Yangon MP urges more support for blind students


YANGON — Local lawmaker U Yan Shin (National League for Democracy, Mayangone-1) has urged the regional government to maintain funding to students at the Yangon School for the Blind in his constituency highlighting the lack of support services for disabled youth.

The school, which currently has 152 blind students enrolled and already relies heavily on private donations, has until early this year received a K79,000 annual stipend for each student it supports under the age of 21. The threshold was lowered on April 1 to only include students aged 18 and under.

In the Yangon assembly Wednesday, Yan Shin said that the government should maintain the existing threshold, as blind students faced greater hurdles in passing their high school matriculation exams and pursuing further education at university.

He added that disabled people were worried that the government would further scale down public support in future.

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Without responding to Yan Shin’s appeal, Yangon Minister of Social Affairs U Naing Ngan Lin rose to highlight government support of non-profit centres across the region.

He said that the government funded public charity and disability centres at a sliding scale, with those centres providing services to under 50 people receiving 100 percent of their funding from the government, up to 25 percent for those with 300 or more.

Naing Ngan Lin noted the school had been provided with K8.6 million for the 2017-18 financial year.

Yan Shin made repeated appeals for the government to reconsider the decision, without avail.

“Those blind students have to rely on someone else every day,” he said. “The government should provide for them to at least some extent, even if it is not much.”

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