Cognitive Impairments

International Day of Mourning and Remembrance: Institutionalized Lives of People with Disabilities–Forgotten Lives and the Ones Who Fight Back

Posted on 23 January 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Blogger Dave Hingsburger is trying to make today, January 23, the first of what he wants to be an annual event in which we remember together people with disabilities who have lived in institutions and, in some cases, died in them.  Another blogger, Amanda Baggs, has also written extensively about her own experiences inside places that others label as “institutions”–and also some places that weren’t labeled “institutions” but were just as bad: I encourage readers to read today’s post at her blog, “What Makes Institutions Bad.”   Today, in Dave’s proposal, is meant to be a day to remember the people that we were meant to forget: people placed in institutions, not to help them, but to isolate them from so-called “normal” people.  And, it is meant to remember people who have been “put away” supposedly for “their own good,” people who others think “cannot live in the community” as if being human were not enough to qualify one to live among other humans.  It is meant to mourn the lives that people with disabilities could have led if they had been allowed to live in their own homes and allowed choice and self autonomy.  It is important to emphasize that the day is meant not only to consider people institutionalized years ago, in a time we think we can safely forget because we assume it belongs only in the past.   It is also meant to consider the millions of people worldwide, in both developing and also developed countries, who continue to be institutionalized today due to no crime other than being different, being someone who others has labeled as “disabled.”

Dave also means this day as a day to celebrate people with disabilities who have fought back against the mentality that strives to push them to the margins of society, making it easier to institutionalize them.  In this context, Dave Hingsburger mentions a woman named Sandra Jensen who fought literally for her life when she was initially denied a heart transplant simply because she had Down Syndrome.  Sandra, already a disability rights advocate, fought back and won her transplant in 1996–and also won change in organ transplant policies in Canada.  In addition to individuals Sandra Jensen, I can also think of certain organizations that work hard to promote de-institutionalization and other closely related causes:  Disability Rights International (DRI), ADAPT, MindFreedom International, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), various chapters of People First worldwide, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and others.   I have probably missed many other organizations that are also devoted to ending institutionalization: feel free to mention them in the comments area below.

If these organizations don’t choose to carry forth Dave’s proposal, or if these international and national bodies like the concept but choose a different date or take the idea in a different direction, then Dave’s International Day might well still catch on at some local organizations scattered throughout Canada, US, the UK, and Australia.  Dave, after all, has been in the field of intellectual disability and disability rights for more than 30 years: he has delivered hundreds (possibly thousands) of lectures around the world, his blog reaches thousands more readers every month, and some of his many books are required reading in some training programs for future service providers who will be working with people with disabilities.  Dave is certainly not without some clout and influence all on his own.   But without the support of large and highly visible organizations, his concept could remain a relatively obscure event known only in certain circles in certain cities in, predominantly, English speaking developed countries.  It will spread only slowly, if at all, to non-English speaking countries or to developing countries.

Also critical to the success of this event in the future is the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its member organizations.  IDA, as many of We Can Do’s more regular readers probably already know, is a major umbrella organization for various international disability organizations that include WNUSP (listed above), the Disabled Peoples’ International (an organization run by people with various disabilities, with national assembly members in more than 100 countries), Inclusion International (representing people with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones), World Federation of the Deaf, World Blind Union, and others.  Each of IDA’s member organizations themselves have many more member organizations in dozens of countries around the world, and many of these in turn have member organizations at the local level in their countries.  If some of these organizations adopt Dave’s idea, then many more organizations around the world would surely also pick it up as well–whether their local language is English, Spanish, French, or something else, whether in developed countries or in developing countries.

Is this day an event that should catch on more widely?  I hesitate to issue a firm position on this issue.  I do feel that it is worthwhile to have some kind of event that could prompt us, not only to mourn people who would otherwise be forgotten, and to celebrate people who have promoted the cause of freedom, but also to take some action that could help set free the many people who are still institutionalized against their will today.  For this reason I do like Dave’s general concept and feel it is worthwhile putting it in front of the readers of We Can Do for their consideration.  But I also feel that the issue of how to frame such an event, how to promote it, what activities should be done to acknowledge it, and what date it should be held on, should ultimately be determined by people who have themselves experienced institutionalization, or been threatened with the possibility.  People with intellectual disabilities who are confined because they learn more slowly than others.  People with psychosocial disabilities and people on the autistic spectrum who are confined because others view their behaviors as “bewildering” and would rather not have to see them at all than try to understand.  People with mobility impairments, and people who are acquiring a range of conditions related to old age, who are institutionalized because government legislation, budgeting policies, and the medical profession make it easier to place them in nursing homes than to get support to continue living at home.  People who are deaf, or blind, who may be mistaken for having other disabilities, or who others may assume are incapable of learning or being independent because they cannot hear or see.  Organizations such as People First, WNUSP, MindFreedom, ASAN, ADAPT, and other international and national organizations run by people who themselves are most commonly targeted for being institutionalized come to mind.  I think this is a choice that needs the involvement of many advocates and leaders around the world, not just one man–even a powerful leader like Dave Hingsburger.  And not just one woman either, including me as the author of this blog site.

For now, readers may want to read a few blog posts that Dave wrote about what today’s date means to him and why he feels it is important to have an International Day of Mourning and Remembrance:

January 23: International Day of Mourning and Memory in which Dave first sets forth his proposal.  Note that he seems open to revising the concept, or at least the name, for future years.

Cousin Mattie: The International Day of Mourning and Memory — Dave’s post from today, January 23, honoring the day itself.

She Never Knew: The Interviews — in which Dave presents an interview he conducted with a woman who performed a song that Dave feels fits in well with the spirit of the International Day.

I also encourage readers to consider taking a few moments–or a few hours, or days–to learn more about the reality of institutionalization today and what is being done to end it.  A few of the links from above are good resources.   Disability Rights International (DRI) has a huge collection of reports and videos documenting institutionalized abuses from around the world, from Ukraine to Mexico to the United States to Romania to Paraguay and elsewhere.  Many People First organizations fight against the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities.  The Global Disability Rights Library has content and links related to institutionalization of people with disabilities–particularly try the information portal of the same name (Global Disability Rights Library) and check under specific disabilities for psychosocial disabilities and intellectual disabilities.  Also in the same information portal, check the section on Independent Living for some of the solutions that allow people with mobility impairments and a range of other disabilities live freely in the community instead of in nursing homes (the link goes to GDRL’s primary page on independent living, but don’t miss the sub-sections under this page with more resources).  And check out some of the personal stories on MindFreedom’s website.

A blog post on institutionalization from me would be incomplete without also mentioning another blogger besides Dave Hingsburger who has taught me a great deal about what it really means to be institutionalized:  Amanda Baggs.  Amanda has herself been institutionalized: although most of her experience in places others would recognize as institutions was in the 1990s, she still knows people who have been institutionalized much more recently than that.  And she has had experiences in places that, although technically are not institutions, can be harmful in ways she feels is very similar.  Amanda’s entire blog is very well worth reading: I regularly encourage people interested in disability rights to read her blog front to back, or back to front, or inside out, or outside in, or sideways or upside down or right side up or any way at all as long as they read it, throughly and often.  Both Amanda and Dave are in developed countries (the United States and Canada, respectively) and I suspect most of their contacts and most of what they have learned about disability rights is also somewhat oriented to developed countries as well.  But many of the concepts that both of them wrestle with day in and day out on their blog sites and elsewhere, much of the philosophy they espouse, the values they uphold, and their insightful analysis of how even very lovely, good, kind people can still do terrible things are not bound to any one country.  I suspect that disability rights advocates from any country, whether developed or developing, will find ideas of value both in Dave’s blog and in Amanda’s blog.

