COPE works with over 130 staff employed throughout the network of government-run rehabilitation centres in Lao PDR. This not only includes Prosthetists/Ortotists but also local administrators, surgeons, therapists and technicians. COPE works in partnership with rehabilitation centre staff to improve rehabilitation services throughout Lao PDR.
Because local staff are our most precious resource, we regularly carry out mentoring, training events and team building to provide staff with opportunities to develop their skills and capacity. International staff are employed as mentors to deliver training to local staff and build skills and capacity throughout the country.
COPE is committed to generating locally led, high quality services that serve individuals and communities, and employ and develop people with disabilities wherever possible. An example of this is Khamany, who was employed on the construction of the COPE Visitor Centre and has since gone on to work as a bench technician. Whilst working on the construction of the Visitor Centre, one of our staff noticed that Khamany suffered from an impairment. After receiving a free assessment, Khamany was diagnosed as having polio. This had caused his left leg to be weakened and meant that he was unable to stand for long periods. After being fitted with a leg brace Khamany became employed at COPE as a bench technician where he now uses his practical skills to manufacture prosthetic and orthotic devices.
Another staff member, Ki, is one of two staff members who have received training at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Ki successfully completed a course at La Trobe, was awarded a Category 1 Prosthetic and Orthotics and now works as the P&O Coordinator at the NRC. By providing opportunities to train local staff COPE is helping to build local capacity and create sustainable services for people who need them.