The Public Authority of the Disabled (PADA) has announced the key results from its Phase 1 project ‘Achieving Kuwait 2035 Vision Towards Persons with Disability’ in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kuwait.
The announcement was made during a conference held at the UN House in celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, themed ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuing inclusiveness and equality. The event was graced by Her Excellency Mrs. Hind Sabeeh Barak Al-Sabeeh, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of State for Economic Affairs and drew the participation of Dr. Khaled Mahdi – Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council of Planning and Development, Dr. Tarek El-Sheikh, UN Resident Coordinator, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Repporteur (SR) on the rights of persons with disabilities, along with senior UNDP officials,.
Her Excellency emphasized in her speech Kuwait’s full commitment in honoring international laws that safeguard and protect the full rights of Persons with Disabilities. HE added that Kuwait continues to work with UNDP to develop and implement programs that would empower Persons with Disabilities, promote their full integration in society, education and employment in line with global efforts.
Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council of Planning and Development said: “we are committed to achieving the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. Moreover, we are keen in integrating all members of the society in achieving these goals, including persons with disabilities in Kuwait.
Dr. Tarek Al Sheikh, United Nations Resident Coordinator, said: "We are glad to celebrate with you the conclusion of the implementation of phase one of the Vision of Kuwait 2035 for Persons with Disabilities. In partnership between the United Nations Development Program and The Public Authority for the Disabled, the project aims to promote opportunities for the integration of persons with disabilities into various life and social activities and to ensure their participation in Kuwait's efforts to achieve sustainable development."
In her keynote address, Dr. Shafiqa Al-Awadhi, Managing Director of PADA, outlined that the joint program was established to ensure that no one is left behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set within the framework of the Kuwait 2035 Vision. She also emphasized on the project’s key achievements in crucial domains including education, employment, accessibility, ICT and society in general.
Elaborating on the key achievements, Dr Al-Awadhi said: “PADA’s collaborative project with UNDP has achieved significant results, particularly on the institutional front and in building human capacity to ensure outstanding organizational performance. The project also launched its new inclusive employment model designed to improve organizational and technical capacities in order to facilitate work and employment of persons with disabilities. Furthermore, the project developed a new model for PADA with Disabilities in Kuwait, clearly defining the standard for financial and educational support to children with disabilities.”
She added: “The partnership also resulted in the Kuwait Universal Design Code to ensure that buildings across the country are accessible to all persons with disabilities. In addition, PADA’s collaboration with UNDP saw the launch of the Kuwait National Framework for Digital Accessibility to remove barriers in the use of information and communication technologies.”
The project is a catalyst for reform in PADA’s vision for an inclusive society, that focuses on the removal of barriers to social, economic and educational inclusion of persons with disability. This marks PADA’s continuous commitment to enhancing optimization, in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise in making education, healthcare and other sectors more friendly for people with disabilities.
With a total of 55,225 PWDs registered in Kuwait, PADA has been continuously working to enhance its key offerings to come up with new initiatives and ways to support and assist individuals and families of PWDs. Part of its 2018-2019 plan, the Authority has allocated a social benefits budget worth KD171 million, to ensure that PWDs are cared for.