Improving accessibilities for Persons with Disabilities integrated in Habitat Vietnam’s strategic plan
A recent statistics based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) framework, known as the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), shows that persons with disability (PWDs) accounted for 15.3 percent of Vietnam’s population -that’s an estimation of 13 million people. The vast majority – 75% – of persons with disabilities live in rural areas. 16.4 percent of the population with disability lives in poverty (.85 million people).
They are some of the most vulnerable members of society, facing significant challenges and barriers in their daily lives. There are many programs and projects have been designed towards the goal for disability inclusion, but having an affordable and accessible house which can enable independent living for PWDs remains to have significant gap that either government sectors or organization of PWDs or for PWDs have not been able to address; this is with the primary consideration of the housing intervention being capital intensive. Many PWDs have been discharged after a good rehabilitation process in the rehabilitation centers, but they are unable to easily adapted and be more productive at home due to inaccessible and inadequate housing. Some PWDs realize the needs of improving their house but they are challenged by finding renovators familiar with accessible design issues.
This gap is well recognized. That is why Habitat Vietnam has been working to provide housing solutions for PWDs, including pilot projects that focuses on renovating or modifying houses for people with mobility disability. Through this project, Habitat Vietnam also intends to demonstrate that a less significant housing improvement fund can improve the quality of life of PWDs and help make them more productive members of their households and of the society.
Habitat Vietnam joins forces to tackle inequalities for PWDs at the workplace
To further our efforts that take the edge off long-lasting challenges encountered by PWDs, both in their daily activities, community engagement and in social mobility, we have collaborated with RMIT University in Vietnam to bring about “Accessibility Design Competition 2020“. Through the work of 60 students and 20 industry partners, we seek innovative, inclusive design and ideas to enable people with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities to access, function and excel in the working environment.
We believe initiates like this will help change the ongoing public perception about people with disabilities, acknowledging their capabilities and potentials as well as giving them a fair chance to succeed in the workplace.On Thursday 5 November, we officially commenced the Accessibility Design Competition 2020. The Opening Ceremony welcomed prestigious partners, mentors and judges of the Competition, along with nearly 100 RMIT students. We hope the inspiring speeches and sharing from these guests have been a source of motivation for the youths, to become a part of this meaningful movement in support of people with disabilities.𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗔𝗖𝗖𝗘𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗕𝗜𝗟𝗜𝗧𝗬 𝗗𝗘𝗦𝗜𝗚𝗡 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗣𝗘𝗧𝗜𝗧𝗜𝗢𝗡 – 𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆
Education is the route out of poverty for many children. It gives them a chance to gain the knowledge and skills needed to improve their lives. Children miss out on school because their families need them to earn money. But by sacrificing their education, they become trapped in a cycle of poverty. In many communities we work in, children are at least three times more likely to be out of school. Habitat Vietnam believes that a safe and decent home can reduce economic pressures on families, allowing children time to attend school rather than being forced into work at a young age.
Dung, 56, his wife Kinh, 50, and two sons Toan, 24, and Tien, 22, used to live in a dilapidated house for as long as they remember. The family was amongst the poorest households in Dong Thap province, Vietnam. They had to squeeze into a small one-room house, and sharing a old, smelly, unhygienic toilet.
Dung recalls their challenging living conditions: “The simple house consisted of wooden boards, iron sheets in the roof and walls and a brick floor. It was decaying quickly, and was not a safe place to live, especially during the storm season”.
The family primarily depends on a humble income of Ms. Kinh – Dung’s wife, from raising fish and pigs. However, she just had surgery for ovarian cancer, adding further stress to their already difficult financial situation. Dung earned less than $120 a month as an informal temporary worker.
Their dream of a bright future for their children seemed almost impossible.
In 2018, everything changed.
Through the support of Habitat Vietnam, Dung, Kinh and their sons built their new dream home alongside a team of volunteers. Immediately, their thoughts turned to the education that was now within reach for their sons and would end the cycle of poverty they had been destined for.
This now meant the small income they earned needn’t be spent on essential and urgent house repairs. It would be enough to pay school fees and buy education materials such as books and pencils. Even the long-term investment of a university education and a brighter future.
Just a year after moving into their Habitat home, Dung’s dream of a stable and prosperous life for his family has gradually been fulfilled. Tien has completed his Diploma in Automobile Engineering and is now serving an apprenticeship in an established car garage in Ho Chi Minh City. Then late last year, Toan graduated college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography.
“It was a good thing that we were able to move to a new, safe shelters. With no worries on housing, we now focus on livelihood, job opportunities and daily care of the family” Dung said joyfully.
Tien and Toan are the first generation in their family to graduate from college. The potential that a new home can unlock for families and future generations is truly an amazing and powerful thing.
We believe that with a decent home, parents no longer need to worry about spending money on constant repairs, paying expensive rent or be burdened with the threat of forcible eviction. Instead, they can focus on giving their children an education and a world of new possibilities. A safe home means a clean, dry and well-lit place for children to do their homework, and less illness so fewer school days are missed and they are provided a clear path to a brighter future.
Children video for Toan and Tien’s inspiring journey: