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Australian Deputy Head of Mission Visits Project Benefitting People with Disabilities in Cebu City

Cebu City, April 24, 2014 — Australia’s Deputy Head of Mission in the Philippines, David Dutton, visited the beneficiaries of the Gualandi Volunteer Service Programme (GVSP) in Cebu City on April 23, 2014.

With support from the Australian Government through the Philippines-Australia Community Assistance Program (PACAP), GVSP is currently implementing an awareness-raising project on the rights of the Deaf in Central Visayas.

The Break the Silence Project empowers at least 2,000 adults and children who are deaf with the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to prevent or appropriately respond to child sexual abuse and exploitation. Through the project, GVSP also trains local government partners and the Philippine National Police in Region 7 on deaf culture and sign language to help them deal with cases involving deaf victims.

The visit allowed GVSP staff and volunteers, as well as project beneficiaries, to update Dutton on the gains of the project and expressed their gratitude for Australia’s support.

Dutton acknowledged GVSP’s hard work and commitment to empowering the Deaf. He said, “Australia has a strong commitment to disability-inclusive development. It is not right that a person’s disability should determine whether they can go to school, or get a job or participate in community life. Let us leave no-one behind.”

“Australia is working with partners to tackle the stigma that still surrounds disability, which can be one of the largest barriers to full participation of people with disabilities in community and economic life.  Australia is proud to partner with GVSP, an organisation that shares Australia’s commitment to improve the lives of people with disabilities.”

PACAP is a PHP2 billion facility supported by the Australian Government. The facility aims to strengthen civil society and reduce poverty by providing direct assistance to communities. It has been supporting Filipino communities for 28 years and has awarded over 2,200 grants benefiting more than 1.4 million poor people.

Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country’s largest bilateral grant aid donors.

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