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Australia helps to improve lives of people with disability

December 11, 2012 3:15pm
Australian Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Andrew Byrne (standing, 3rd from left) hosted a reception for Australia’s partners in the disability sector to celebrate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. Also in photo are: (standing, L-R) Dr Liza Martinez of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center; Octavia Borthwick, Australian Agency for International Development Minister Counsellor; Ret. Cpt. Oscar Taleon and Mrs Daylin Taleon from AKAP-Pinoy; Felicite Jean Gonzales from the Philippine Association of Citizens with Development and Learning Disabilities; (front) Abner Manlapaz from Life Haven; and Carmen Zubiaga, Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs.
Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to help improve the lives of people with disability as the world celebrated International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 3.
The Australian Government has released an independent mid-term review report highlighting Australia’s achievements in implementing its aid strategy on disability, Development for All: Towards a Disability-Inclusive Australian aid program.
The review notes Australia’s ‘considerable and impressive’ progress towards becoming a more inclusive aid program. Australia’s development investments have improved the access of people with disability to better education and scholarship opportunities, public infrastructure, and strengthened disabled people’s organisations.
Australian Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires, Andrew Byrne said, “Australian aid is addressing the needs of people with disabilities and is helping to improve their lives through our partnerships with a number of organisations in the Philippines.” Mr Byrne hosted a reception for Australia’s partners in the disability sector to celebrate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Australia supports many investments to benefit people with disabilities in the Philippines. It is working with The Asia Foundation on the ‘Fully Abled Nation’ campaign to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the upcoming 2013 mid-term elections. Through extensive roadshows and information campaigns, the Fully Abled Nation campaign has assisted 344,000 people with disabilities to register as voters.
Australia’s aid program is working with the Department of Education and civil society groups to work towards a more disability-inclusive education system. Australia also supports research activities with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure that the Philippine Government’s social protection programs are inclusive.
Networks and partnerships between Australia and the Philippines disability sectors and stakeholders, the public sector and academe, continue to flourish through the Australian Leadership Awards Fellowships, International Seminar Support Scheme and the Public Sector Linkages Program.
Australia’s community assistance programs have increased the access of Filipinos with disabilities to much-needed livelihood activities; and health and education services. Australia is also supporting the human rights advocacy and activities of several disabled peoples organisations.
“Through our aid program, we will deepen our support to Filipinos living with disability especially in inclusive education, disability research, and capacity building,” Mr Byrne said.
“Our support for people with disabilities stems from our commitment to help the Philippines make progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs cannot be achieved unless development efforts reach and benefit all Filipinos, including those with disability.”

Press release and photo from the Australian Embassy
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