Harrisonburg, VA (10/10/2013) – The Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR) at James Madison University (JMU) will travel to Vietnam in 2014 to support its local partner, The Association for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities (AEPD), and launch a public-awareness campaign promoting the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs). The campaign looks to increase awareness among the general public and among government officials of the rights legally afforded to PWDs in Vietnam.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor awarded CISR a $247,500 grant to conduct and support a capacity-building project for AEPD, which is one of Vietnam’s leading organizations promoting economic and social empowerment for PWDs. A three-person CISR project team will travel to Vietnam to conduct the initial trainings in Quang Binh province and Hanoi, and oversee the project’s monitoring and evaluation to ensure that the overall campaign is carried out successfully
This project is a public-advocacy campaign striving toward an inclusive and barrier-free Vietnamese society where PWDs can fulfill their potential, enjoy equal opportunities and continue to productively contribute to their communities.
CISR previously worked on projects in Vietnam, including mine-risk education in Quang Tri province (1999–2000) and victim-assistance work by staff members during previous employment with Survivor Corps. In 2012, CISR conducted a peer-support training workshop in conjunction with AEPD in Vietnam for 41 PWDs, including landmine/unexploded-ordnance victims and people affected by Agent Orange.
In recent years the Vietnamese government passed a series of laws to protect PWD rights. The broadest and most recent is the National Disability Law, enacted in 2010.The CISR education and public-awareness campaign will help AEPD empower communities and local governments to observe the law.
AEPD was born out of the international humanitarian organization Survivor Corps/Landmine Survivors Network, which launched its Vietnam program in 2003 and was co-founded by CISR Director Ken Rutherford.
CISR helps communities affected by conflict and trauma through innovative research, training, information exchange and direct services. CISR was founded at JMU in 1996 as the Mine Action Information Center, becoming CISR in 2008. Since its founding, CISR has worked worldwide to help communities build peaceful and prosperous futures free from the repercussions of war and disaster.