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Government committed to supporting employment of persons with disabilities (with photos)

     The Chief Secretary for the Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, and the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, today (October 9) visited the iBakery Gallery Cafˆm in Tamar Park at Admiralty to extend their congratulations on the Cafˆm's being awarded a "Corporate Citizen Award" under "The Spirit of Hong Kong Awards" organised by the South China Morning Post. The award commends the Cafˆm for fulfilling its social responsibility by employing persons with disabilities and offering them on-the-job training opportunities.

     Mrs Lam encouraged iBakery Gallery Cafˆm to continue employing persons with disabilities to unleash their full potential. "The Social Welfare Department (SWD) launched the 'Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise' Project (3E's Project) with a one-off provision of $50 million in 2001-02. Through the grant of seed money to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Project supports the establishment of small enterprises/businesses to create job opportunities for persons with disabilities. The iBakery Gallery Cafˆm is one of the social enterprises set up by the project's seed money," she said.

     "I was the Director of Social Welfare when the 3E's Project was launched. I am glad to see that the project has been well developed and has gained wide popularity since its launch some 10 years ago."

     The Government injected an additional $100 million into the project in January 2012 to enable the setting up of more small enterprises by NGOs to create further job opportunities for persons with disabilities. As at September 2015, subsidies of around $89 million had been granted to set up around 100 projects in a variety  of business including cleansing services, food and beverage, car care services, massage services provided by visually impaired persons, retail services, supply and processing of vegetables as well as eco-tourism. Some 1 050 jobs have been created, of which 741 are specially designed for persons with disabilities.

     Mr Cheung said that, in addition to the 3E's Project, the SWD also launched the Support Programme for Employees with Disabilities in June 2013, subsidising employers of persons with disabilities for procurement of assistive devices and/or workplace modifications, in order to assist them in their employment and enhance their work efficiency. The Labour Department also runs a Work Orientation and Placement Scheme to enhance the Government's support for employers of persons with disabilities, he added.

     "In addition to the Government's efforts, collaboration between the public and business sectors is also essential in facilitating the integration of persons with disabilities into the community. The Labour and Welfare Bureau, in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service and the Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities, launched the Talent-Wise Employment Charter and Inclusive Organisations Recognition Scheme in 2013 to promote co-operation among the Government, business sector, public and subvented organisations to provide more internship and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities," Mr Cheung said. So far, around 480 organisations have joined the Charter scheme.

     The Government has all along been committed to supporting the employment of persons with disabilities. A number of projects including "Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise", "Work Orientation and Placement Scheme" and "Support Programme for Employees with Disabilities" have been launched to help persons with disabilities to unleash their potential in various aspects. The participating organisations have been commended for their outstanding performances.

Ends/Friday, October 9, 2015
Issued at HKT 19:30


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