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December 3, 2004

Deaf persons to get licences?

From: Daily News, Sri Lanka - Dec 3, 2004

by Nadira Gunatilleke

The Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Social Welfare are discussing with the authorities the possibility of issuing driving licences to deaf persons.

The Ministry has also made arrangements to celebrate International Disabled Persons Day which falls today on a grand scale in collaboration with the Education Ministry, Women's Empowerment and Social Welfare Ministry Secretary Seetha Rajapaksa said.

She said the ministry will pay special attention to promote early detection of disabilities among the public to minimise their effect.

A lot of children can be saved through early detection. The ministry has also paid attention towards poverty alleviation among the disabled community.

Disabled persons do not receive equal treatment such as access to various facilities and are not even accommodated under the three per cent employment opportunities reserved for them under the law, although a Legislation has been passed in Parliament.

Mrs. Rajapaksa said the ministry has organised an eye clinic and a general clinic for disabled persons. Awards will be presented to persons who had dedicated their time for the well-being of the disabled persons. Awards will also be presented to disabled persons who have shown significant achievements.

The ministry will issue a first day cover to mark the day. A special insurance scheme will be introduced for disabled persons through the Social Security Board.

A concert featuring disabled persons and school children will also be staged. The ministry has also organised sports events, workshops and counselling programs for disabled persons.

According to recent ministry statistics, the percentage of disabled persons in Sri Lanka is between 6.5 and eight per cent of the total population.

Copyright © 2004 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.