The Department of Social Welfare (DSW) aims to promote the contribution of persons with disabilities so as to fully participate in the developmental tasks of the nation as a supportive force.
The objectives are:-
a. To protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
b. To alleviate the discrimination based on the ground of disability;
c. To promote dignity, ability, and capability the Persons with Disabilities;
d. To enhance equal and full participation of the Persons with Disabilities in the national development task; and
e. To upgrade the socio economy of Persons with Disabilities
The processes are as follow:
2. Promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is undertaking the medical rehabilitation, social rehabilitation, and vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities. In so doing, the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) is taking the measures for vocational and social rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation processes of the DSW are categorized into two ways which are as follow:
I. Institution Based Rehabilitation
II. Community Based Rehabilitation
Institution Based Rehabilitation
According to the types of disabilities, the department is running special schools for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. Besides, the organizations of persons with disabilities and welfare organizations are also making such efforts.
Activities of daily living, social interaction, primary education, supports for studying higher education, basic vocational trainings, information and technology courses, art and sport education are providing based on the types of disabilities in special schools.
Special schools undertake by the DSW are:
a. KyieMyin Dine Training school for visual impairments in Yangon
b. Training School for Visual Impairments in Sagaing
c. Training School for Hearing Impairments in Mandalay
d. Training School for Adults with Disabilities in Yangon
e. Training School for Children with Disabilities in Yangon
f. Caring Home for the Children with Disabilities in Yangon
The department is giving guidance, providing necessary techniques and supports for the associations of persons with disabilities, welfare organizations, and private training schools. Training schools run by the associations of persons with disabilities, welfare organizations, and private are:
a. Kha Wahl Chan Training School for Visual Impairments in Yangon Region
b. MyitKyeeNaa Training School for Visual Impairments in Kachin State
c. PyinOoLwin Training School for the Needy Blind in Mandalay Region
d. Yaung Chi Thit Training School for Visual Impairments in MoneYwa, Sagaing Region
e. ShaeSaung Training School for Visual Impairments in MeikHteeLar, Mandalay Region
f. Pa Kouk Ku Training School for Visual Impairments in Mandalay Region
g. Mary Chapman Training School for Hearing Impairments in Yangon Region
h. AAR – Japan (Association for Aid and Relief Japan)
i. Eden Centre for the Disabled Children
j. Aye Myit Tar Caring Home for the Children with Disabilities
k. Myanmar Medical Massage Training School for Visual Impairments
l. Flowers SEPC (Flowers Special Education and Physiotherapy Centre)
m. Light House Learning Centre
n. Montessori Children’s House
o. New World Therapeutic Training Centre for Special Needs Children
Community Based Rehabilitation
CBR is the most important rehabilitation process to restore the full development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). According to the First Myanmar Basic Disability Survey (2008-2009), a population prevalence of PwDs in Myanmar is 2.32% (1,276,000 persons) out of general population (about 55 million).
Among that population, 850,709 persons with disabilities are living in rural areas. Rehabilitation schools and services are mostly availed in urban areas. So, the rural population of PwDs can hardly access to such measures. Consequently, CBR activities are being implemented for the full enjoyment of persons with disabilities in rural areas with the support and involvement of people within their own communities.
Projects on CBR are also planned by International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and organizations of persons with disabilities.under the guidelines of Department Social Welfare and it supports to conduct assessments for their activities.
Planned CBR activities are as shown in figure (1). The organizations working for the PwDs;
(a) The Leprosy Mission International (Myanmar)
(b) Association for Aids and Relief (AAR-Japan)
(c) New Humanity FOCSIV
(d) Disabled People Development Organization
(e) Eden Centre for Disabled Children
(f) ShweMinnTha Foundation
Promotion of the rights of PwDs
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities on December 7, 2011.
After ratification of the Convention, the DSW is currently developing the draft Law on Rights of the Persons with Disabilities for further improvement of the rights of persons with disabilities
Involving in International Process
In order to develop the life and obtain more rights of the PwDs, the DSW is employing the regional and international commitments as basic guidance in rehabilitation process. The DSW is mainly focused on the following agreements, declaration, and framework.
