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:: ]ndependent living center for disabled people ::

Ho Chi Minh City to open independent living center for disabled people 

Vietnam, March 11: HCMC will open an independent living center for persons with disabilities following the success of such a center in Hanoi, said Vo Thi Hoang Yen, director of the city's Disability Resource and Development program.

"We are dealing with sponsors to open an independent living center for disabled persons in HCMC after the success of the center founded last year in Hanoi," Yen told the Daily on the sidelines of the Independent Living Seminar for Persons with Disabilities here on Sunday.

The center will help disabled persons make independent decisions, be responsible for their own lives, help with community integration and organize activities.

The event was held at the First Hotel in HCMC's Tan Binh District by the program and Disabled Peoples' International in Asia Pacific Region.

Shoji Nakanishi, chairman of Disabled Peoples' International, pinned high hopes on the establishment of such centers nationwide.

"If centers for independent living do their jobs well, I believe the Vietnamese Government will support those centers... and I hope Vietnam will soon establish a network for independent living centers nationwide," he said.

Nguyen Hong Ha, project manager of Hanoi Independent Living Center, told the Daily how the Hanoi center came into being.

"It took us a year to build the center because we lacked personal assistants with qualified knowledge to support disabled persons. Some people have not understood their jobs yet, so they will attend a short-term course in Japan to obtain technology and skills," he said.

He added that the center had difficulty in looking for leaders and a location to operate the center as well as approaching disabled persons to let them know what independent living is.

Founded in January of last year, Hanoi Independent Living Center is home to 43 disabled persons with spinal injuries, poliomyelitis and cerebral-palsy. The center is supported by 55 assistants.

The Disability Resource and Development program and Disabled Peoples' International are running four days of training at the First Hotel for over 100 disabled persons and personal assistants. The training is being conducted by experts from Thailand and Japan.

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