HPD-O is an Ethiopian Residents Charitable Association re-registered with the Ethiopian Charities and Societies Agency and highly engaged in the promotion, implementation and support of comprehensive CBR program focused on educational and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities/PWDs. It was founded in December, 1994 and has been operating since then as a disability-focused association of PWDs formed by persons with and without disabilities. The membership of HPD-O has further been cross-impairment based, comprising persons with visual, hearing, physical, and other disabilities.
Such a diversified composition of membership that is inclusive of persons with and without disabilities represented a turning point in the formation of organizations of PWDs. At that time, the only organizations of PWDs in the country were not more than 2 but based on a single impairment membership that is exclusive of persons with other disabilities and without disabilities. Notably, such organizations that were operating before and during the formation of HPD-O, namely The Ethiopian National Associations-of the Blind and the Deaf, were not undertaking their activities within the context of CBR although they were doing some advocacy and support services for the benefit of their members.
It was in such a context that HPD-O had emerged and intervened with its integrative membership policy and as an implementer of CBR program that is cross-impairment and focused on educational and economic empowerment.
HPD-O’s CBR program further used to emphasize on including persons with sensory and intellectual disabilities like those with visual, hearing and/or speech impairments because these categories of PWDs were commonly left out of many CBR programs being erroneously considered to be people who demanded specialized interventions, professionals, and institutions rarely and expensively available rather than community settings and services.
Extensive CBR service canvas with a focus on educational and economic empowerment, cross-impairment intake of beneficiaries, inclusion of persons with sensory impairments, and deployment of PWDs themselves and their family members as CBR personnel-para professional and professional social workers-seemed over ambitious and improper for other CBR implementers at that time. Yet, as an organization of PWDs architectured and strategically led by innovative founders with high profile professional backgrounds, HPD-O was impressed and convinced to reflect and build upon the cross-impairment package of CBR program that had been introduced and implemented by the then Rehabilitation Agency of the Government of Ethiopia up until 1995 in Misraq Shoa and Arsi administrations. More importantly, the comprehensive and cross impairment approach of HPDO CBR program was developed and implemented with the valuable information and guidance acquired from the rules and principles of the World Program of Action Concerning Disabled Persons, and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for PWDs as well as by the Salamanca Statement and Framework of Action on Policies, Principles and Practices on Special Needs education of 1994 adopted and executed by the UN system.
To date, HPD-O has persisted in promoting, implementing and supporting comprehensive and cross-impairment CBR program for the last 17 years. It began implementing comprehensive CBR program since 1996 based on the felt needs of PWDs and their family members assessed by a survey conducted in 1995 the then Woreda 9, 10, and 11 located in North Addis Ababa-the locality known as Qechene. Additional surveys were also conducted in 1998 and 1999 with a view to expanding the CBR program to the then Woreda 1, 8, and 13 but within the areas surrounding the Qechene locality.
Tens of hundreds of beneficiaries from among PWDs traced and assessed in a total of 4600 households were addressed in 30 Qebeles covered by the comprehensive CBR program conducted in Addis Ababa from 1996 up to 2011 with the kind financial support of Save the Children Sweden, Oxfam GB, CRDA, Lliane Fond, Dark and Light and other funding partners. The CBR program implementation has also been extended to the Alemghena district in the Special Zone of Oromia Region surrounding Addis and to Semien Shoa-Amhara Region based on the results of other surveys conducted one after the other.
HPD-O believes that the comprehensive CBR practiced and the achievements recorded in Semien Shoa proved to be unique and powerful in the focus made, cross-impairment beneficiaries, diversified, and geographic locations covered with semi-urban villages added.
It has been HPD-O’s policy that CBR programs do better and become much more developmental if they aim at educational and/or economic empowerment with physical, medical, and psycho-social interventions helping to achieve the enablement of PWDs towards these goals. The financial support from the Local Cooperation Fund of the Embassy of Finland has been uniquely instrumental for HPD-O and its target beneficiaries in Semien Shoa to achieve these goals.
To this effect, HPD-O strongly appreciates the continued support extended by the Embassy of Finland for the improvement of the lives of impoverished adults with disabilities and for the enhanced equalization of opportunities of CWDs excluded or poorly included in Education.
Thus, on behalf and in the name of the Managing Board of HPD-O, I would like to seize this unique publication medium as a grand opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude and extend many thanks to the Embassy of Finland in general and to His Excellency the Ambassador of Finland- Leo Olasvirta for this kind meaningful and impact making support.
Chair Person of the Managing Board of HPD-O
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia