Bhubaneswar: Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday with international development organization ‘Sightsavers’ to promote socio-economic development of persons with disabilities (PwDs) and inclusive eye health services for vulnerable population in 12 districts of the state- Ganjam, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Kandhamal, Anugul, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Debagarh, Khordha and Cuttack.
SSEPD minister Prafulla Samal, who was present on the occasion, said, “Odisha government is fully committed to improve the lives of PWDs in the state, and this MoU with Sightsavers will add value to the government’s work for their welfare.”
In his address, principal secretary, SSEPD department Niten Chandra stated that the department is currently focused on development of PwDs at village and gram panchayat level by facilitating them into various welfare schemes and entitlements of the government. The MoU with Sightsavers will commensurate the department’s vision of creating an enabling environment that facilitates all rounds development of the vulnerable population of the state, he added
State programme head, Sightsavers Akbar Mehfuz Alam said, “As part of the MoU, Sightsavers will provide technical support to the SSEPD department in facilitating inclusion of persons with disabilities in matters related to private sector employment, skill development and developing sustainable livelihood models for PwDs in the state.”
“Sightsavers will work with the SSEPD department and other government agencies like Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM), Vocational Rehabilitation Center (VRC), Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) to create livelihood and employability opportunities for PwDs in the state. The partnership will benefit more than 3lakhyouths with disabilities in the state and will develop model inclusive panchayats responsible for PwDs,” he added.
Sightsavers CEO RN Mohanty emphasized that the organization is looking forward to work with the government to scale up livelihood and skill development among disabled persons.
Project Officer of Sightsavers Jagannath Nayak said the organization will work with the government to develop model Inclusive Gram Panchayats in the state, which would be scaled up to different parts of the state.