COPE (Cooperative Orthotic Prosthetic Enterprise)
COPE works throughout
Many of these bombs and other devices did not explode at the time. So, even though the war ended in 1975, the country is still littered with a significant amount of UXO's (unexploded ordnance) which also contributes to poverty, hunger and disability on a daily basis.
The last national census identified 57,000 people with a physical disability in
Rehabilitation is vital to ensure that people with disabilities are able to play active roles in their families and the wider community. COPE is working to develop Physiotherapy skills and has an extensive in service training and mentoring programme which this year will include a specialist in paediatrics. COPE works to ensure that those who cannot afford to pay receive a free rehabilitation service. An outreach programme began in 2009 to ensure that all sectors of the community are aware of their rights to access a free service, including transportation and related costs as poverty is often a barrier to access. COPE provides over 1200 devices every year, 400 wheelchairs, and other rehabilitation support.
The visitor centre opened in 2007 and provides visitors with the opportunity to understand the impact of UXO on Lao PDR, issues related to disability in developing countries and the work of the COPE project. It is a vital part of COPE's sustainability strategy to educate and raise funds. Some international funding is received, including from AUS AID but private donations are critical. Donations received through the Intrepid Foundation will help COPE expand the reach of their work, particularly in identifying patients and enabling their access to treatment and services.