upon our request. But now, although it’s good to enforce the law to hire them, the international research teams have done research to find out if the companies are willing to do so or is it just another way to avoid paying tax. So, it becomes controversial amongst the disabled community and some people become to feel like this is an insult to the ego of the persons with disabilities and they began to question the logic of this law.”

U Saw Phoe Khwar, the singer and social activist who came to the event shared, “People around these kids and people play very important role. They shape who they are. If they are good, these kids will be good. If they are bad, these kids have no choice but to suffer from it. So I would like to urge everyone to elevate our perception and effort to come together and bring them along. This is the message I want people to take away when they come to this kind of event, rather than just coming to enjoy the entertainment and fun activities.

The 2014 census states that 4.6 percent of the population of more than 50 million had a disability of various forms while UN census claims 15% of the population.

Arker Kyaw