The Central Council of Disables Persons, (CCODP) received a special commendation and certificate at the Dubai International Awards for Best Practice in 2002. The CCODP was chosen from among 550 submissions worldwide due to their outstanding achievements and exemplary approach to empowering disabled persons.
The Dubai International Award was launched in 1996 as a joint initiative between the Municipality of Dubai and UN-Habitat and Global network of Best Practice Partners to promote awareness in sustainable development issues and improvement of the living environment.
CCODP has been in the forefront in the implementation of Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) programs in Sri Lanka. Volunteers make house visits to create links with other disabled people and to teach families how to care for disabled family members. Chairperson, Raja Marasinghe, himself a cripple from the early 70s gives leadership to eleven others with disabilities in the activities of the CCODP.
The organisation works with several partners, both Governmental and NGOs to assist the disabled in their own communities. Yet the CCODP has no fixed grants from any government or non-governmental organizations.
Efforts are now being taken to make the CCODP entirely self-sufficient. The program trains disabled and disadvantaged adults in various skills/ trades to help them earn a living. Up-market tourist hotels are targeted to sell their products. This system has worked allowing the business to grow and support them.
Speaking on their achievement Marasinghe said, “We feel it is a great honour to Sri Lanka and specifically the community of persons with disabilities in recognizing that our efforts meet international standards. We are very happy with our achievements as Sri Lankans.”
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