Here are a few of Amanda’s blog posts that have helped teach me about what it is actually like to be inside an institution, or in an environment that is harmful in similar ways:

What Makes Institutions Bad (today’s post)

Outposts in Our Heads

Everything I Need to Know in Life I learned in Institutions

Identical Behavior, Constrasting Responses

What it Means to Be Real  (These events were at a day program, not technically at an institution. But apparently much of the way people in the program is treated is similar)

Being an Unperson (Not specifically about institutionalization, but the process of dehumanization described in this video does occur in many institutions)

And one more from Dave, from the perspective of a person who once worked in institutions early in his career:

Patty  — In this video (deaf and hard of hearing people can read the full transcript below the video) Dave describes an incident in which he reached out to Patty, a woman in the institution where he worked, and the reactions of his co-workers.

At least one more blogger has also blogged about this day: International Day of Mourning and Memory at Lounalune.  And one individual, Kristine Snider, sent Dave a video in honor of the day.

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JOB POST: Capacity Builder, Intellectual Disabilities, Bolivia (Texto en ingles y español)

Posted on 11 May 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Education, Families, Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Texto en español

Capacity Builder in Intellectual Disabilities-Ricerca y Cooperazione, El Alto, Bolivia.

Ricerca y Cooperazione (RC) is an Italian based NGO, with an established development programme in Bolivia, mainly in the area of education for children and youth. Recognising the need for greater inclusion of disabled children in mainstream education, it is implementing an EU funded project entitled ‘Social Inclusion and Mutual Respect’, in coordination with the Municipality of El Alto, in order to educate children, teachers, families and authorities on how to incorporate disabled children into the classroom; a concept which is largely overlooked in Boliva.

Your role will be to compliment the small multidisciplinary technical team of the project, (1 specialist in physical disabilities, 1 in sensory, and you in intellectual) in order that all disabilities are represented. The work will include a diagnostic of children with disabilities in El Alto, designing and implementing training workshops to various beneficiaries, production of educational material, and assist in creating an integral centre – which will serve as a resource for families of disabled children, and also an area for activities with disabled and non-disabled youth.

Ideally educated to Masters level, in a discipline related to intellectual disabilities, you should be experienced in designing and facilitating workshops with participatory methods. Preferably with knowledge and experience in Latin America; of the idiosyncrasies of the disability field in a developing country. Good Spanish and a highly flexible working approach.

Applications can be made in English, Spanish or Italian. Follow this link to view or download a full Job Description. Please send completed applications using the format found here to: feliza@isbolivia.org and e.cipollini@ongrc.org

Deadline for applications: Friday 22nd May 2009.

http://isbolivia.org/blog/?page_id=5


Ricerca y Cooperazione (RC) es una ONG italiana, que cuenta con un programa de desarrollo establecido en Bolivia, principalmente en el área de la educación para jóvenes y niños. Reconociendo la necesidad de una mayor inclusión de los niños con discapacidad en la educación transversal, actualmente se encuentra implementando un proyecto financiado por la UE llamado “Inclusión social y respeto mutuo” en coordinación con el municipio de El Alto, a fin de educar a los niños, maestros, familias y autoridades en cómo incorporar a los niños con discapacidad en las aulas; concepto que es pasado por alto en Bolivia.

Su rol será complementar el equipo técnico multidisciplinario del proyecto. (1 especialista en discapacidad física, 1 en discapacidad sensorial y usted en discapacidad intelectual) para que estén representadas todos los tipos de discapacidad. El trabajo incluirá un diagnóstico de los niños con discapacidad en El Alto, diseñando e implementando talleres de capacitación para varios beneficiarios, producción de materiales educativos y asistir en la creación de un centro integral, el cual servirá como recurso para las familias de los niños con discapacidad como también será un área para las actividades de los jóvenes con o sin discapacidad.

Se requiere una formación universitaria a nivel de Maestría en disciplinas relacionadas con la discapacidad intelectual, con experiencia en diseño y facilitación de talleres con métodos participativos. Preferentemente con conocimientos y experiencia en Latinoamérica en relación a las idiosincrasias en el campo de la discapacidad en un país en desarrollo. Buen conocimiento del castellano y un enfoque de trabajo flexible. Para una Descripcion mas Completa, vea abajo (solo en ingles).

Las solicitudes pueden ser realizadas en idioma inglés, castellano o italiano italiano y enviadas a los siguientes correos electrónicos: feliza@isbolivia.org y e.cipollini@ongrc.org utilizando el formulario encontrado en la siguiente página Web.

Fecha límite para las solicitudes: Viernes 22 de mayo de 2009.



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NEWS: Bulgarians with Mental Disabilities Suffer Inhumane Treatment

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Geneva, 3 December 2008

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and the Mental Disability Advocacy Center (MDAC) come together to express their serious concern over the situation of persons with mental disabilities, one of the most marginalised and discriminated groups in Bulgarian society.

In a series of letters to members of the Bulgarian Parliament and Government, officials and elected representatives in the European Union, and the United Nations Special Procedures mandate holders, the three organisations underline that persons with mental disabilities in Bulgaria, “frequently face social exclusion and severe human rights violations, including violence and ill-treatment”, and express their concern that, “[i]nadequate legislation together with entrenched institutional policies and practices also compromise their socio-economic well-being, as well as that of their families”.

Regardless of the skills and capabilities which persons with mental disabilities in Bulgaria possess, they are often deemed incompetent, deprived of their legal capacity and placed under guardianship. Bulgaria’s outdated legislation on deprivation of legal capacity removes a person’s right to make their own decisions and denies the exercise of their basic human rights, including the rights to marry, vote, work, take legal action and seek judicial remedies. Deprivation of a person’s legal capacity also impedes their rights to a fair trial, to own property and to respect for their personal and family life. In most cases, persons with mental disabilities who are placed under guardianship in Bulgaria are forced to live in large and remote residential institutions and to remain there for the rest of their lives. Once institutionalised, they are at risk of ill-treatment from staff and subjected to prison-like regimes. Indeed, living conditions in some of these institutions have been deemed to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment.

Please read the rest of this news release from the World Organization Against Torture at their web site by clicking on the following URL: http://www.omct.org/index.php?id=&lang=eng&actualPageNumber=1&articleId=8204&itemAdmin=article

I received this press release via several sources including the IDA_CRPD_Forum listserver; the AdHoc_IDC listserver; the RatifyNow organization’s listserver; and others. Only the first two paragraphs is quoted here. Please follow the link provided above to read the full story.

Note that “mental disabilities” is often used to refer to both people with intellectual disabilities and also people with psychosocial disabilities. Although these are very different disabilities, both populations in many countries are frequently locked up in the same institutions and may experience similar types of human rights violations.

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Call for Papers: Poverty and Intellectual Disabilities

Posted on 10 February 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Call for Papers, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Inclusion, Opportunities, Poverty | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability is seeking submissions for a special issue of their publication that will examine poverty, deprivation, social exclusion and disadvantage. The particular focus of this issue will be on understanding the role that poverty and social deprivation play in shaping the life chances of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, and the role of policy in reducing inequalities and inequity for this population. The aim of this special issue is to explore issues of poverty and social disadvantage in the broadest terms. Papers that express the points of view of people with disabilities and/or their families are particularly welcome. This includes having those with disabilities and their families serve as researchers and/or co-authors as well as participants in the research. We would also particularly welcome papers addressing issues of poverty and deprivation from low and middle income countries. This topic is appropriate for both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

The closing date for submission is 31st December 2009, although later submission dates may be possible with the agreement of the editors. The anticipated date for publication is 2011. If the special issue is oversubscribed papers will be selected by date of submission.

The Guest Editors, Eric Emerson and Susan Parish, will manage the editorial process. Enquiries and papers for consideration should be directed to Dr Eric Emerson (eric.emerson@lancaster.ac.uk) or Dr Susan Parish (parish@unc.edu) with a copy to JIDD’s Editorial Assistant, Penny Crino (pcrino@med.usyd.edu.au), clearly identified as a Special Issue submission. Electronic submission is preferred.



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership on Disability and Developing (GPDD) listserver.