(a) United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
(b) Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
(c) Biwako Millennium Framework for PwDs Asia and the Pacific region (2003-2012)
(d) Bali Declaration on the Enhancement of the Role and Participation of the Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN Community
(e) ASEAN Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2011-2020)
Laws related to Disability Issues
In Myanmar, it is found that some of the existing laws are included the issues of persons with disabilities
(a) Article 32 (a) of the Constitution (2008) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar reveals to take care of the persons with Disabilities.
(b) The first Myanmar disability law, Employment Act on the acquired disabilities (1958) was enacted on 12 December, 1958. Right to medical treatment, right to vocational training, registration for job placement, and right to employment are included in the Employment Act.
(c) In article (18) of Child Law states provision for the children with disabilities has the right to obtain special care and assistance from the State.
Persons with Hearing Impairments
With the support of Japan Government, Phase 2 of the Project on "Supporting Social Welfare Administration - Promotion of Social Participation of the Deaf Community” is now implementing in cooperation and collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to promote social participation of the persons with hearing impairment in the community. In Phase 1 of the project (2008-2010), Standardizing Myanmar Sign Language, Distribution of Basic Myanmar Sign Language Conversation Book and Sign Language Awareness Programmes have been carried out.
Training of trainers for Myanmar Sign Language and Trainings for Sign Language Supporters are planning in phase 2. The trainings will surely assist on more understanding of sign language and to promote the participation of persons with hearing impairments in the community.
Enhancing the life of PwDsare carrying out with the coordination of concerned departments, organizations of persons with disabilities, INGOs, and NGOs. The partner organizations of DSW are stated below
i. Organizations of persons with disabilities
a. Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI)
b. Myanmar Disabled Women Association
c. Su PaungArman Blind Workers Association
d. Saint Mary Shelter for the Blind
e. Deaf Resource Centre Yangon
f. Disabled People Development Organization
g. Home for the Deaf Mandalay
h. Myanmar Physically Handicapped Association
i. Myanmar Christian Blind Fellowship
j. Myanmar National Association for the Blind
k. Blind Massage Development Foundation
l. Yangon Deaf Association
m. Family Support Network for Intellectual Disability
n. Unity Group of Intellectual Disability
o. Network for Myanmar Disabled People (NMDP)
p. Myanmar Parlympic Sports Federation
q. Special Olympic Myanmar
ii. International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs)
a. The Leprosy Mission International(TLMI)
b. Action Aid (Myanmar)
c. Triangle GH
d. Latter Days Saint Charity
e. Japan Heart
iii. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
a. Eden Home for the Children with Disabilities
b. ShweMinnTha Foundation
Celebration to “Make the Right Real”
Celebration to Make the Right Real is organized and hosted by the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in conjunction with the organizations in Asia and Pacific region. The event was to accelerate the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the Government of Myanmar.
The Union Minister for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement addressed the opening speech. Ms. Aiko Akiyama of UNESCAP, Mr. AkkieNinomiya of APCD, and Mr. Toshishe of Nippon Foundation are also delivered the speech of appreciation.
The Union Minister for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Transport, departmental heads, representatives of the organizations for persons with disabilities, responsible persons from INGOs, representatives from welfare organizations, and invited guests signed on the pledge board after the celebration.
Japan Study Programme
The Department of Social Welfare is implementing the Project on Support for Social Welfare Administration – “Promotion of Social Participation of Deaf Community (Phase 2)”jointly with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). As a part of the project, Director General, Department of Social Welfare visited to Japan from 25.6.2012 to 28.6.2012.
In that study tour, the Director General could visit Tokyo International Centre under JICA, Deaf and Blind schools in Tokyo, NHK's Sign language broadcasting programmes, JICA head quarter for interviewing with Asahi Shimbum Newspaper as well as National Rehabilitation Centre for the Persons with Disabilities in order to explore good practices and new techniques in reharehabilitation for the Persons with Disabilities.