Towards Inclusion and Participation through Engagement of DPOs

Towards Inclusion and Participation through Engagement of DPOs

Persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Region have over the years, remained among the poorest of the poor. Cultures and societies treated disabled persons in one of just a few ways.

We were frequently viewed as objects of misfortune or misdeed who were shunned, ignored and pitied.

Despite the emergence of international standards to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in development, proclamations and in-country legislations and policies, integrating people with disabilities in mainstream development remains a major challenge for most governments in the region.
Disabled people are disproportionately undereducated, untrained, unemployed and underemployed, and generally poor. Vast range of issues including physical and social barriers must be considered and addressed within the context of full participation of people with disabilities in community life, if they are to be included in
the development process. Without access to the full range of community services and experiences as a vital step, people with disabilities will not be able to confront barriers to inclusion in general.

Fortunately, there are signs that a new paradigm is emerging – one that recognizes that people with disabilities have abilities and have the same rights to participate fully in their societies as do nondisabled people. This kind of thinking does not rely on charity nor on conformity to the so-called norm. It is about leveling the playing field so that disabled people can access jobs and transportation services, ensuring universal design, accessible technology and coordinated public programs and services. It is about removing physical and societal barriers. It is about attitude adjustment for employers, teachers, health care professionals and even family members.