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According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, there are over 400 million persons with disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region, (approximately two thirds of the world’s population of persons with disabilities), with 80% of them living in rural areas of the region.
In addition, the Asia-Pacific region is the most disaster-prone area in the world, with over 50% of the world disasters occurring there. The region experiences with regular frequency, geological hazards such as earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as with increasing frequency, weather-related hazards such as typhoons, floods, droughts and wildfires.
Australia: Mr. Michael Galea
Bangladesh: Mr. Vashkar Bhattacharjee
India: Ms. Anjlee Agarwal
Malaysia: Ms. Ch’ng Gaik Bee
Nepal: Mr. Deepak KC
Philippines: Mr. Ronnel Del Rio
Sri Lanka: Mr. Charles Mendis
Mike is an Architectural Building Designer, Project Manager and Access Consultant. His career spanning over 40 years, has specialised in “Accessible Living” and advocating against Disability Discrimination. He advises to all levels of government, in particular Local Government Australia wide. He lectures on Disability Discrimination and Disability Awareness to governments, in addition to community and commercial organisations. He has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 29 years, which has taken most of his sight in addition to causing him to have a range of physical and sensory impairments.
Vashkar is primarily engaged as a Program Manager of Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), a social development organization directed towards assisting development initiatives to bring positive socio-economic change since 1985. Vashkar is the focal person for DAISY in Bangladesh, a Switzerland based International e-accessibility consortium pioneering research, development, production and distribution of disabled friendly technology solutions worldwide.
Vashkar is also the official Convener of the National ICT Thematic Group. This group has been established to advise the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh Government to ensure accessibility to ICT for people with disabilities.
Anjlee Agarwal is Co-founder and Executive Director of Samarthyam, a national civil society and research organization, involved in disseminating Universal Accessibility awareness through a novel model which primarily focuses on enabling inclusion of persons with disabilities to access education, tourism, transportation and environment, devoid of any hindrance. Since 1998, she has been promoting Inclusive Environments through Universal Design in public spaces and transportation systems. She has presented more than 57 papers nationally & internationally, authored several manuals, guidelines and codes and published numerous articles in various publications.
Ch’ng Gaik Bee (Hjh.Dalilah Bee Abdullah) is currently serving as Deputy Director / Architect in Kuala Lumpur City Hall Training Institute in Malaysia. Dalilah studied architecture at the University of Technology Malaysia. Upon graduation, she worked with various government agencies including the Ministry of Public Works, The Central Terengganu Development Authority and the Department of Local Government in the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Since 1996 she joined Kuala Lumpur City Hall (KLCH) as an architect. She was seriously involved in the work and improvements in infrastructure and built-environment for people with disabilities since 1998. She is the Technical Committee panel for Code Of Practices On Building For Disabled Peoples (MS1184 Revision And MS 1331) on Accessibility Design For Disabled Persons. She is also a member of the technical committee for the National Advisory and Consultative Council for Persons with Disabilities, as well as coordinating secretary for Disabled Persons Development Committee Kuala Lumpur City Hall since 2006 until now.
Deepak KC of Nepal, is currently working for the Independent Living Centre-Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Nepal. He is actively involved in Nepal’s disability movement. As a freelance architect in Nepal, he is active in designing projects related to accessibility issues, writing proposals, composing reports and expanding relationships with organizations having similar interests, values and missions. He has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture Engineering from Kathmandu Engineering College, Kathmandu Engineering College – Tribhuvan University of Nepal and a Diploma in Architecture Engineering from the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Engineering College – Tribhuvan University of Nepal.
Ronnel has a Masters in Management Technology from De La Salle Lipa in the Philippines and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Philippine Christian University. Ronnel is an Official Delegate of the Philippines to the High Level Inter-governmental Meeting on the Formulation of the Incheon Strategy held on October 28 to November 2, 2012 in Incheon, Republic of South Korea and was chosen by UN ESCAP as the lone Filipino Promoter of Making the Right Real for Persons With Disabilities 2013-2022. Ronnel is also working as a Housing & Homesite Regulatory Affairs Officer for the Provincial Government of Batangas.
Charles is Consultant Quantity Surveyor & Project Manager and Visiting Instructor for Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka. He has experience in the field of surveying rendering services under the Department of Buildings and National Housing Development Authority. He is able to design homes and building plans according to the clients brief and their satisfaction. As a project designer he has also completed many retrofits and renovations of existing houses and buildings.
Charles has rendered services in order to eradicate discriminatory environmental barriers, converting those to disability friendly environments and enabling every citizen access to built environments. He contributed to the preparation of a construction guideline for use by the Sri Lanka Parliament Act requiring designers, planners, and builders strictly comply with these guidelines as stipulated in the government gazette notice of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (EXTRAORDINARY) of No.1,467/15-Tuesday,October 17, 2006.
In order to make an inclusive society a reality, it is necessary to identify and remove barriers to access.