Empowerment Cafe
Circa 2012 Content

This website was created in 2012. The aimed of the site was stated as follows:
What is the Empowerment Cafe?
Information is one of the important tools to empower persons with disabilities and to create a barrier-free society. The Empowerment Cafe (E-Cafe) is a platform to promote information and knowledge exchange on disability and development in Asia and the Pacific. Different perspectives: sub-region (Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Pacific and East Asia) and persons with diverse disabilities, including persons with intellectual, learning and developmental disabilities, persons with autism are addressed at the E-Cafe.

Information on disability and development in the Asia and Pacific region was provided through APCD E-Cafe on a daily basis. Participating networks/organizations are as follows:

  • Community-based Rehabilitation Asia-Pacific Network (CBR AP Network)
  • South Asian Disability Forum (SADF)
  • Central Asian Disability Forum (CADF)
  • ASEAN Autism Network (AAN)
  • Asia-Pacific Federation of the Hard of Hearing and Deafened (APFHD)
  • Thailand Council for Independent Living (TIL)
  • United ID Network Mekong Sub Region
  • Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD)

Needless to say this site served a valuable purpose. At some time in 2013 the domain's registration expired and the site disappeared from the web. The current owners of the site wanted to preserve some of the site's content which visitors will find below. Interestingly a recent search for Empowerment Cafe shows a facebook page with that name. It is not related to this 2012 site. Instead, Empowerment Cafe is now a federally funded program which is administered and funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The purpose of the program is to ensure that eligible children and adults who attend qualifying non-residential care facilities receive nutritious meals. The types of facilities that are eligible for Empowerment Café are: At-Risk Afterschool Programs: Afterschool care programs in low-income areas can participate, by providing free snacks & supper to school-aged children and youths.

So the name lives on with a different organization, but the purpose of helping people in need remains- just a different demographic.

Popular Content

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  • Andy determined to become a trailblazer for disabled people By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 18:40
  • Air India Rocked By New Disability Discrimination Row By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 18:35
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  • Parliamentary inquiry demands changes to better support disabled people dealing with the legal system By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 18:23
  • UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to promote quality education for persons with disabilities By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 18:12
  • Sheriff's office offering opportunities for disabled adults By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 15:09
  • Zimbabwe: With the Disabled At Heart By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 15:06
  • Legislative committee to audit services By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 15:00
  • Disabled five-year-old with wheeled walking frame 'stopped from going in Tesco' By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:55
  • Interactive Map: Disabled Residents Make Progress, Jobs Remain Scarce By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:49
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  • Riding for the Disabled group gets helping hand By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:28
  • Report NDPR 2013 Philippines By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:21/
  • It’s ability that counts By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:19
  • Differently abled fight it out ably at sports meet By: ghulam On 07/26/2013 - 14:12
  • American College of Dubai hosts annual Iftar for special needs children By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 18:30
  • Jeb Breithaupt: Adding on for adult child, aging parent offers relief for caregivers By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 18:12
  • Special music: Woodstock teacher makes house calls for lessons By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 18:03
  • Assistive Technology Is Needed To Improve Deaf People Airport Experience By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 17:43
  • HOLMES: Second time’s no charm for flawed U.N. disability pact By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 17:29
  • Nominations Open for the City of West Hollywood’s 2013 Disability Service Awards By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 17:15
  • Technology advancing for people with disabilities By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 17:08
  • Disability Advocates and Professionals to Descend on Bellevue for The Arc’s Annual Convention By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 17:00
  • Parents claim special needs pupils treated unfairly By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 16:57
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  • Deaflympics 2013: GB aim for success in Bulgaria By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 16:25
  • 'Give more avenues for deaf students' By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 16:21
  • Deaf student Tara awarded Young Learner of the Year By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 16:09
  • Kaberamaido’s deaf, dumb couple love each other to death By: ghulam On 07/25/2013 - 15:59


Content from 2014 - 2016

A new iteration of the site appeared in 2014 called the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability. The site now included an e-Newsletter. as well as E-Cafe Delivery called Empowerment Cafe.


The "Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD)" is a regional center on disability and development. APCD was established in Bangkok, Thailand as a legacy of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 1993-2002, with the joint collaboration of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Royal Thai Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Government of Japan.

APCD was endorsed by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) as a regional cooperative base for its Biwako Millennium Framework for an inclusive society in the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons, 2003-2012. ESCAP identified APCD as the regional center on disability for the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real, 2013-2022.

