Established in 2001, the Lao Disabled People's Association (LDPA) is a membership-based organisation for people with disability advocating disability rights and providing services to members based on their needs. The LDPA is one of the few officially recognised non profit associations in Lao PDR. The LDPA is also an officially registered civil society organisation. The LDPA has over 9,000 members from across the country but we seek to represent the interests of all people with disability within Lao PDR irrespective of their membership status. The LDPA does this at a national and provincial level. At the LDPA's head office in Vientiane Capital we work in partnership with several organisations on strategic advocacy and rights-based projects. We also provide outreach, opportunity and empowerment at a provincial level where members are organised into groups (cells) coordinated by cell secretaries.VISION The Vision of the Lao Disabled People's Association is; "Equal opportunity for all people". ORGANISATIONAL PURPOSE The Lao Disabled People's Association promotes the rights of people with disability, empowering them to personal achievement, assisting them to participate in all parts of social, cultural, political and economic life. ORGANISATIONAL VALUES We help our members to help themselves. We recognise people with disability are diverse, and have many and different needs. We actively pursue opportunities. We use our resources wisely. We work as a team and in partnership, for the benefit of people with disability. 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 nations 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.
Negative stereotypes and social stigma towards people with disability remain common in Laos and people with disability generally have more limited access to the health, education and employment. Discrimination is also reflected in some regulations. For example, people unable to walk are not licensed to drive. Stigma and discrimination wear way at the self-confidence and self-worth, causing many people with disability to become isolated.
In its short life in Laos, wheelchair basketball has begun to tackle the challenges of stigma and discrimination: Players develop greater self-confidence and active social engagement, leading to positive outcomes in other areas of their lives As super-fit athletes despite disability, players are role models for all disabled people, challenging stereotypes and negative assumptions about capability. Success will open opportunities for other sports suited to people with disability
Expectation is that this program, along with other disability sports, and in concert with advocacy activities of LDPA, will help the wider community to accept and include people with disability in all aspects of life, allowing Laos to benefit from the full potential of people with disability. This will require ongoing work across a range of fronts - with wheelchair basketball already a highly valuable part of this strategy