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PAPER: Disability and Contraception in Developing Countries

Posted on 24 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Health, Mobility Impariments, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Doctors, social workers, neighbors, and even family members often mistakenly assume that people with disabilities cannot possibly be interested in sex. Or if they are, others believe they cannot physically participate. Or if they can, others think that no one would want to have sex with them. Because of these myths, people with disabilities are often deliberately excluded from sex education programs and reproductive care services. These include contraception to prevent pregnancy, as well as support for people with disabilities who wish to bear and raise healthy, happy children.

The fact is, a great many people with a wide range of disabilities are capable of having children and desire the rewards that can come with parenthood. And many become excellent parents who raise well-adjusted children. But they often lack family planning services that allow them to make their own choices about how many children to have and when to have them. This may be partly because even family planners who understand the need and importance of counseling for people with disabilities may not know how.

Although people with physical disabilities frequently can and do have children, the nature of some physical disabilities may sometimes affect what kind of contraceptions they can use or how to use them. An article published in 1999 by Family Health International’s journal Network, entitled Disabled Have Many Contraceptive Needs, explains how some physical disabilities, or the medications taken for them, may affect the kinds of contraceptions they are able to use. Family planning professionals may consult this article at http://www.fhi.org/en/rh/pubs/network/v19_2/disableneeds.htm

People with mild intellectual disabilities, and also people with psychosocial disabilities, are often as interested in sexuality as the general population. They also may in some cases wish to have children. Both intellectual disabilities and psychosocial disabilities may affect how well contraceptive options or instructions are understood, or how well they may follow instructions. Another article entitled Mental Disabilities Affect Method Options” discusses various examples of how family planning professionals can account for these factors. This article, also published in 1999, can be read at http://www.fhi.org/en/RH/Pubs/Network/v19_2/mentaldisab.htm



I learned about these articles through a class I’m taking on Gender, Disability and Development this semester. Thanks, Barbara Earth!

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Asia Pacific CONFERENCE on Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities, Singapore, June 24-27, 2009

Posted on 31 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Papers, Cognitive Impairments, Events and Conferences, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

IASSID 2nd Asia Pacific Conference Singapore
June 24 to 27, 2009
Furama Riverfront Hotel

The International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID) would like to invite you to the 2nd IASSID Asia Pacific Conference.

The conference will be held at Singapore, 24 to 27 June 2009, at the Furama Riverfront Hotel.

The conference theme is: “Creating possibilities for an inclusive society”

The conference details and the abstract submission system are now on-line: www.iassid.org

Abstracts need to be submitted by the end of November 2008. Individual papers, symposia, workshops and posters are all welcome. All abstracts will be peer-reviewed and those accepted for the conference will be published in the Journal of Policy & Practice in Intellectual Disabilities.

The on-line registration system is now on line. Please proceed to the IASSID website for details (http://www.iassid.org/)

There are a number of organisations partnering with IASSID to make this a significant event on the international scientific calender. These include the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), the Asia Pacific Down Syndrome Federation and the Australian Association of Doctors in Developmental Disability Medicine. There are also many regional and local service providers working together, as part of our efforts to ensure that the conference provides a mechanism to promote ‘research to practice’ and that practice issues inform and influence the research agenda of the scientific community.

As part of our efforts to promote dialogue between researchers, practitioners and people with disability, the conference will include the inaugural meeting of the Asian Research to Practice Roundtable. This event will take place across the 4 days of the conference; bringing together scientists, practitioners and people with disability to establish and implement a research to practice agenda for the region.

The IASSID Academy on Education, Teaching & Research will host accredited workshops prior to and following the conference. The workshops will take place at Singapore and in neighbouring countries. If you are interested in hosting such a workshop, you can contact the Academy Chair, Professor Roy Brown for details and to discuss your proposal: roybrown@telus.net

Theme: “Creating Possibilities for an Inclusive Society”.

Confirmed key note speakers are:
Prof. Rune J. Simeonsson, University of North Carolina, USA
Assoc Prof Levan Lim, National Institute of Education, Singapore
Prof. Shigeru Suemitsu, Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare, Japan
Prof. Glynis Murphy, University of Kent, UK
Prof Matthew Janicki, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Dr Monica Cuskelly, University of Queensland, Australia
Dr Henny van Schrojenstein Lantman-de Valk, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

Dr Kenneth Poon will host the ‘Asian Research to Practice Roundtable’
Prof. Roy Brown & the IASSID Academy will facilitate accredited workshops prior to and following the conference.

See the IASSID website for more details of the conference. Please feel free to circulate this information among your colleagues and networks and to include details in your various organisational newsletters, etc.

We hope to see you at Singapore.

Kind regards,

Dr Keith McVilly & Professor Lisa Wang, IASSID Conference Co-ordination Committee
Dr Balbir Singh, Chair of the Local Organising Committee
Professor Libby Cohen and Dr Kenneth Poon, Co-Chairs of the Scientific Programme Committee

Dr Keith R. McVilly
B.A., Grad. Dip. Psych., M. Psych. (Clinical), PhD
MAPS & Member of the College of Clinical Psychologists
Senior Lecturer in Disability Studies & Clinical Psychologists

Division of Disability Studies
School of Health Sciences
RMIT University
P.O. Box 71
Bundoora, 3083.

Tel.: +61 (0)3 9925 7362
Fac.: +61 (0)3 9925 7303
E-Mail: keith.mcvilly@rmit.edu.au
Web: www.rmit.edu.au/disability-studies

IASSID World Congress, Cape Town: 25 to 30 August 2008 – www.iassid.org

ASSID Australasian Conference, Melbourne: 24 to 26 November 2008 – www.assid.org.au

ASSID DSW Conference, Melbourne: 27 to 28 November 2008 – www.assid.org.au

IASSID Asia Pacific Conference, Singapore: 24 to 27 June 2009 – www.iassid.org



Thank you to Keith McVilly at MIT for circulating this announcement. Most of the text of this blog post is taken from that announcement, with slight modifications.

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FUNDING: Campaigns to Ratify, Implement Disability Rights Treaty (CRPD)

Posted on 1 October 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Are you a disability rights advocate working in a developing country? Is your organization trying to persuade your country’s government to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Or, has your country already ratified the CRPD–and you are now working on making sure the CRPD is fully implemented, so that all people with disabilities in your country have their rights respected and protected? Do you need funding support?

The grantmaking foundation, Open Society Institute, has now established the Disability Rights Initiative that supports the efforts of disability rights advocates working on ratification and implementation of the CRPD around the world. The initiative gives priority to efforts promoting the rights of people with intellectual and psycho-social disabilities. However, OSI is willing to support a range of programs and projects that advance the CRPD.

Learn more detail about this funding opportunity and how to apply for it at:

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/special/focus/disability/grants

This is an on-going funding opportunity.

Please note that all inquiries and funding applications should be directed to the Open Society Institute, NOT We Can Do.

Advocates working on issues related to implementing the CRPD in developing countries will also want to keep checking the Disability Rights Fund web site for announcements of future, additional funding opportunities there. The application deadline for their first round of grants passed in August 2008, but they will be offering more funding grants to more countries in the future. Also check the resource section of the Disability Rights Fund website for links to more possible funding sources in general.

New to the CRPD? Learn more about this international, legally-binding human rights treaty that protects the human rights of people with disabilities around the world at http://ratifynow.org/ratifynow-faq/



Thank you to Diana Samarasan for alerting me to the OSI funding opportunity.