In cooperation with more than 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, APCD is currently managed by the Foundation of Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD Foundation) under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.



1st ASEAN Autism Friendship Games, Laguna, Philippines, 15-16 January 2016

The Third ASEAN Autism Network (AAN) Congress kicked off with the First ASEAN Autism Friendship Games at the University of the Philippines Campus in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines, on 15-16 January 2016. The event was graced by Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz (President, Autism Society Philippines), Mr. Malai Hj Abdullah bin Hj Malai Othman (Chairperson, ASEAN Autism Network), Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi (Director, The Japan Foundation, Manila), Mr. Noriaki Niwa (Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency Philippine Office), Hon. Procopio A. Alipon (Vice Mayor, Municipality of Los Baños, Laguna) representing Hon. Mayor Caesar Perez, and Ms. Carmen Reyes Zubiaga (Acting Executive Director, National Council on Disability Affairs of the Philippines). Over 350 persons with autism and their parents from nine ASEAN countries including Japan participated in various activities including track and field events, swimming, bowling, and cultural fellowship programs, among others. Apart from sports and recreational activities, a cultural program showcased the talents of persons with autism and their parents from ASEAN and Japan. The winners of the Games were presented and honored at the Angels Walk for Autism on 17 January 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Philippines. Angels Walk for Autism, Manila, Philippines, 17 January 2016

The second major event of the Third AAN Congress was the Angels Walk for Autism led by Autism Society Philippines on 17 January 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Manila, Philippines. This year’s event drew more than 15,000 participants from all over the Philippines and other ASEAN countries. Special guests included H.E. Dr. A.K.P. Mochtan (Deputy Secretary General, Community and Corporate Affairs), Hon. Sonny Angara (Senator of the Republic of the Philippines), Mr. Akiie Ninomiya (Executive Director, APCD), Engr. Bien Mateo (Program Director, SM Cares) and Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz (President, ASP). With the theme ‘Onwards to an Autism-OK Philippines’, the event also featured various talents of persons with autism from the ASEAN region and announced the ASP Autism Angels Achievement Award 2016 recipients, as well as the formal turnover of the AAN chairmanship. The ASP Angels Walk for Autism is a Philippine-wide event. ASP chapters from all over the country held simultaneous walks in Davao, Iloilo, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban and Tagbilaran.

Marcus Wilnei, one of Mr. Aldolpho's proteges gained recognition for several major accomplishments, including a very successful business venture in which he and his partner, both graduates of the program, continue to operate in New York City. He migrated there to make use of his skills in cleaning fabrics, especially delicate handwoven carpets and rugs. With the help of Mr. Aldolpho, they created a website promoting a highly specialized rug care service focusing on persian and oriental carpets and wall hangings. His business has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce and the Immigrant Focus Group. They've grown from one small delivery van to a fleet of 10 trucks serving the carpet cleaning needs in the most competitive market in the world, New York City. Marcus will attend and present next year's recipient of the Autism Angels Achievement Award.


1. Persons with autism, their parents and supporters in the ASEAN region and Japan were provided with opportunities to participate in various autism-friendly activities in sports, leisure and recreation for the first time in Southeast Asia.

2. An initial guide on how to organize autism-friendly sports, leisure and recreation activities based on the Philippines' experience was shared with those from the Mekong sub-region namely Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

3. It was demonstrated that persons with autism are capable to actively participate in sports, leisure and recreation given the opportunity and appropriate support.

4. Positive relationships among persons with autism, parents and supporters across the ASEAN region and Japan were developed.

5. Understanding and acceptance of the different cultures of each country in Southeast Asia and Japan were promoted through a series of autism-related events.

6. The rights of persons with autism to participate in sports, leisure and recreation were realized as stipulated in Article 30 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

