Around one third of the 7 million people living with disabilities in Vietnam needed vocational training and employment, but faced obstacles such as transportation and inadequate support from employers, social welfare officials have said.

Nguyen Van Hoi, head of the Department of Social Protection under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, made this remark at a job fair for disabled people held on April 14 in Hanoi.

Hoi said despite the determination of people with disabilities to become independent and integrate with society, most of them faced an uphill struggle to find good jobs or vocational training.

"Even when they get jobs, the payment is very low," said Hoi.

The official called for cooperation among authorities and enterprises to find comprehensive solutions to help disabled people.

"The Government and local authorities need to provide more incentives for enterprises that employ disabled people," said Hoi.

Hoi also appealed to enterprises to improve their social responsibility for employees with disabilities by providing them jobs with convenient working conditions.

Nguyen Thi Chau Loan, Vice Chairwoman of the Thanh Tri Association of People with Disabilities, agreed with Hoi, saying that many disabled people were very professional at work but had to depend on help from others to perform basic daily tasks.

Loan said disabled people wanted to be accepted by society, but many jobs did not have the facilities to accommodate them, so they were forced to quit after a short time.

Trinh Xuan Dung, Vice Chairman of the Hanoi Association of People with Disabilities, said providing loans for disabled people to start their own household businesses had proven effective.

Dung said 8 billion VND (nearly 380.000 USD) had been loaned to 425 households with disabled members to invest in small scale enterprises, cultivation, and husbandry.

Each household received 1 million VND and they all repaid the money on time, said Dung.

However, Dung admitted the number of disabled people with access to these loans was still limited.

He said that 425 was a small number compared to the 9,000 disabled people in need of support in the capital.

Vietnam has one of the world's highest rates of people living with disabilities. Almost eight percent of the country's population has a disability.

Historically, people with disabilities in Vietnam have experienced reduced access to education and employment opportunities, particularly those living in rural areas.

However, the Government has been working closely with a number of domestic and overseas organisations, including UNICEF, USAID, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to promote a more inclusive society within Vietnam, and to bring it in line with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The National Action Plan to Support People with Disabilities (2012-2020) is currently working on improving accessibility to public buildings and transportation, early intervention, inclusive education, and medical and legal services. It also aims to provide vocational training and employment for 250,000 people with disabilities.-VNA