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JOB POST: Inclusive Education Adviser, Kati, Mali: Intellectually disabled children

Posted on 5 September 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Education, Inclusion, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , |

Inclusive education adviser, with a focus on intellectually disabled children
Institut d’Education Populaire (IEP), Kati, Mali

IEP is a collective of community educators working to develop alternative approaches in curriculum, methodology and materials for grassroots education in Mali. Long before inclusive education became official government policy in Mali, IEP’s CIWARA Community School was including disabled children in classes. At a social level, disabled children have become very well integrated, but at an academic level, progress has been very limited: none of the teachers has training related to the needs of disabled children, the government lacks the resources to provide education for all, and IEP is now looking for support in developing teaching, animation, support and evaluation in inclusive schools like CIWARA. Based in Kati (15km from Bamako) and working closely with a small team, you will provide an input in developing curriculum and methodology, provide training to staff members, establish a monitoring and follow-up system, and develop a training module for the programme of teacher training colleges. IEP is looking for someone with specialist expertise (qualifications/experience) related to understanding the needs and capabilities of mentally disabled children in inclusive environments; classroom teaching experience is also essential, together with the capacity to develop materials, a highly flexible, creative and sensitive approach, and a good knowledge of French. (REF: MAL/34)

How to apply: Further details (job description, application form) are available from www.internationalservice.org.uk or from Stella Hobbs, Recruitment Coordinator, shobbs@internationalservice.org.uk.

Download the full job description for this post in Word format at
http://www.internationalservice.org.uk/jobs/pages/job_descrip_word/jobs_01_09_08/IEP_inclusive_education_adviser.doc

A full listing of job vacancies with International Service is available at

http://www.internationalservice.org.uk/jobs/pages/jobs_current_new.htm



Thank you to Stella Hobbs for submitting this job post to We Can Do.

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Disability Awareness Action newsletter, Our Rights, Issue 2, August 2008

Posted on 3 September 2008. Filed under: Children, Cognitive Impairments, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Our Rights – issue 2, August 2008

DAA’s newsletter for Disability Lib.

In the interest of solidarity, this newsletter is sent around by email to disabled people and their organisations across the world, and we invite you to forward it freely. We have provided links to internet sites, web pages and video clips, but understand that not all links are technically accessible to all users. From October Our Rights will be available in electronic format and on our website. For our contact details follow this link http://www.daa.org.uk/

Contents
Welcome Hello from DAA
Disability LIB partners
• Central Office
ALLFIE Tara Flood recognised for Inclusion Now campaign work
Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Body Politics
Excluded because of crooked teeth
Disabled by Society …. Our stories: Mind Politics
Stigma
Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Your Say
Being an Un-Person
Sceptical about The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
60 years of UN Convention on Human Rights
Inclusion means … being given a £50 token?
International News
Canada says ‘go home’ to disabled child
Sex in the City, and world wide
From Mexico to India: Disability and HIV
A short recent history of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador
Sit-in at Nursing Home
And Finally …

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******************
Welcome Hello from DAA
Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to our first issue. We are delighted to be back! We have had replies from around the world.

“I am very happy indeed to get the DAA Newsletter – this is one newsletter that I eagerly look forward to. The articles provided me with new insights and sharpen my understanding.”
“Great newsletter!”
“I access DAA website regularly and will disseminate DAA newsletter to all my contacts.”
“Have just read your first bulletin and I am impressed with its coverage.”
“thanks a lot for your nice news letter. Hope it can help my people in bangladesh.”

Thank you for all your comments. We have improved our technical set-up, so fewer newsletters should land in Junk or Spam email boxes. From October you can access the newsletter on our website. You can request picture supported and word versions. We continue to strive to make our articles interesting, relevant and accessible. Please let us know how we are doing. This edition has two main themes: the body politics of bio-ethics and inclusion. We will also tell you again who we are and what we hope to achieve. Enjoy!
Email: mysay4daa@live.co.uk

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Disability LIB partners
The project has its own website and central office. www.disabilitylib.org.uk
Disability LIB
6 Market Road
London
N7 9PW
England UK
Telephone: 0844 800 4331
Email: contact@disabilitylib.org.uk

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ALLFIE Tara Flood recognised for Inclusion Now campaign work
The Social Inclusion Campaign Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation was given to the director of ALLFIE, Tara Flood. Tara is also chair of DAA. Tara and the Alliance run a campaign ‘We know inclusion works’. This is in response to the negative reporting in the media. You are invited to send your stories about how inclusion works to info@allfie.org.uk

“Inclusion for me is about society, which respects the humanity of its people.” says a disabled young person in Nottinghamshire. “Inclusion happens when everyone feels appreciated and welcome to participate.”
Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.

Inclusion is going to school with your friends. “I kept asking myself what words a mother would use to explain to her daughter why they did not want her at her school. Except that she was disabled. If my daughter had only been black, and not disabled too, would the school have been able to do the same?”
Preethi Manuel mother of Zahrah.

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Disabled by Society …. Our stories: Body Politics
Excluded because of crooked teeth

The media reported that a nine-year-old girl called Lin was moving her lips, but did not actually sing at the opening of the Olympic Games in China. The beautiful voice we all heard was from a different girl, the seven year-old Yang Peiyi. Apparently Yang was not shown on stage nor on television, because she has crooked teeth. Her face and her smile were regarded as not photogenic enough, so she was hidden to avoid damaging China’s international image.

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Often we find disabled people are hidden, out-of-sight and at the margins of society. Society’s underlying cultural preferences in terms of the body and mind is for a particular image of beauty and health: a superficial one.

Our impairment difference is treated like a ‘stigma’, a characteristic that is deeply discredited within one’s society and for which we are rejected. Our difference, it seems, is challenging.

“I experienced a nervous breakdown 20 years ago. Despite recovering from that, then going on to achieve academically and build a good marriage, my family remain wary of me. My sister is bringing up her child to refer to me as “crazy”. She even considers it funny to do so. I have tried to express how hurtful I find this, but my feelings have been overlooked.”
7th August 2008, Guardian ‘Stigmatised by my own family’

In a unique research called ‘Shout’ almost 4,000 mental health service users were involved. The charity Rethink found that 87% of people said they had direct personal experience of stigma and discrimination and reported the negative impact of stigma on their lives.

The damage caused was wide-ranging; the areas affected include employment, family, friendships, neighbours, accessing education, reporting crime, relationships with health professionals, and feeling confident enough to visit the shops, go to the pub or take part in activities in the community, it says.
The Stigma Shout report can be found at http://www.rethink.org/how_we_can_help/campaigning_for_change/moving_people/stigma_shout.html

But this problem goes deeper. If a girl can be excluded for crooked teeth, where does it end? Our society allows science and law to de-select disabled lives.
For impairment reasons they tamper with genetics in an attempt to screen out difference. We have laws that allow late abortion because of so called ‘defects’.We allow bio-ethics to de-select impairment.

In 2004, UKCPD (formerly the British Council of Disabled People) asked “Can human rights apply if we select children or value people’s quality of life on the basis of their genetic make-up or impairment?” http://www.bcodp.org.uk/library/genetics/3disabhr.pdf
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/aug/06/mentalhealth
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/aug/07/mentalhealth.familyandrelationships

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Disabled by Society … Our Stories: Your Say
on last month’s theme: Forced Interventions
Being an Un-Person… (8’47’’)
“This is from a handout I gave while speaking at training for staff who work with people who have developmental disabilities. It is about what it means to be dehumanized and it applies to a far greater group of people than the original audience. It is, to make it clear, something that is done to us by other people, not something intrinsic to who we are.

Being an Un-person means that people talk in front of you as if you aren’t there… It means that your existence seems to fill people with disgust and fear. … If you communicate with behaviour, you will be punished, restrained, drugged or put in a behaviour program.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c5_3wqZ3Lk

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Sceptical
A sceptical view was expressed about the usefulness of the Convention. How does it protect the rights of people with mental health issues?

“My organization are skeptical on the UN Convention re Legal Intervention for people with mental health issues and the sense of disabled people being able to join the armed forces.”

For a discussion of how different Articles in the Convention can work together, go to page 47 in this 2007 publication: http://www.riglobal.org/publications/RI_Review_2007_Dec_WORDversion.doc
The text of Article 12 can be accessed at http://www.mindfreedom.org/kb/mental-health-global/united-nations/article-12-un

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The UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People
This year (2008) we celebrate 60 years of the United Nations Convention on Human Rights, the first international commitment on human rights.

