Due to the lack of statistical information on the status of people with disabilities in Tonga, their needs have not been effectively addressed in the past. This paper aims to identify types and causes of disabilities, the level employment and community involvement, and also the needs of people with disabilities in Tonga. The survey conducted in 2006, identified 2782 people with disabilities or approximately 2.8% of the population.
The author identifies disadvantages for disabled people in the following: • educational, employment, or other income generating opportunities • community involvement • access to built environments in wheelchairs
The survey identified the following types of disabilities: • 36% physical disabilities • 24% visual impairments • 11% intellectual and learning disabilities
Although Tonga has taken important steps to become a more inclusive society, including the signing of national and international policies, the author gives several recommendations to a variety of stakeholders, such as individuals, society, government ministries, non-profit organizations, churches, the media, and the sports sector
As suggested by the author, some of the key recommendations include the: • development of further policies and guidelines • funding of positions, programs, and scholarships dedicated to promoting people with disabilities, but most important • development of positive attitudes towards people with disabilities.