ABOUT US

WORKABILITY ASIA

History

Service providers and disability organizations who have been working for work and employment of people with disabilities in Asia participated the international organization, Workability International, and created Workability Asia (WAsia) as its regional group in 2004. The first conference of WAsia was held in Taipei, Taiwan in 2006.
Workability International (WI) is the world’s largest body representing providers of work and employment services to Persons with disabilities. More than 3 million persons with disabilities are engaged in work programs delivered by its 70 member organizations in Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
In the Year 2008 when WI’s Annual Conference was held in Sapporo, Japan, it was a re-starting point for Workability Asia. Persons from key organizations recognized the important role of a disability employment network in Asia.
New Board of Directors were elected in the Annual General Meeting in Manila, Philippines in 2009 and they have started to work on reviewing and discussing about its structure, membership, finance and activities to make a network more viable and sustainable.
Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting have been held in different countries or areas by the hosting of member organizations.
Within the framework of this momentum, the number of member organizations has increased and it has 36 organizations as of 1st June 2014 in 12 countries/areas such as Bangladesh, Hong Kong (China) , India, Japan, Macau (China), Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific reported that around 650 million persons with disabilities live in Asia and the Pacific. This is nearly two-thirds of world’s population of persons with disabilities. Most live in poverty and have less economic participation and hence are disproportionately poorer than persons without disabilities. Job and employment is one of the best means of overcoming poverty.
Members of Workability Asia therefore make their best effort to secure the right to work for persons with disabilities, to create opportunities of gainful employment in respective countries/areas.

Mission

  1. To expand and strengthen member organizations in coverage of Asia
  2. To coordinate with International Networks
  3. To exchange of knowledge and mutual support of the member organizations and International networks mainly to develop personnel and give support for initiation of laws, policies, guidelines plans or good case-studies for generating jobs and promoting employments for Persons with disabilities.

VALUE

Believe in potential, worth, rights and human dignity of Persons with Disabilities. Mutual support of one and another on an equal basis for creating employments, will lead to independent living with happiness.

Vision

Being a leading organization building cooperation among member organizations and International networks for developing potential of member organizations in generating jobs and promoting decent work for Persons with disabilities in Asia.

ACTIVITIES

“Annual Conference”

 Holding a conference once a year in countries/areas in turn by a hosting of member organizations. Conference is open to both members and non-members. Updated information and good practices on promoting work and employment of persons with disabilities are introduced and shared among participants. Holding conference attracts a lot of attention on work and employment of persons with disabilities to people of hosting country and area.
During the conference the Annual General Meeting is scheduled which is for members’participation.

“Knowledge Sharing”

 Issue newsletters several times a year and deliver to members and non-members as well.
News contents are regional and international topics with regard to disability, work and employment in particular, domestic reports, members’ update, conference or meeting announcements, etc.

“Exchange Program”

 Coordinate study visits or staff training programs among members in specific themes on work and employment of persons with disabilities so as to develop their knowledge and skills.

“Study and Research”

 Conduct study and research on governments’ policies, innovative initiatives by private sectors, etc. in promoting work and employment opportunities of persons with disabilities in Asian region and return its outcome to members and non-members as well.

“Networking”

 Have close relations with regional and international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental bodies, who actively contribute to solve a range of problems preventing social inclusion of persons with disabilities especially in the area of work and employment.

Board & Secretariat

 Katsunori Fujii is the Executive Director of the KYOSAREN, Japan Association of Community Workshops for People with Disabilities.

He started his career in the disability field as a teacher at a special school for children with physical disabilities run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. From the mid- 1970s, he participated in the establishment of sheltered workshops for people with severe disabilities and took a key role to set up a network of such sheltered workshops in 1977, which later became KYOSAREN, and today there are around 2,000 member organizations nationwide. He also opened a first sheltered workshop for people with psychiatric disabilities in Japan in 1970s.

He was appointed as the Chairperson of the Executive Board of the Japan Disability Forum which was established in 2004 as a network of major disability organizations of Japan. JDF is working as a counterpart of the Government in the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities, and in creating disability related policies.

He was honoured as one of ten Asia-Pacific Champions of Disability Rights for the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons 2013-2022 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Vice Chairperson / Deborah Wan / Hong Kong China

Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities, Hong Kong, ChinaDeborah Wan, a registered social worker of Hong Kong, has been working as the CEO of New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association from 1981 to 2009.  Ever since retirement in 2009, I have been actively doing volunteer work in the rehabilitation and mental health fields.

I am currently the Immediate Past President of the World Federation for Mental Health, the Chair of the Subcommittee of Employment of Rehabilitation Advisory Committee of Hong Kong.  As the Vice Chairperson of the Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities, I represent Hong Kong at Workability Asia, serving as the Vice President from June 2012 and as a Director of Workability International from October 2012.

Chief Coordinator of Dual Blessing Bhd (non profit organisation) Johor Branch.