A web campaign http://www.everyhumanhasrights.org/ urges us to embrace the values and goals of the Declaration. To protect the rights of our fellow global villagers and to encourage others to do the same in our communities, workplaces and schools. We are asked to affirm these principles:

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, lanaguage, relition, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Every Human has Rights

However, our rights as disabled people are not spelled out specifically. It makes no specific mention of the meaning of rights as disabled people. Our experience is that we are often invisible, excluded or forgotten. We are not always included into the general phrase of ‘human’ inhuman rights.

That is why we needed a specific convention and why we are campaigning for our countries to ratify the Convention of the Rights of Disabled Persons.

UN Convention text resources:
Details of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People can be found at
http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=12&pid=150
http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml
Easy Read version of the Convention
http://www.officefordisability.gov.uk/docs/international-agreement-rights-disabled-people.pdf
For Easy Read versions of the Convention’s extra agreements (Optional Protocols) go to
http://www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights/convention/nz.htm
A child-friendly text of the Convention can be accessed at
http://www.unicef.org/Child_friendly_CRPD.pdf

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Inclusion means … being given a £50 gift token?
A grammar school in Lincolnshire, England, did not listen to a boy with Autism when planning and arranging the 11-plus entrance exam. Under the Disability Discrimination Act any barriers to learning have to be removed, for example by making alternative arrangements or providing reasonable adjustments.

His mother said: “We knew he would struggle with the change in surroundings. Our primary school head teacher suggested we ask if he could sit the test there, or at least in a room on his own. But when I went to the school I was told, ‘No, we don’t make any allowances’.”

As the barriers of unfamiliar surroundings, a crowded room full with unfamiliar people were not removed, the boy was extremely distressed and failed the exam.

The ombudsman Anne Seex said the school had not considered its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The boy was admitted to another grammar school on the basis of his exam results at the end of primary school (called SATs) and his junior school’s recommendation.

The school has apologised, has given the boy a £50 gift token and agreed to handle future cases differently.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/7542948.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article4460621.ece

International News

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Canada
Paul and Barbara-Anne Chapman had sold their home in Britain and bought a farmhouse in Nova Scotia, Canada. The local authorities supported and welcomed them.

However, when the family arrived at the airport a border guard refused them entry. Several questions were raised about their work permit, clearance for their black Labrador and about their daughter Lucy, who has Angelman syndrome.

The family claim they were told by a border guard that because Lucy is disabled she would never be allowed into the country, and that she had a lifetime ban.

Mrs Chapman said: “My dog was allowed to stay. My dog has a higher status than my daughter in Canada, just because she is disabled.”

Canada’s immigration rules in section 38 do have a clause that states that you are not eligible for immigration if you would make an excessive demand on health and social services. Presently, “excessive demand” is usually defined as exceeding $15,000 of publicly funded health care costs over the next 5 years. However, in certain family applications, children are exempt from this rule of no entry due to health care costs.

The Convention on the Rights of Disabled People places obligations on countries to protect disabled people’s rights and freedoms. This includes the right to free movement and residency.

Entry to one’s own country is specifically mentioned in Article 18 of the Convention: “Are not deprived, arbitrarily or on the basis of disability, of the right to enter their own country.”

Entry into another country is protected in Article 18, where it says that disabled people should “not be deprived, on the basis of disability, of their ability to obtain, possess and utilize … relevant processes such as immigration proceedings, that may be needed to facilitate exercise of the right to liberty of movement.”

Mr and Mrs Chapman hired a Canadian lawyer to fight the decision.

http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=278
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/canada/2519496/Canada-refuses-entry-to-disabled-girl.html

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Sex in the City… and world-wide.
Research has shown that disabled people are being denied the choice to full sexual relationships.

“I want to meet a girl I can become friends with, take to the pub and the cinema and then after a couple of months see where it goes,” Joseph Greene, 23.

The national charity Family Planning Association FPA has organised an information and poster campaign about the right to have sex and relationships. FPA gives people information and advice about sexual health. This is particularly important in view of the continuing rise and impact of HIV (see reports below).

Easy Read, posters and campaign info at
http://www.fpa.org.uk/news/campaigns/current%5Fcampaigns/detail.cfm?contentid=1021
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7540103.stm
http://www.fpa.org.uk/products/learning_disabilities_publications/detail.cfm?contentid=1037

‘Let’s talk About Sex’ was launched in June 2008 for young people with life-limiting health conditions, in a bid to open up a taboo subject and to better support these young people to have the opportunity to experience relationships and explore their sexuality, in a safe, supportive and empathetic environment.
http://www.act.org.uk/content/view/153/1/

Our rights and dignity in connection with these personal areas are protected in the Convention. Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Disabled People specifically refers to forming relationships and accessing age-appropriate information, reproductive and family planning education.

As part of their obligations, countries who have ratified the Convention, have a duty to develop and change customs or practices. This includes working towards a change in attitude towards disabled people and sex.

Article 4 of the Convention asks governments to develop or change customs and practices which contradict the rights. Community norms, customs and practices of what people believe or how professionals deal with disabled people may go against the ideals laid down in the Convention.

“What is acceptable in the community is for a disabled person to marry another disabled person so that together they share their curse”, says a disabled local councillor in Uganda.
http://www.disabilitykar.net/docs/stories_women.doc

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From Mexico to India: Disability and HIV
On August 6th a very important international panel discussion took place. ‘Beyond Barriers: Disability and HIV/AIDS’ gave information about studies from across the world – Brazil, South Africa, Cameroon, and Canada.

Disabled people were found to be consistently more vulnerable to infection. People with learning difficulties and disabled women are often exposed to riskier situations; women in particular experience more unprotected sex than the general population, often as a result of sexual violence.

A researcher in Kwa Zulu-Natal, where there is no disability-specific sex education, encountered a “let sleeping dogs lie” attitude in schools. As a result, she found that disabled children had little access to education or legal protection and were more vulnerable to abuse and infection.

n Cameroon, a study focused on a young deaf population, found that sexual debut was on the whole earlier and riskier than in the general population.
http://eliminateaids.blogspot.com/2008/08/beyond-barriers-disability-and-hivaids.html

The Kampala Declaration on Disability and HIV/AIDS is an advocacy tool for all Campaign partners and supporters. We invite you to download this printer-ready version in English, French and Portuguese to disseminate at your various meetings and conferences!
http://www.africacampaign.info/a-nos-lecteurs-francais/index.html
http://www.africacampaign.info/recent-publication/index.html
http://www.dcdd.nl/data/1208782834413_Kampala%20Declaration%20on%20Disability%20and%20HIVAIDS.pdf

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A short recent history of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador
This article argues that despite national laws and certain improvements towards disability rights, El Salvador has only made nominal progress in implementing disability legislation and awareness.

In the context of El Salvador’s twelve-year armed conflict, 70,000 individuals were killed and another 300,000 people were disabled as a result of war.

However, this estimate conflicts with official statistics released by the Ministry of Economy in August 2008. Jesus Martinez, Director of the Landmine Survivors Network-El Salvador is extremely uncomfortable with the results of this 2008 Census.

“It should include accurate and trustworthy statistics about all of the disabled individuals living in this country.” he says.

Disabled people need to be counted in order to be visible in policy action, planning and prioritisation. Article 31 asks countries to find out about disabled people. State parties need collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data, to enable them to formulate and implement policies, which make a reality of the rights in the Convention.

If the Convention marks “a paradigm shift” in attitudes and approaches, then disabled people are not objects that are being counted, but subjects, who have rights and freedoms. As a result of this shift in thinking, ratification of the Convention should also mark a shift in creating a more inclusive society in El Salvador.
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1384/74/

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Sit-in at Nursing Home
Demonstrators organised a sit-in and called for closure of a nursing home in Philadelphia. “There is no justice for someone in a nursing home,” read a sign held by one of the demonstrators.

