Sri Lanka: supporting people with disabilities
It has been estimated that as many as eight per cent of Sri Lankans live with a permanent disability. Unfortunately, this figure is rapidly increasing as a result of the country’s civil conflict, with thousands of landmines continuing to kill, disable and maim.
In 2006, ChildFund Australia’s affiliate organisation in Sri Lanka launched a program which aims to provide additional support to people living with disabilities. In particular, ChildFund in Sri Lanka has focused on addressing income poverty by giving people better access to employment and livelihood opportunities.
Vocational training has prepared individuals to re-enter the workforce, while a savings and local credit scheme has enabled many to set up their own business for the first time. ChildFund in Sri Lanka is also working closely with local education authorities to promote the integration of children with disabilities into mainstream and special schools, while additional training has been given to teachers so they are able to better support children with disabilities in their classes.
Due to the lack of community-based support services, ChildFund in Sri Lanka has also been active in providing training for caregivers and assisting people with disabilities to care for themselves. Public health awareness campaigns on disability prevention have been conducted to increase knowledge and understanding in the community on disability prevention, detection and treatment.