Learning and Exchange Workshop: Exploring the Dreams, Challenges, and Needs of Persons with Communication Difficulties

Learning and Exchange Workshop: Exploring the Dreams, Challenges, and Needs of Persons with Communication Difficulties

“My dream is to advocate for my rights to reduce discrimination. I want to take trips and enjoy entertainment like others and start a family.” said Ms Or Sarath who has communication and swallowing difficulties, while one of her peers, who has a similar condition said he wanted to earn some money, and build work connections with other people. They shared these aspirations with the audience during the Learning and Exchange workshop held on 19 August 2022 in Phnom Penh by the Australia-Cambodia Cooperation for Equitable Sustainable Services (ACCESS) Program with the technical support of the Organization to Improve Communication and Swallowing Therapy Services in Cambodia (OIC Cambodia).

The workshop, funded by the Australian Government through ACCESS, aimed to discuss various barriers faced by persons with communication disabilities and practical actions to address these barriers, including when accessing services; and learn from the experiences of service providers working for and with persons with communication disabilities.

The participants at the workshop included persons with communication disabilities, representatives from Implementing Partners (IPs), including Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO), Cambodian Women’s Crisis Centre (CWCC), Agile Development Group, ADD International, People’s Action for Inclusive Development (PAfID), Legal Aid of Cambodia (LAC) and Transcultural Psychological Organisation (TPO), and Government counterparts, including the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), the Disability Action Council (DAC), and Persons with Disability Foundation (PWDF), National the Institute for Special Education (NISE), and the National Employment Agency (NEA).

Ms Anne ROUVE-KHIEV, ACCESS Team Leader, stated in her opening remarks, that the ACCESS Program worked to enhance the rights of persons with disabilities and women affected by gender-based violence by working in partnership and collaboration with the Royal Government of Cambodia and various Implementing Partners. She added that this workshop was significant as it would provide guidance on the communication aids and materials required, the opportunity to learn about their challenges and needs in accessing services and present details on how to effectively engage with persons with communication difficulties.

In collaboration between ACCESS and OIC Cambodia, six workshops on “Communication Inclusion” were provided to 162 individuals (84 women) who are the Program’s key stakeholders at the national and provincial levels, including IP staff, the MoSVY, MoWA, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, DAC, PWDF, Provincial-DAC, Provincial Departments of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, Provincial Departments of Women’s Affairs, and the ACCESS team.