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Disabled Trained to Encourage Voting

The UNDP is supporting the disabled in the election, fearing that in polls past they have not been encouraged to choose their representatives.

Through cooperation with the Cambodian Disabled People's Organization, the UNDP provided training Tuesday to 50 disabled people from 10 provinces, who are then expected to return home and educate other disabled about the importance of voting.

Aimee Brown, a spokeswoman for the UNDP, said Tuesday the training not only urged the disabled to vote, but also provided them awareness of democracy and their role in society.

This is the first such training under support of the UNDP.

Ngin Saorath, executive director of the Cambodian Disabled People's Organization, said Tuesday that many disabled have forgotten their value in society. There is little encouragement, and they are prone to silence as the election approaches, he said.

Leng Sokhorn, a 23-year-old from Prey Veng province who was born without fingers, said most of the disabled in her province would not go to vote, especially women, who tend toward despondency and believe they have no value.

Landmines, war injuries, disease and accidents have produced in Cambodia more than 600,000 disabled, between 4 percent and 5 percent of the population.

The National Election Committee will provide assistants at polling stations to help disabled voters caste their ballots. The NEC has also created a special ballot for the blind.