From 19 to 25 July 2015, the Disabled People’s Association (DPA) participated in the Regional Workshop on Community-Rehabilitation: The Way Forward to Sustainable Development in ASEAN. The workshop served as a platform to share best practices on community-based rehabilitation (CBR) among the ASEAN member states and create a roadmap to strengthen CBR implementation in the ASEAN region. The workshop was participated by all ASEAN member states and China, South Korea and Japan. Delegates came from various sectors such as the Government, non-government organisations and disabled people’s organisations.
During the workshop, DPA had the chance to visit an independent living centre at Nakorn Pathom Province, a Home for Disabled Babies (Ban FeungFah), and a Vocational Development Centre for Disabled Persons. The field visit was useful in shedding light on the social welfare situation in Thailand. In particular, DPA learned that when there is an implementation gap between the law and practice, people with disabilities work as advocates to empower other persons with disabilities and mobilise the resources within the community.
DPA also learned that CBR as a concept varies across and within countries, and has adapted to the national and local situation. In most developing countries where family and community still play vital roles in social development and social protection, CBR is viewed as an important strategy to promote the quality of life of persons with disabilities.
The final two days of the workshop saw all delegates working together in groups to come up with recommendations for the roadmap. Based on their recommendations and the World Health Organisation’s CBR guidelines, the roadmap indicates how best to implement CBR at the national and regional level. The roadmap also serves as a direction for all states and CBR stakeholders to strengthen and implement CBR in the region.
DPA thanks the Royal Thai Government for including DPA in this regional conference. DPA was glad to be part of this experience and hopes to participate in more such regional or international workshops to share best practices and learn from other countries.