The group’s goal was to persuade Mayor Nutter to help find homes for 50 or so disabled residents over the next six months, then get out of the nursing-home business. They were successful! Details at:
http://www.adapt.org/ http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_update/20080818_Protesters_seek_to_close_Phila__nursing_home.html

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And Finally …
Discrimination is a putrid shade of yellow
It tastes like stale vomit
It smells like rancid fish
Discrimination reminds me of corruption, anger and despair
And sounds like a hooded coward running scared
Discrimination feels like nobody cares …
Extract from Bipolar works blog, 2007

Thank you for your time.
We are pleased to hear from you.
Email: mysay4daa@live.co.uk

Supported by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.



Thank you to Disability Awareness Action for giving open permission to disseminate and re-publish their newsletter.

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Advocacy Organization Exposes Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital

Posted on 25 August 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From Mental Disability Rights International Newsletter:

MDRI Exposes Deaths and Abuse in Paraguayan Psychiatric Hospital and Demands Immediate Government Action

August 13, 2008 – Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) and the Center for Justice in International Law (CEJIL) have filed a successful appeal to stop egregious abuses being perpetrated against people at the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Paraguay.

In a petition filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), MDRI described a pattern of abuse, including four unexplained deaths, numerous complaints of sexual abuse and horrific physical abuse, including a castration, all within the past six months.

On July 29, the IACHR called on the Paraguayan government to take immediate action to protect the lives of all those detained at the facility and to report back to them on measures taken to prevent future abuses.

In 2003, the IACHR approved MDRI and CEJIL’s request for immediate intervention at the same hospital following the discovery of children, diagnosed with autism, locked in cages for years. On the heels of this intervention, the Paraguayan government signed an agreement with MDRI and CEJIL to gradually deinstitutionalize its mental health system while expanding the services and supports available in the community.

“Paraguay’s mental health system continues to systematically violate the rights of persons who use its services,” said Alison A. Hillman, Director of MDRI’s Americas Programs. “We anticipate that the Inter-American Commission’s intervention will bring added pressure on the government to address the root causes of these abuses and fulfill their commitments to fully integrate persons with disabilities into the community.”

MDRI is an advocacy organization that exposes human rights abuses against people with psycho-social and intellectual disabilities around the world, particularly within institutions. Learn more about MDRI and their activities at their web site: http://www.mdri.org



This notice was recently circulated via email in MDRI’s electronic newsletter. Individuals may subscribe directly to MDRI’s newsletter by entering their email address at http://www.mdri.org/mdri-enews.html

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REPORT: Personal Mobility, Accessibility for Disabled People in South East Europe

Posted on 20 August 2008. Filed under: Blind, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Housing, Human Rights, Inclusion, Mobility Impariments, Reports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Countries that have chosen to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) are now required to protect the right of people with disabilities to personal mobility; and to an accessible environment. But disabled people in the South-Eastern countries of Europe, such as Kosovo, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Croatia, and Hungary, are often denied the right simply to move from one place to another on the same basis as other people in their society. They lack mobility aids such as prosthestic devices, wheelchairs, and crutches; public buildings, and even their own homes, are not accessible to them; and neither is public transportation.

People who wish to learn more about the conditions that limit the mobility of people with disabilities in South East Europe–and what can be done to improve their situation–can consult a report entitled “Free movement of people with disabilities in south east Europe: an inaccessible right?” (PDF format, 1 Mb) This report addresses the mobility and accessibility needs of people with mobility impairments; people who are blind or have vision impairments; people with intellectual disabilities; and deaf people. The 124-page report was published by Handicap International in 2006.

The first part of the report discusses the current situation, and barriers, faced by people with various disabilities in South East Europe. The second part describes good practices that have successfully made the environment more accessible for people with disabilities throughout the region. The third part discusses the importance of awareness raising; the laws and policies needed to improve the situation; the need for training in universal design; and the importance of including people with disabilities in planning all new construction. The report closes with a series of recommendations.

The full report can be downloaded for free in
http://www.disabilitymonitor-see.org/documents/dmi2_eng/dmrII_webeng.pdf

People interested in creating accessible environments, and in the principles of universal design, may also be interested in learning about a free, on-line book on Universal Design and Visitability.



We Can Do learned about this report by exploring the newest resources to be posted at the AskSource.info database on disability issues; health issues; and development.

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Successful Projects–What Makes Them Work?

Posted on 2 June 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Case Studies, Cognitive Impairments, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Ideas are easy. Any 10 disability advocates will have 100 ideas for projects to fight poverty or otherwise improve the lives of people with disabilities in developing countries. But knowing how to implement projects that actually do what advocates and funders hope they will do is much harder. So, what makes successful projects work? Why do they work? What lessons can other project leaders learn from them?

Inclusion International has released a 66-page study entitled “Successful Projects–What Makes Them Work?” (PDF format, 3.5 Mb). As it happens, their analysis focuses on projects for people with intellectual disabilities in India, Romania, Kenya, and South Africa. But its conclusions are broad enough that this guide may be useful across disability groups and regions.

Successful Projects by Anders Gustavsson and Johans Sandvin and Annika and Lennart Nilsson examines 13 different projects. Each project was chosen because it was interesting, successful, or outstanding in improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. Chapters 1 and 2 describe the research process and the national reports used. Chapters 3 to 7 provide a cross national analysis of the 13 projects, and chapter 8 presents conclusions and implications. The study aimed to answer the following questions (taken from page 8 of the report):

  • Which projects resulting in sustainable improvements of life conditions for adults and children with intellectual disabilities can be found in the four countries?
  • What are the most strategic change agents, internationally, nationally and locally?
  • Which methods are most effective at initiating and maintaining the processes of change?
  • What other factors, deliberate project interventions as well as contextual factors, are important to achieve a positive change?

Experienced leaders, advocates, and professionals may agree with some of Inclusion International’s conclusions but may disagree with others. The study’s conclusion suggests, for example, that any criteria used to measure improvement in the quality of life must be specific to the local culture. The rationale is that different cultures define “quality of life” very differently. This seems a valid point.

But then the study goes further to baldly assert, “the idea of developing a model of best practice to be applied across cultural contexts would never work” (p. 57). This seems too overgeneralized a conclusion from my view.

If by “a model of best practice” you mean “a rigidly prescribed, one-size-fits all project plan,” then I have no hesitation in agreeing. Projects that are too strict in emulating their original model adapt poorly to the unique needs of the people they serve. I also agree wholeheartedly with the study’s assertion that projects work best when they are generated by local people themselves, in response to their own ideas and passions. Projects imposed by outsiders rarely work as well, either because they are not responsive to actual local problems or because local leaders don’t support them as strongly.

But it is a dangerously false assumption to believe that projects originated in other cultural contexts can never offer lessons for leaders elsewhere. As one example (though not disability specific): some years ago, Mexico and Brazil each launched what is now called “conditional cash transfer” programs. Governments give the very poorest families cash. In exchange, parents must do certain things such as sending their children to school or bringing them to health clinics.

The original conditional cash transfer idea has now proliferated not only within Latin America but also to countries as culturally disparate as Kenya, Turkey, Indonesia, and even New York City in the United States. They help improve school attendance, child health, and family nutrition as well as helping families cope with poverty. Yes, each project does need to be carefully tailored for the local culture and conditions. But the broad concept of this program has survived the transition across cultures very well.

Surely there must be broad strategies for certain types of projects targeted at people with disabilities that could similarly survive the transition from one culture to another, even if the details must be dramatically altered.

I should hasten to point out I may be over-reacting to an admittedly superficial glance at the study’s conclusions and accompanying powerpoint programs. The flaw may well be in my reading rather than in the study.

These caveats aside, project leaders, disability advocates, and international development professionals all may find it interesting to read the common “story line” of how successful projects tend to get started. And, as mentioned further above, some of its conclusions do strike me as valid and interesting.

