Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng on February 26 presided over the inauguration of a new building – with accommodation – at the vocational training centre for visually impaired people, located at the Samneang Music Association for the Disabled in Kork Roka commune of the capital’s Prek Pnov district.

Sreng said he hoped his attendance would raise awareness of the facility, and called on the community to offer their support to the centre.

He said that people living in the area could help alleviate the hardships of the disabled by making donations of rice or even money to the Samneang association.

“I appeal to all monks, philanthropists and compatriots to donate food or money to help the association, who do so much to support the Kingdom’s persons with disabilities,” he added.

He reminded those present that many people with disabilities had made contributions to help the government fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation (CDPO) official Chhor Bonnarath said the inauguration of new vocational training centre was an important step forward for the welfare and independence of the disabled.

“We all know that the majority of people with disabilities in Cambodia live in poverty. This is often the result of a lack of access to education,” he added.

He hoped the new facility would provide encouragement to many of his organisation’s members.

“The authorities should ensure that there is funding to support the trainees while they are training. Ideally, some start-up capital will be made available to those who have completed their vocational course,” he said.

The Samneang Music Association for the Disabled was established in 2013 by Chap To, a blind man. Thanks to the patronage of Queen Mother Noromdom Monineath Sihanouk and Bun Rany Hun Sen, president of the Cambodian Red Cross (CRC), and a large number of philanthropists, the association now has 654 members, 284 of them women.