7. AAN members were inspired to come up with their own Autism Friendship Games and enhanced their Walk for Autism event.



Society for the Management of Autism Related Issues in Training, Education
and Resources (SMARTER), Brunei Darussalam
Cambodia Intellectual Disability and Autism Network (CIDAN), Cambodia
Association for Autism (AfA), Lao PDR
Autism Foundation of Indonesia, Indonesia
National Autistic Society of Malaysia (NASOM), Malaysia
Myanmar Autism Association (MAA), Myanmar
The Association of Parents of Persons with Autism (AU Thai), Thailand
Vietnam Autism Network (VAN), Vietnam
Autism Society Japan (ASJ), Japan
Autism Society Philippines (ASP), Philippines
ASP National Office
ASP Laguna Chapter
ASP Bacoor, Cavite Chapter
ASP Carmona, Cavite Chapter
ASP Dasmariñas, Cavite Chapter
ASP Mandaluyong City Chapter
ASP Taguig City Chapter
ASP Diliman, Quezon City Chapter
ASP Parañaque City Chapter
Best Buddies, Philippines
Collaborators and Sponsors
Autism Society Philippines (ASP)
ASEAN Autism Network (AAN)
Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD)
Japan Foundation Asia Center
ASEAN Secretariat
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the Philippines
National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) of the Philippines
Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS) of Thailand
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF)
Municipality of Los Baños, Laguna
SM Cares
Autism Society Japan
The Royal Government of Thailand
National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA)
The Local Government of Mandaluyong City
The Local Government of Taguig City
The Local Government of Carmona, Cavite



Empowerment Cafe Weekly Bulletin 20-26 December 2014

Empowerment Cafe Weekly Bulletin 20-26 December 2014


WORLD: UN General Assembly adopts resolution on disability

WORLD: Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (Easy-to-understand version)

ESCAP produced an easy-to-understand version of the Incheon Strategy to "Make the Right Real" for Persons with Disabilities to reach out to wider public including persons with diverse disabilities. The easy-to-understand version provides the background of the Incheon Strategy and description of its Goals, Targets and Indicators in a simple language, and with illustrations drawn by a Thai deaf artist. The drafting of the easy-to-understand version involved persons with intellectual disabilities, their family members as well as the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability.


THAILAND: Free wheelchair friendly taxis from next year for people with disabilities and elderly: BMA

The disabled and the elderly will get to use wheelchair-accessible taxis for free from January 1 to September 30 as part of an initiative launched jointly by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Krungthep Thanakom Company Ltd. The initiative now has 30 taxis in service. "These taxis are available between 6am and 10pm," Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said yesterday, explaining that the service has expanded its fleet from 10 to 30 vehicles.
He went on to say that all taxi drivers had already passed their criminal-record checks and have been trained on how to handle the elderly.
The initiative was launched in 2012 and since December 5, 2012 up till September 30 this year, it had provided 8,970 rides.
Those requiring the service can call (02) 294 6524.


JAPAN: Japan Airlines JAL Conducts Trial of COMUOON 

Japan Airlines (JAL) decided to start a month-long trial of using table-top hearing support device, named "COMUOON," to improve its customer service at JAL Plaza Yurakucho, Tokyo, starting January 2015. COMUOON is a high-performance micro speaker unit which produces sounds or voices that even a moderate hearing-impaired people can hear without using a hearing aid. This innovative table-top hearing support device was developed by UNIVERSAL SOUND DESIGN Inc. (USD), which won the Grand Prix in the Fukuoka Global Venture Awards 2014 (*1). This is the first time that the airline conducts this trial for its customer service.


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NEW ZEALAND: Removing barriers for disabled people in 2014

The release of the Annual Report on implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy highlights several significant achievements and gains for the disability community in 2014, says Minister for Disability Issues Nicky Wagner.
Achievements in the Report include:

  • Expansion of the Enabling Good Lives approach
  • New funding for New Zealand Sign Language
  • Approval of the Disability Action Plan 2014-18 and the new way in which Government works with Disabled People’s Organisations
  • The review into the accessibility of public buildings for disabled people
  • Examination on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“Each of these achievements on their own represents a gain in removing barriers for disabled people, and ensuring they have good lives like all New Zealanders,” Ms Wagner says.

“But taken together, they provide an overall picture that New Zealand can be proud of.

“Enabling Good Lives is a new approach that gives disabled people and their families more choice and control over the support they receive. The approach has been demonstrated in Christchurch for just over a year and I’m pleased it has recently been expanded to the Waikato.

“New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of our official languages and is an important part of deaf people’s identity. This year the Government agreed to establish a NZSL Advisory Board and Fund to promote the language.

“I am also proud of the change in the way Government works in partnership with Disabled People’s Organisations as representatives of disabled people. This ensures the issues that matter to disabled people are reflected in the delivery of disability policy and disability services.

“I look forward to building on the good work achieved, and to make more positive change for disabled people and their families in 2015 and beyond,” Ms Wagner says.