The 66-page report can be downloaded for free in PDF format (3.5 Mb) at:

http://www.inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/Inclusion%20International%20Study%20-%20A%20Cross-National%20Analysis%20-%20Final.pdf

An accompanying powerpoint program, and more detailed reports on individual countries, can be found at the Inclusion International web site at:

http://inclusion-international.org/en/projects/10.html



I first found this study by browsing the Inclusion International web site.

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Human Rights Education WORKSHOP

Posted on 1 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Harvard Project on Disability (HPOD) is pleased to announce the convening of a workshop to mark the release of We Have Human Rights, an action and advocacy handbook specifically designed by and for self-advocates with intellectual disabilities and for use by all who are interested in advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities.

HPOD will release the Handbook during the second half of June in New York at a human rights education workshop modeled on participatory exercises in the Handbook. HPOD is calling for applications from self advocates from developing countries and applications are especially welcome from self-advocates who represent disabled peoples organizations working on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.

Please send a letter expressing your interest to:

Professor Michael Stein:
Harvard Law School
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
mastein@law.harvard.edu

Please include in the letter an explanation of the work you are doing in your country and how you propose to use the Handbook in your advocacy. Please respond by May 15.

Two successful applicants will receive a travel stipend in the amount of $2500 to cover travel to New York and accommodation.



We Can Do received this announcement via the listserv for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development.

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RESOURCE: Brochure on People with Intellectual Disabilities and Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 22 April 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Education, Families, Human Rights, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

People with intellectual disabilities around the world face enormous challenges in realizing basic human rights such as access to education; legal capacity (the right to make their own decisions); the right to live with their families; and the right to live in the community–not an institution. The new disability rights treaty–the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–is designed in part to help with these challenges. The CRPD, which has now been ratified by 24 countries, will enter into force on May 3, 2008 simultaneously with the Optional Protocol, which has been ratified by 14 countries.

But how can people with intellectual disabilities and their families use the CRPD to achieve their human rights? And how can people who create and implement policy support their efforts? A new brochure from Inclusion International (PDF format, 585 Kb) provides guidance. The eight-page brochure summarizes how people with intellectual disabilities and their families around the world helped to create the CRPD; how the CRPD helps address some of their key human rights concerns; and the important role of families in guiding, developing, and implementing policies.

The English version of the brochure can be downloaded in PDF format (585 Kb) at:

http://inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/HearOurVoices-Priority%20Web.08.pdf

The Arabic version of the brochure (without pictures) can be downloaded in Word format (515 Kb) at:

http://inclusion-international.org/site_uploads/File/CRPD%20arab.doc



We Can Do learned of this brochure through the Disabled People International (DPI) e-newsletter.

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Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

Other Resources at We Can Do
Catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

We Can Do Copyright
This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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Read the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008 on the International Disability Rights Treaty!

Posted on 29 March 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

From Australia … from the USA … from India … from New Zealand … from Fiji … from the Philippines …

Writers and bloggers from around the world joined together to help celebrate and promote the first legally binding international human rights instrument to protect the rights of people with disabilities — the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

They celebrated by writing blog posts for the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, which can now be read at
http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

What did they write about? Some of the topics include …

… The story of one advocate who watched the birth of the CRPD among grassroots advocates with disabilities and others in the 1990s …
… How the CRPD could deliver new hope for people in India with mental disabilities …
… How the CRPD represents an evolution from the charity/medical model of disability to the social or human rights-based model …
… How the CRPD could make travel go a little more smoothly for tourists with disabilities …
… Why the CRPD matters for people who use personal assistance services or who are seeking the freedom to explore their own sexual expression …
… An allegorical tale about farmers, spoons, and plows: Why the CRPD is well worth celebrating and why our work isn’t done just because the CRPD is about to take full legal force …
… And more …

All at the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, and all available by following the link to:

http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

Celebrate and learn about the CRPD through the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008.

Then invite other people to do the same. Please circulate this notice or post it at your blog or web site — with, of course, a link to the blog swarm at

http://ratifynow.org/2008/03/29/ratifynow-crpd-blog-swarm-2008/

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NEWS: Kosovan People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for First Time

Posted on 7 February 2008. Filed under: Cognitive Impairments, Democratic Participation, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI).

People with Intellectual Disabilities Vote for the First Time in Kosovo
Washington, DC – February 6, 2008

In an effort to build upon the self-advocacy movement of persons with disabilities in Kosovo, Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) recently assisted “Ne Per Ne” peer support group members in fully understanding and participating in Kosovo’s historic winter elections to choose national and municipal assembly members and mayors. “Ne Per Ne,” which means “We for Ourselves,” is Eastern Europe’s largest peer support group for persons with intellectual disabilities, started by MDRI.

In preparation for Kosovo’s November elections, the peer support groups invited and welcomed representatives of the major political parties to discuss the importance of the elections, the work of the parties, and the issues that would affect them. Participants were able to ask questions of the candidates such as “what are you going to do regarding jobs for people with disabilities?”

For the first time in their lives, approximately 90% of the peer support group members voted in Kosovo’s elections.

My vote made a difference. I thought it wouldn’t count, but it obviously counted; I’m very happy MDRI helped me realize that.” – Avni (Kacaniku Peer Support Group)

I thought I couldn’t vote because I don’t know how to read; I didn’t know I could bring people with me who could help me.” – Laura (Peja Peer Support Group)

I would get so upset at my peers during the peer support group meetings when they would say that they don’t know how to go to the voting place; it’s very easy, think ahead and plan transportation before hand. I asked my father to take me and he was happy to do that. They could ask someone too – ‘I don’t know how’ is not a valid excuse.” – Gazi (Kamenica Peer Support Group)

Kosovo Mental Disability Rights Initiative (K-MDRI) is an initiative of Mental Disability Rights International as a result of our 2002 report, “Not on the Agenda: Human Rights of People with Mental Disabilities in Kosovo.” To find out more about the work in Kosovo or to read more about MDRI, please visit our website.

MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. For more information, visit their website at www.mdri.org.



This press release was first distributed on the MDRI newsletter. You can receive this newsletter for free via email; sign up at http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?m=1101730023584&lang=en.

This item also was distributed on the email list for RatifyNow.org, which also can be joined for free.



Also at We Can Do: catch up with the news; explore resources, toolkits, or funding and fellowship opportunities that might be helpful for your organization; find research, reports, papers, or statistics; or look up conferences, events, call for papers, or education/training opportunities.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (wecando.wordpress.com).

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CASE STUDIES: Disabled Women Entrepreneurs in Ethiopia

Posted on 26 January 2008. Filed under: Blind, Case Studies, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Employment, Mobility Impariments, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Women with disabilities in Ethiopia and many other countries can face enormous obstacles in becoming economically independent. But some Ethiopian disabled women do become successful entrepreneurs.

A publication from the International Labour Organization (ILO), entitled Doing Business in Addis Ababa: Case Studies of Women Entrepreneurs with Disabilities in Ethiopia, presents 20 stories that describe how women with various disabilities have established their own small businesses in Addis Ababa and the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The women have a range of disabilities including visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility impairments; and some have had leprosy. Two stories also describe how mothers of children with learning difficulties became entrepreneurs.

All the stories depict both the challenges faced by disabled women in Ethiopia and also the range of possibilities that can be open to them when they have access to the right skills, training, and opportunities. Many of the disabled women entrepreneurs in these case studies are able to use their income to support their families and children.

Read an abstract and download the publication in PDF format at:

http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/gladnetcollect/189/



We Can Do learned about this publication by browsing through Siyanda, an on-line database for publications and research related to gender and development.



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REPORT: State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007)

Posted on 17 January 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Blind, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Reports, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[Originally published at wecando.wordpress.com (We Can Do) at http://tinyurl.com/27gxpy]

A recent publication, entitled “State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007) Report,” analyzes national and regional Kenyan legislation on disability; government programs and policies on disability, and case law in disability. The report also presents the results of interviews with disabled people in three selected regions within Kenya about their human rights situation, in respect to dignity, autonomy, equality, and inclusion. Deaf people, blind people, and people with mobility impairments, and intellectual disabilities were interviewed. An overview of the disability rights movement in Kenya is given.

