… Our meeting today has great significance for taking further actions on training and finding jobs for the handicapped. What is more important is actual effort made in recruiting the handicapped people for training and absorbing them into workplaces. What is written on paper like today’s speech will stay as speech. Its efficiency should be, when we finished the seminar, that the 1800 handicapped persons who have skills training already be absorbed into workplaces…
… The issue is not just about the handicapped alone but the whole social and economic setup. If we were to neglect a solution, which should commonly be worked out by the Royal Government, the civil society and the private sector, the matter would grow to be graver for Cambodia that has so many handicapped that are left by wars. We have a number of experiences. Twenty-three years ago though empty handedness we had saved orphans whose parents were killed by the Pol Pot regime. There was no other country in this world that had more orphans than Cambodia did. But we were proud that we had not left those kids unattended or died without being taken care of at all. The way we took action was to offer care through the state orphans services in parallel with adoption by generous families.
… Up to now they all are grown up and most of them have graduated from secondary and tertiary education already. Some of them have also been married and have their own children as well. Orphan was an issue. Now the handicapped is another. In recent years we have been encouraged by the fact that the handicapped has gradually changed their physical and mental states. If they were maimed physically and/or mentally before, in recent years they have made a strong effort to free themselves from being maimed mentally. This point is quite encouraging and in just the four or five years that they have made such a big leap.
… As of present we have less beggars walking from street to street for donation. We have improved the situation as our handicapped have tried to make their livings without, after being maimed physically, being depressed mentally. They are physically handicapped indeed but not mentally maimed anymore. I stand ready to accept any offer for me to do whatever I can for the benefit of the handicapped. I may refuse to be honorary president of other associations, but not for the handicapped association. I am also a handicapped person. Not only that I have one of my eyes wounded, but also half of my body was nearly paralyzed twenty years ago. But because of mental strength, and it is an experience, I made great effort to survive. Now I survive not only for myself but also for other people as well.
… We should be proud that our handicapped have now made their ways to glory. In the recent Paraolympics, we sent fifteen handicapped to take part and 13 of them came back with six gold medals, five silver medals and one bronze medal. Therefore I would like to make my intervention in sports of the handicapped prior to the sports in general. What is important here is that we have formulated a movement that communities and/or companies, who offered them helps so far, recruit our handicapped to fill in positions that their remaining ability could be used. Some of them possess computing skills that could be used in administration, accounting, etc. Let’s say we have 1,000 companies and each company recruits one of them, we could see that a good number of the handicapped is saved.
… I went to Kompong Tram to place a Bailey Bridge called the “Bridge in Gratitude of Mentors,” I have initiated an idea that two handicapped families are recruited to look after the solar-energized lights on the bridge. We built them houses and in their compounds we mounted the solar panels and transformers. Their jobs are to look after the equipment. So two handicapped families have been assisted. As you can see if we all make contributions, bit by bit we would be able to give them help. We do not expect the company to fill in their workforce demands by the handicapped but at least one or two in their number of thousand workers. So I wish to place an appeal for those of you who are present here or others who would have listened to me today that they should recruit our handicapped for appropriate works. At the same time I also recommend further training for the betterment of know-how for our handicapped because they have to possess certain skills and knowledge so that they could be recruited.
… Professional training aimed at increasing the handicapped know-how and skills is a correct strategy. So this is a two pronged relationship is taken into consideration here. One prong is to be taken over by the companies and another prong has to be fulfilled by the handicapped. By saying that I mean it is true that the handicapped could not respond to the requirement placed by the companies in terms of physical ability but would be capable to get their job done for them. So both sides have to make efforts for mutual interest.
… Another solution that I have foreseen is that not only the companies that are targets of providing assistance. Some of our handicapped are living in the rural areas. They need financial assistance and instruments so that they could start their business. I have tried this hypothesis through one of our MPs in one area. I provide funding through him to a number of handicapped families. They use the financial assistance for income generation activities like animal husbandry or even cultivation. They are free to choose what is best to do with the money provided for bettering their living conditions. A priority set to provide financial access to the rural area is what is called micro-finance and it is given with an aim to create works and employment.
… Those handicapped in the rural area should not be a burden to their family members. We have to help them to have appropriate skills to do whatever suits their physical ability so that they could generate income for themselves as well as for their families. So for those handicapped in the cities, absorption by companies could be a means but for those in the rural areas, job opportunities should also be given ample consideration. What I have foreseen to be more viable is that we have to redirect our micro-finance activities to the rural areas through the rural creditors. So, further and thorough discussion should be made with relevant agencies on the two main concepts…