A national council for people with disabilities will be set up in Venezuela, in an attempt to eliminate stigma, announced President Nicolas Maduro in a national address Monday.
The Presidential Council for People with Disabilities will be created to strengthen the participation of disabled persons in state and societal affairs, as well as increase awareness and eliminate discrimination towards disabled individuals across the country.
In the past months, Venezuela has tried to address the needs of the country's large disabled community.
Last week, the country’s most populous state, Zulia, created 55 local committees for people with disabilities.
Of Venezuela’s 23 states, Zulia has one of the highest populations of disabled people.
The eventual goal in Zulia, according to one coordinator, Mark Azuaje, is to create a committee in each community council throughout the state.
Earlier this year, the country passed an affirmative action law, which mandates that at least five percent of company employees must be people with disabilities, to ensure that employers cannot reject persons on the grounds of their physical challenges.
The law also stipulates that people with disabilities should enjoy “full and autonomous exercise of his or her capacities,” and that they are facilitated to properly provide for their families.
Venezuela has also instituted health programs focused on the needs of disabled people, and has widened access to education, according to Venezuelanalysis.
In the same speech, the president also announced the approval of a Presidential Council for Elderly People, which will represent the needs of Venezuela's ageing population.
Venezuela’s Presidential Councils are created based on the suggestion of social organizations, looking for better representation of minority populations in state affairs.
The two new councils announced will join seven other recently-created Presidential Councils, which include: Women, Cultural, Indigenous, Community, Working Class, Youth and the Farmers and Fishermen's councils.