The Laos Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) is a civil society organisation and the sole Disabled People’s Organisation (DPO) that encompasses all people with disability in Laos. The LDPA is recognised as the nation’s leading DPO, and serves an important role as the peak advocacy body for people with disability.
The LDPA was recognised as an Association on July 20th 2001 under Article 44 of the Laos Constitution. On September 13th 2011 the LDPA was registered as an Association as per the Decree on Associations, as administered by the Public Administration and Civil Service Authority (PACSA).
The LDPA promotes the rights and interests of people living with disability, and supports a membership based network of ten provincial branches and one branch in Vientiane Capital, as well as numerous cell groups in both urban and rural areas. Cell groups function as volunteer based, self help groups, and members feed information to, and receive information from, headquarters. This two way dialogue is crucial to building human rights based knowledge, and other essential information about services, networks and many other issues for people with disability, from central level to grassroots level.
However the LDPA does not work only at the community level, and is effective at supporting the Government as it implements the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The LDPA Executive President is also a member of the National Committee for Disabled Persons.
Since 2001 the LDPA has successfully developed and delivered many projects and initiatives that have enhanced the quality of life for people with disability. The LDPA creates strong partnerships with government and non-government organisations at local, national, regional and international levels. Current partners include; Asian Development with Disabled Persons, Association for Aid and Relief (Japan), Australian Volunteers for International Development, Australian Sports Outreach Program, Ban Advocates, Basic Needs, CARE Australia, Caritas Australia, Eden International, the French Embassy, Handicap International (HI), Hope Haven International, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Lao Association for the Blind, Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC), Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, National Regulatory Authority, Physical Medical Rehabilitation Centre, POWER International, Rural Research Development Training Centre, Swedish Organisations’ of Persons with Disabilities International Aid Association, UNICEF, United Nations Development Program, World Vision.
Increased organisational capacity has enabled LDPA members and other people with disability to have better lives, and has contributed to an increase in awareness of the rights of people with disability throughout society. However there is still much work to be done in order for the LDPA to have its vision and mission fulfilled.