 

Director / Patrick Yeh / Taiwan

Mr. Patrick Ying-Ping YEH, President of Eden Social Welfare Foundation【Taiwan】.  Mr. Patrick Ying-Ping YEH from Eden Social Welfare Foundation in Taiwan has been volunteering as the member in the Board of Director for the past ten years. As an Executive Director, he is mainly in charge of the gospel and welfare also international affairs, distributing resources from abroad to around 80 service centers of EDEN within Taiwan. Besides being in charge of brother organization and overseas branch office affairs, he has connected outside resources to Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, also our Vietnam Service Center in Ho Chi Minh City, China Sichuan service centers – set up for the 512 earthquake victims – which have now been transferred from rehabilitation service centers to a social enterprise.  Mr. YEH is glad to share the EDEN Taiwan local experience with international participants, as well as to bring back precious feedback all the times.

Director / Suporntum Mongkolsawadi / Thailand

Suporntum holds Master of Arts (Political Economy) Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Master of Social Welfare (Management of Social Welfare Project) Huachiew Chalermprakiat University, Bangkok. Suporntum currently serves as Secretary General of the Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities (RFPD), Pattaya Thailand in order to make the “Right Real” especially employment promotion. Suporntum has been leading for setting up a successful Vocational Training School and Job Placement Agency with almost 30 years of experience.

He is a member of Thai National Board for Empowerment of People with Disabilities chaired by the Prime Minister and various national and international bodies.

Director / Dipesh Sutariya / India

Dipesh Sutariya is the Co-Founder and CEO of Enable India, a non profit organization that works for the economic independence and dignity of persons with disability across India, since 1999. Dipesh Sutariya is transforming attitudes towards employment of the disabled and creating a new market in which the needs of the corporate sector are met by a growing group of disabled professionals who will dispel the myths and stereotypes about hiring persons with disability.

Dipesh holds a Masters degree in computer science, from U.S.A. With the mix of corporate and development experience of over 24+ years he has brought the professional balance to the sector of disability. He is a learner and a catalyst leader who can provide strategic direction to the development sector.  He is also an Executive council and founding member of the DNA(Disability NGOs Alliance).

Director / Dr.Shamim Ferdous / Bangladesh

Dr.Shamim Ferdous, Executive Director has been working in Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation a non-government and non-political organization working for the children disabilities and disadvantage since 1987.She is also conducted research on Child Disabilities and Child Protection.

She attended in the conference in India, France, Australia, Philippine, USA, England, Korea, Singapore, Cambodia, Bangkok, Vietnam, Japan, Saudi-Arabia, Srilanka and also attended in the several National conferences. More than twelve articles have been published in International and National Scientific Journals. She also involved as a consultant of World Bank to train a group of Doctors to work in community to identify children with disability in Ethiopia in2006.

She is actively involved in Income Generating Program, Inclusive Employment and Child Protection. She is the member of workability Asia, workability-International, Asia Oceania Child Neurology, South Asian Violence against Children, Bangladesh Society for Child Neurology, Development and Disability, Bangladesh Pediatric Association and Child Rights Governance Assembly.

Auditor / Jocelyn Garcia / Philippines

  • Exec.Vice Pres./ Chief Operations Officer – Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (TWH)
  • Board  Auditor – WAsia
  • President – WOW Leap (Women with Disabilities Leap to Social and Economic Progress

Joy is an active advocate for persons with disability in the Philippines. In her quest for change she organizes advocacy and lobbying activities, attended consultations and policy change/formulation promoting rights-based society. Together with NCDA, she organizes group discussion and capacity building from the grassroots level.

As a strong advocate for women with disability she also joined consultations, talk about different concerns e.g. violence against women, sexual and reproductive health issues i.e. “the right to have a family”.

TWH is proud to be a member of WAsia, Joy believes that this cooperation would strengthen and sustain the enterprising capacity of the center and for the whole populace to understand that work and employment will alleviate poverty in this country.

Secretary General / Ms. Sakulthip Kiratiphantawong /Thailand 

With experienced in promoting business practices with Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance in Thai Capital Market. Currently Sakulthip is Co-Founder and Managing Director of NISECorp, a social enterprise in Thailand and a pioneer in developing the Social Enterprise eco-system in Thailand. She is pioneer of BCORP Movement in Thailand, the high rigorous social impact assessment standard in more than 50 countries in the world, and also leading the BCORP Asia movement. Moreover, she is lead of Social Value Thailand, the network of practitioner of Social Return on Investment (SROI) and become the associated member of Social Value International.

In voluntary basis, she is also Secretary General and Founding Member of Workability Thailand (WTH), A non-profit organization which aim to promoting competitive employment for person with disabilities and vulnerable group in Thailand and across Asia. Besides, she is appointed to be the Secretary General of Workability ASIA (WASIA), A nonprofit organization which aim to be a leading organization building cooperation among member organizations and International networks for developing potential of member organizations in generating jobs and promoting decent work for Persons with disabilities in Asia.

After graduating from university, she started to work as a staff member at a group home where 4 persons with intellectual disabilities live together in Osaka. They taught her a lot of things and she found she needed them in her life. She was secretary for a group for mothers of children with intellectual and physical disabilities and helped establish an after-school club for their children. She also was a staff member at a sheltered workshop for persons with severe intellectual disabilities. After 9 years of hands-on participation in the field, she shifted her focus and now works as a secretary for KYOSAREN, Japan Association of Community Workshops for People with Disabilities in Tokyo. She is also serving as a secretary for Workability Asia and Workability International Japan.