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SRD – Together We Can – 2023-2024 Annual review meeting

From the 29th to the 30th of May, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development hosted a2-day event to review the implementation of the2nd year of the project VM075 “Together We Can”, funded by Caritas Australia and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).The event was split into 2 parts across the 2 days with nearly 100 participants from the project communes, district and other relevant presentatives from the provincial agencies as well.  


The first day was the annual review meeting which consisted of collecting feedback and recommendations on the past year from participants of the project.There were many activities and training that were reflectedpositively and viewed as effective, such as household livelihood improvement, as they created more jobs and generated additional sources of income for PWDs and their families, which ultimately improves their quality of life.Completing housing reinforcement to strengthen homes against the weather or disasters and adaptive housing to be more accessible for PWDs and promote independence. Monthly home-based visits for rehabilitation provided accessibility and improved the health of PWDs who are unable to travel to commune clinics. The community classes and playground were popular too as they provided a safe learning space for CWDs and PWDs to come together and socialise, it's beneficial for emotional and physical health and welfare. Safe swimming training increased the number of children’s ability to swim, reducing the number of drownings.The training on the law on persons with disabilities so PWDs and their families or caregivers know their rights and how to access resources accordingly or certification of disability.  

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Alternatively, some of the activities that were viewed as being required further focus in the coming year include the group livelihood activity, as this is a new activityfrom the second year, there are still some challenges to be overcome.Also, there have been challenges with the VSLA’s loan for members involved in agricultural activities due to the risks involved in their livelihood such as the changeable weather or diseases in the crops or livestock. There were also points raised about thedisaster response rehearsal activity,that it required a lot of resources and financial support to be carried out and even then, only some scenarios were practised,which is challenging as these scenarios are not guaranteed to ever happen in the context of climate change with changeable weather. 


The second day involved the celebration of another successful 2ndyear of the project VM075 “Together We Can”. All participant had an opportunites to look back the past year with a lot of emotional and expressive sharing. The Deputy Chairman of the Trieu Phong District People’s Committee started the meeting with his speech “After 2 years of implementation, the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD) has worked with the People's Committee of Trieu Phong district and the three communes to coordinate activities to support people with disabilities and their families such as improving livelihoods, vocational training, starting a business, communicating about the policies for people with disabilities, capacity building training, health care, rehabilitation, open forum for the club members to exchange and learn from one another. With those practical and relevant activities, people with disabilities in the project area's communes have gradually improved their material and spiritual lives; strengthen the will and build trust for people with disabilities to integrate into the community and society”. Many other sharing includes one from the physiotherapist, who conducts the home-based visits for rehabilitation also shared his observation “I find this program very relevant and effective with rehabilitation efforts that involve multi cooperation like in a real rehabilitation program. In addition to physical and mobility rehabilitation, there is also psychological support, vocational guidance, orientation, start-up, livelihood improvement, etc.  All of these factors form a diverse rehabilitation program, which is also advantageous when we combine many different activities together. The disabled people that I have visited and supported in rehabilitation, I feel like this, just like the rice plant that is thirsty, if there is a water source it will grow, the same goes for the disabled people in this project, whose functional improvement have been seen clearly. Besides rehabilitation, device support is also an area that we need to pay attention to because it helps people with disabilities have the opportunity to access so they can walk again. Families of people with disabilities need to understand, recognize and cooperate to create the most useful accessible environment for people with disabilities to move toward independence and reduce dependence”.In responding to the speech of Mr, Deputy Chairman, the Director of SRD, Mrs. VuThi Bich Hop said “The true success of the project is the great engagement of the district leaders, showing that the project really matched with the local program and thus initial positive results could be made and seen. Hopefully in the next 3 years the project will go further with results to be achieved, change in awareness and confidence, and that persons with disabilities in different communes of Trieu Phong district will be able to live independently, have their self-decision making and enjoy their rights to equal position in society as the project’s goal. 

This event emphasized the relevance of theproject approach, support and the positive impact it has on people with disabilities, their families and local communities. Also, how building resilience and capabilities can benefitpeople with disabilities by empowering them and building their confidence. 

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