On December 5-6 2018, Green Tree International organised the inaugural International Cooperation Forum for Enabling Persons with Disabilities (ICFEPD) at the Regent Hotel in Singapore. The event was co-hosted by Disabled People’s Association as part of its ongoing efforts to share and learn from regional disability organisations about inclusive best practices. Green Tree International approached DPA for this partnership because of its relationship with DPA’s counterpart in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Disabled People’s International Korea.
The purpose of the ICFEPD was to promote multinational cooperation and knowledge sharing about disability health policies and programmes but also touch on the following areas:
• Knowledge sharing of rights protection and promotion for persons with disabilities
• Introduction of disability support policies, equipment and technology
• Establishment of international exchange and communication platform for sustainable support
Financially supported by the government of ROK, Ministry of Unification, the ICFEPD was an opportunity to bring together disability service professionals, disabled people’s organisations, companies with corporate social responsibility initiatives that work with the disability community and government representatives from both the ROK and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Although the ICFEPD mainly showcased support for persons with disabilities in the ROK and the DPRK, there was also opportunities for best practice sharing from other countries. Dr. Daiana Beitler, Director of Philanthropy Microsoft Asia, Mr. Daniel Hirsch, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Royal Norwegian Embassy Singapore and the Swiss Ambassador to Singapore, H.E. Fabrice Filliez and Dr. Wong Meng Ee from the National Institute of Education attended as invited guests and speakers. DPA’s Inclusion Ambassadors, Mrs. Margaret See Revalle, Mr. Iskandar Shah and Ms. Lily Goh, also participated in the ICFEPD along with the DPA Executive Director, Dr. Marissa Lee Medjeral-Mills.
Over the course of two days there were many presentations that ranged from Dr Beitler sharing about Microsoft’s efforts to be an inclusive company both in its hiring and its products to DPA’s Inclusion Ambassadors sharing about the programme and how it empowers persons with disabilities to be leaders in the push for a more inclusive society. Other highlights included hearing from Mr. Jungol O from the Korea Deaf Association in DPRK presenting about how the Deaf community is coming together over sign language and Dr. Sooyeon Kim speaking about how KT, ROK’s largest telecom provider, is working across the region on innovative projects that support empower persons with disabilities through ‘smart farms’, training blind people to use smart phone accessibility features, developing assistive devices for those who are Deaf-Blind to name but a few of their projects.
After the presentations and panel discussions were done the visiting delegation were invited to a site visit of an innovative and inclusive development at Kampong Admiralty in Singapore. Ms. Pearl Chee, Senior Associate at WOHA, the architecture firm responsible for the Kampong Admiralty project, gave the delegates a guided tour of the Singapore’s first integrated public development that brings together a mix of public facilities and services under one roof. The traditional approach is for each government agency to carve out their own plot of land, resulting in several standalone buildings. This one-stop integrated complex maximises land use, and is a prototype for meeting the needs of Singapore’s ageing population. The development adopts universal design principles, especially within the apartment units. As part of the natural aging process most people will acquire mobility and sensory impairments and as such this development not only promotes aging gracefully within the community, but also is more inclusive to persons with disabilities and the unique design helps build better community bonds.
Green Tree International hope to make the ICFEPD an annual event that brings together more organisations to have an ongoing dialogue about how persons with disabilities can be empowered and supported across in ROK, DPRK and across the region. DPA enjoyed being part of this forum and looks forward to working with Green Tree International again in the future.
About Green Tree International
Green Tree International (GTI) is a non-governmental organisation focusing on humanitarian support and helping people with disabilities in the ROK as well as the DPRK.
GTI has supported disability facilities (11 facilities for disabled children and 20 orphanages) in DPRK since 2010. More information about them can be found at their website.