A new Rs. 3,000,000 grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide the means for five local organisations to continue their work with the disabled in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, increasing incomes for approximately 1,200 disabled people and raising public awareness on disability rights and social inclusion in these areas.
The organisations, based in Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa Districts, fulfil a critical need in regions where two and a half decades of conflict has resulted in a significant number of disabled residents.
Through the grant, USAID and its implementing partner ZOA Refugee Care Netherlands will train the local organisations to develop livelihood assistance packages and create small-scale income-generation projects for disabled individuals in the target areas.
As part of this effort, the local organisations will help disabled individuals develop business plans; the best plans will receive small grants as business start-up capital. Grant activities will also link disabled people with other development activities in their regions, including those of USAID and other donors.
This new grant expands USAID’s portfolio of activities to improve the lives of Sri Lanka’s disabled. Other activities focus on the production and donation of wheelchairs, the provision of vocational training, and help with job referrals and self-employment opportunities for disabled individuals.
Through past grants, USAID has also fitted international-standard prosthetics and orthotics for individuals in need of them, donated customised mobility devices, helped identify employment opportunities, promoted disability rights, and raised awareness on disability issues at the local and national levels.
“This new grant will build on USAID’s current and past work to strengthen Sri Lankan organisations working with the disabled,” said James Bednar, USAID Mission Director to Sri Lanka. “These organisations know the local communities and provide critical services to ensure that the disabled are better able to support themselves, advocate for their rights, and ultimately, lead happier and more fulfilled lives.”
The five local organisations that will receive support through the grant are Deaf Link, Puhalidam, Multi-Disciplinary Team, Organisation for Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Vavuniya District and Association for Rehabilitation of Differently Abled Persons.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided development and humanitarian assistance in developing countries worldwide for nearly 50 years. Since 1956, the U.S. Government has invested over $2 billion to benefit all the people of Sri Lanka.