Hun Sen Calls on Employers to Train, Hire the Disabled

Including himself among the disabled, Prime Minister Hun Sen called on Cambodian em­ploy­ers Thursday to train and hire disabled people whenever possible. 

The prime minister spoke during a half-day seminar aimed at showing employers that the disabled are ready and able to work. About 300,000 persons, or 3.5 percent of Cambodia’s population, are disabled, reports the Na­tional Center of Disabled Per­sons.

More than 260 disabled persons have been employed recently by major international companies, such as British American Tobacco, Caltex Cambodia and Nestle Dairy Cambodia Limited, according to the center, which provides job finding and counseling to the disabled.

They include Nay Sotheary, 22, who uses her pleasant voice and good English as an operator in the call center of CamGSM Com­pany Ltd. She earns $150 a month for working 10 hours a day.

A polio survivor, she walks with a limp. That didn’t prevent her from studying computers for two years at Royal University of Phnom Penh.

“I felt very hopeless after I finished high school. I did not know what I could do,” she said.

A friend introduced her to NCDP, which helped her find the job at CamGSM, which includes MobiTel. “When I first came to MobiTel, I was a stranger in the eyes of the rest of the staff,” Nay Sotheary said. “I was quite shy, but I worked hard to show them that I could do as good a job as the other staff.”

Nay Sotheary urged employers to put skills before appearance when it comes to hiring the disabled. “Look at my skills, not my disability,” she said.

Hun Sen said the Ministry of Labor is drafting a law to protect disabled workers from discrimination. He called for the law to be sent to the National Assembly and passed as quickly as possible.

“I’m among the disabled,” he said. “Twenty years ago, not only did I lose an eye, but half of my body was nearly paralyzed. I strug­gled to survive, for my sake and for the sake of many Cambo­dians,” he said. The disabled may be “disabled in body, but not in their mind or heart,” he added. “They can work in administration, as accountants, as computer typists, or in other fields.”

During the seminar, Debra Perry of the International Labor Organization said the NCDP and the Business Advisory Council, which also helps the disabled, were a “model for engaging employers in the promotion of equal training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”

There are about 610 million disabled persons worldwide, of whom 386 million are working age, the ILO reports.

Theng Sothea, who lost his right leg to a land mine, spent a year training by the NGO Mary­knoll at the Wat Than Training Center for the disabled. It helped him get a job at the Envotech garment factory in Russei Keo district at $70 a month.

“I was very happy when I heard on the radio that there was a center to train disabled people like me,” he said. “I’m happy to be sewing clothes now.”

Related Stories

Latest News