Update: 2021
I can't believe it but New Zealand is shutting down the quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia for two months, as my country grapples with a number of serious outbreaks of Covid-19. It's been a rough year for those of us with disabilities because of the current COVID-19 public health emergency. Some of th changes have been good such as increased access to services online, but many of the changes have had a negative impact on people with disabilities. I have seen an increase in expenses, changes to supports including NDIS supports, as well as changes to getting necessary healthcare. and then it became worse when pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and places of worship were shut down, while restaurants and cafes switched to takeaway. I was desperate to play pokies at my favorite pub, but no deal. I ended up playing online after discovering a great website that promoted promos for casinos that were Australian player friendly. It you are interested I suggest you visit Online-Casino-Party.com. The site updates their Australian friendly casinos' promos every week. I even turned my Mum onto the site. Her favorite casino is Box 24 because they have live dealers for their poker games. I prefer playing online pokies, but she is a real card shark. I am so bummed out with the travel shut down. I was planning on attending a friend's wedding in two weeks in New Zealand. This uptick in Covid 19 cases because of the Delta variant has really but a crimp in my plans. Guess it will be a virtual wedding for some of us unless they postpone it again. Meanwhile I am settling in for the long haul again. 2-14 was so different from this past year and a half.


JORDAN: Crown Prince launches ‘Hearing Without Borders’ initiative

AMMAN — HRH Crown Prince Hussein on Saturday launched the Hearing Without Borders initiative, which seeks to make Jordan free from hearing disabilities and help deaf children in the Kingdom.

At the launching ceremony, the Crown Prince said some 300 children in Jordan are born with hearing disabilities every year and they need help to be able to hear and speak. He added that the chance for these children to hear and speak normally is great if there is adequate medical intervention before they are six years old.

“The message upon which the Hashemites built this country is that the strength of Jordan is in its people. Each person has a voice and each one’s voice is heard. Together, through the Hearing Without Borders initiative, we can increase the number of voices heard to include those who were born deaf,” Crown Prince Hussein said at the event in the presence of Royal family members and senior officials and officers.

He added that Jordan is home to a pool of specialised experts in this field.

The Crown Prince also voiced appreciation for the Royal Medical Services, the Health Ministry and the King Abdullah I University Hospital for their partnership in the initiative.

He also thanked the Austrian company MED-EL for donating 30 cochlear implants for children in Jordan.

According to the initiative’s director, Sakher Fayez, approximately 172,000 children are born in Jordan every year. Two children in each one-thousand births have congenital hearing defects. Currently, there are approximately 19,000 deaf Jordanian citizens, he said at the event. Most of those who suffer from hearing disabilities cannot fully communicate and interact with the community although they have learned sign language, he added.

The cost of education and rehabilitation per person is JD6,000 per year. The cost of one cochlear implant and the subsequent rehabilitation process stands at JD16,000 and will allow the child to fully communicate with the community, according to Fayez.

The Hearing Without Borders initiative seeks to provide all support and assistance for the rehabilitation of deaf children who receive cochlear implants, to provide the needed language therapy and training for these children after their surgery and to create community awareness in the cause of deafness.

The plan also aims to establish rehabilitation centres in all areas of the Kingdom for children who receive cochlear implants to enhance their speech and pronunciation.

It also entails the training of rehabilitation specialists, along with parents of children who receive cochlear implants to help their children to speak, and includes conducting a survey to identify the cases of hearing disability and ways of treating these cases with the support of the public and private hospitals. It also features a mandatory screening of hearing at birth and adding the results to a regularly updated database.

Hearing Without Borders is seen as a continuation of efforts that started upon Royal directives in 2003. So far, according to officials, more than 500 children have benefited from these efforts, which were crowned Saturday with the launch of the new version of the programme.

Ziad Abu Sharia, a father of five and whose youngest son was born with a severe hearing disability was grateful. His son, Ammar, was born in 2001 and it was only in 2004 that he underwent a cochlear implant. “The cost of the operation was huge. I could not afford it at all. In the three years after his birth, we were not able to communicate with Ammar,” Abu Sharia told The Jordan Times.

Ammar underwent a surgery free of charge and is now communicating normally with people around him, the father said. Ammar is now a happy and normal 8th grader.

The Irbid resident said: “I do not feel different than others. I am good at school, I participate in activities and I have lots of friends with whom I spend leisure time.”

“I rely a lot on him. I send him to buy the groceries and he is more confident in himself now,” his mother said.


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