RIDE for YwD

Around 600 people, including 100 youth with disabilities, participated in "Cycling for Inclusive and Decent Employment for Young Persons with Disabilities - RIDE for YwD" by cycling and walking in Phnom Penh on 20 August 2022. About 200 cyclists participated in the 35 Km category, 400 in 20 Km category and 100 in the 1 Km category.

Feature | 22 August 2022
The event to commemorate International Youth Day 2022 was organized by the second phase of the "Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia (DEY II)" programme, together with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT). Four United Nations Agencies (ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIDO) are the joint implementing partners of DEY II. The programme is co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The event also promoted the engagement of relevant stakeholders (policymakers, development partners, local and international donors, and the private sector) to support and facilitate decent employment for young persons with disabilities. The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, together with other ministries and actors, including the four UN implementing partners of DEY II, are working to address the issues around youth employment so that more young people, including those with disabilities, will have opportunities for decent work for a better livelihood and future.

About 600 participants cycled across Phnom Penh capital city center
According to the 2019 General Population Census, 4.9 percent of Cambodians over the age of five reported some “difficulty” related to disabilities. In comparison, the 2014 Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey reported that approximately 9.5 per cent of Cambodians over five years of age reported some form of disability. According to the 2019 General Population Census, disability was found to be higher for females (5.5 per cent) as compared to males (4.2 per cent). The disability rate was higher in rural areas (5.3 per cent) as compared to urban areas (4.2 per cent).

The United Nations in Cambodia's National Situational Analysis on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2021 observed that persons with disabilities in Cambodia face many barriers and challenges in society. These include poverty and unsustainable livelihoods; stigma and discrimination; limited access to services, information, justice, training and education; and inaccessibility of physical infrastructures. The COVID-19 pandemic further intensified these challenges, particularly those related to livelihoods.

At the same time, the UN analysis also highlights that the implementation and enforcement of Sub-Decree 108 and related guidelines concerning employment quotas and reasonable accommodation related to employment for persons with disabilities, is to be enhanced. This responds to the acknowledgement in the National Development Strategic Plan 2019-2023 that the recruitment of persons with disabilities for work has not been implemented in the private sector, and there is a lack of reasonable accommodation in the workplaces. These are the key barriers for persons with disabilities to obtain formal employment.

Speaking to the RIDE for YwD event, H.E Dr. Samheng ITH, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training stated that "many young people in Cambodia do not have adequate competencies in the labour market due to less education and work experience. Youth in rural areas or with disabilities have more disadvantages to access decent work opportunities. We observe less participation of young persons with disabilities in our technical and vocational education and training, much less in employment."

H.E Dr. Samheng ITH highlighted the need for increased joint action by all stakeholders in ensuring that young people with disabilities have full and equal access to training and decent work opportunities. “In addition to individual actions, the joint forces between different actors are crucial to addressing the challenges our young persons with disabilities face. I urge my MLVT team, relevant ministries, our policymakers, the development partners and the private sector, the employers to put more effort to support persons with disabilities (both adult and young) in our country to overcome the barriers and challenges, including in the areas of accessing technical and vocational skill straining and decent employment opportunities through your investment; contributions; facilitation; coordination and job creation."

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, SDC and about 600 participants cycled at the RIDE for YwD
Mr. Tun Sophorn, the National Coordinator for the ILO in Cambodia further observed that “the United Nations believes that one of the priority investments that any society can make is providing all youth with quality education and training for decent and productive employment. This is why we came together to support Youth Employment.”

While calling for more actions and effort from relevant key stakeholders, the event also drew the attention of youth with disabilities to their vital role to play in shaping their own labour market journey and contributing to an inclusive and human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This also includes their active engagement in guiding the DEY II programme to influence its interventions towards being more inclusive and responsive to the needs and aspirations of youth with disabilities.

Three young persons with disabilities who addressed the RIDE for YwD participants highlighted the crucial importance of the young generation’s contribution to the future development of Cambodia and ensuring that no one is left behind. “Even though I am physically a person with a disability, my hopes and dreams of continuing my education and skills training are not disabled,” stated Mr. Sambath Prak, who is taking a TVET course in electronics after completing the Basic Education Equivalency Progamme (BEEP) supported by the DEY II.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, SDC and Youth with disability spoke to the RIDE for YwD participants
Ms. Chheun Srey Pich, an accountant at the Phnom Penh Center for Independent Living and co- founder of the Breakthrough movement of young Cambodian women, told the RIDE for PwD participants that “previously, due to my disability, I had difficulty traveling. I could not go out alone because in some public places it is not convenient for a wheelchair user like me. I have now overcome my fears by being able to speak to the public to better understand the challenges of people with disabilities and to change their views on people with disabilities.” Ms. Srey Pich has met the management of restaurants, cafes and offices to advocate for employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, especially in entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship can provide important income opportunities for persons with disabilities. Social enterprise especially can be a very suitable workplace for supporting certain groups of people, such as persons with disabilities and women. As well as financial opportunities, they also create a respectful atmosphere for everyone.”

Mr. So Seam Sokhim, a youth with a disability who participated in a policy-dialogue capacity building initiative supported by DEY II added that “there should be more scientific research on the needs according to the type of people with disabilities, as well as on the decent work market for youth with disabilities. There should also be more guidance and counselling available on the suitable type of vocational training according to the needs of young people with disabilities.”

Mr. Markus Buerli, Director of Cooperation, SDC concluded proceedings by emphasizing that “our participation today has demonstrated our strong determination to raise awareness on the importance of including people who are at risk of being left behind and to jointly make the Cambodian society more inclusive for youth with disabilities and other marginalized communities. Let’s continue promoting this agenda after this event.”