The examination of legislation and policies found that the Constitution of Kenya guarantees the human rights and liberties of all citizens. However, although the constitution outlaws discrimination on grounds such as race, tribe, or color, it does not specifically outlaw discrimination on the basis of disability. Further, anti-discrimination laws have not been enforced in cases where disability-related discrimination has occurred.

Interviews with individual disabled people in Kenya found that nearly three-quarters had been denied the right to make decisions affecting their own lives. Also, 80% report experiencing segregation, isolation, and lack of support for their needs. More than one-third reported that their own families had committed abuse or violence on them, and more than 45 percent said their families did not allow them to participate in family activities on the same basis as other family members.

The report recommends strengthening the capacity of Disabled People’s Organizations to address human rights issues; mainstreaming disability rights issues into government bodies and the national development strategy; involving disabled people and their organization in improving anti-discrimination legislation; and making the court process more accessible to disabled people so they can more effectively challenge disability-based discrimination.

The “State of Disabled People’s Rights in Kenya (2007) Report” was commissioned by the African Union of the Blind in collaboration with the Kenyan Union of the Blind, the World Blind Union, and the Centre for Disability Rights Education and Advocacy (CREAD), with support from the Swedish International Development Agency, the Swedish Association of the Visually Impaired, and Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI).

The report can be read on-line at http://www.yorku.ca/drpi/Kenya07.html#startContent

The report also can be downloaded in PDF format (1.2 Mb) at http://www.yorku.ca/drpi/files/KenyaReport07.pdf



This article has been reposted at the RatifyNow.org web site with permission of author. RatifyNow is an organization working to maximize the number of countries signing, ratifying, and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).



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RESOURCE: Listening to Poor People with Intellectual Disabilities

Posted on 5 January 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Inclusion, Poverty, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In Their Own Words
A report from Inclusion International can help people better understand poverty among people with intellectual disabilities in developing countries.

Nobody knows more than a poor person what it means to live with poverty or what the biggest barriers are to escaping it. And nobody knows more than a person who is excluded how devastating it can be to be constantly pushed to the margins of society. And it is poor, excluded people who see most clearly exactly what needs to change to bring them out of poverty and into the mainstream.

It is the obligation of anyone who wants to improve the living conditions of the poor and the excluded to listen to their stories–and their proposed solutions–in their own words. If we fail to listen, we will inevitably fail to help.

Documented Information = A Tool for Advocates
For some We Can Do readers, listening to the poor and marginalized in developing countries can be as easy as stepping out their front door and talking to the people in their local communities. But even the most knowledgeable advocates may struggle to communicate what they know to non-disabled people in their country in a way that others will both understand and believe. In particular, they may need a way to strengthen their voices when educating funding agencies that have the power to support or turn away their organization. Advocates can use published research or reports to help others understand that poverty and exclusion among people with disabilities are not just “isolated cases” or “too few in number” to be worth targeted efforts.

A report entitled “Hear Our Voices: A Global Report: People with an Intellectual Disabilities and their Families Speak Out on Poverty and Exclusion,” published by Inclusion International in November 2006, helps share insights into how intellectual disability can lead to poverty and exclusion. “Hear Our Voices” also makes recommendations for action. The report was made possible with the partnership and financial support of the Norwegian Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, NFU, and the Atlas Alliance of Norway.

How “Hear Our Voices” Was Made
Inclusion International (II) is a global federation of family-based organizations advocating for the human rights of people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. It spoke with people with intellectual disabilities, their families, and supporters in more than 80 countries about the experience of intellectual disability and poverty. “Hear Our Voices” combines personal with secondary research sources to analyze how well each of the eight Millennium Development Goals for fighting poverty are being met for people with intellectual disabilities. The report makes recommendations for how civil society organizations, governments and donor and international agencies can each play a role in ending poverty and exclusion among people with intellectual disabilities.

In the acknowledgments page of their report, Inclusion International points out that people with intellectual disabilities “are too often invisible,” which means that “their stories are not influencing decisions that affect their lives.” Inclusion International explains, “We wanted to bring about change on a global scale – by convincing governments, multi-lateral institutions, and communities of the current injustice of exclusion. Where before our members’ voices were not being heard because they were isolated, we wanted to bring them together into a loud chorus. We wanted to link those local voices to bring about global change.” (p. viii)

What Next?
Here, Inclusion International’s focus is on people with intellectual disabilities. But people who are deaf, blind, have mobility impairments, autism, psycho-social disabilities, or other disabilities are also “invisible” in society—whether or not they are poor. And all poor people also are invisible–whether or not they have disabilities. Disabled poor people, their stories, and their ideas for how to solve their own problems, are too rarely heard when people with power make choices that affect their lives.

Perhaps Inclusion International’s report could inspire other global organizations to do the research for more reports like it. Advocates could then use these reports to help amplify the voices (and signs) of disabled (and deaf/Deaf) people living in poverty around the world.

Read the Report, Watch the Video
The full 79 page report can be downloaded for free in English in PDF format (500 Kb) at

http://www.inclusion-international.org/report/Hear_Our_Voices_English.pdf

The report is also available in a 10-minute DVD (video). This video is not captioned. There are many pictures and only an occasional line of text on the screen that is used to highlight key statistics or other information. I’m guessing there is also some kind of narration–but this is not accessible to deaf viewers. I’m not in a position to evaluate whether this DVD would be accessible or usable to hearing people with vision impairments. If you are, please do comment below.

The DVD can be viewed at:

http://s80.photobucket.com/albums/j194/raqueldejuan/?action=view&current=PhotoStory8.flv

The report and DVD are also available in Spanish at:

http://www.inclusion-international.org/sp/report/index.html



We Can Do learned about the “Hear Our Voices” report by browsing Inclusion International’s web site. The information for this blog post was gathered from their web site and particularly from the report itself.

Find more information about disabled poor people around the world by click on “reports” or “resources” under “categories” in the right-hand navigation bar on this page. Or consult the recent Retrospective post under “Finding sources of information.”



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News at Your Fingertips

Posted on 30 December 2007. Filed under: autism, Blind, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Employment, Families, Funding, Health, HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, Inclusion, Introduction to "We Can Do", Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Women |

I have now added a page to the top navigation bar, News, that consolidates all the news and press releases posted at We Can Do since this blog began.

I mostly cribbed this new page from the work I did recently for the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some). However, if you compare the two, you will see that there are more items listed under the “News” page in the top navigation bar than there are in the Retrospective post. That’s because, when I wrote the Retrospective post, I made a rule with myself that each We Can Do post would be listed only once, even if it arguably belonged in more than one category. Some of the “news” items reported new resources that might still be helpful for readers months or years from now. So I listed those items under “Resources” in the Retrospective post instead of news. But for the “News” page in the navigation bar, I made sure to include anything that was tagged as “news” when it was first posted.

I will try to keep the “News” page up to date. You will notice that it already includes one news item that has gone up since the Retrospective post.



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RESOURCE: Atlas on Country Resources in Intellectual Disabilities

Posted on 27 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cognitive Impairments, Education, Employment, Families, Health, Human Rights, News, Reports, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health have released an atlas that presents global data on intellectual disabilities. The Atlas: Global Resources for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: 2007 (PDF format, 5.6 Mb) was launched during the Second International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities held in November 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.

WHO initiated the Atlas in recognition that “global data collection in the field of intellectual disabilities has long been neglected” (Preface, p. 11). The Atlas gives an overview of the extent to which resources and services for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual disabilities are available throughout all the member states of WHO. This includes information on health services; education; services specific to intellectual disabilities; work-related services such as sheltered or supported employment and vocational training; services to families; and other types of services such as leisure activities, transportation, assistive technology, rights or advocacy support, or food/meal supplies. Data is also given for how these resources and services are distributed by region and by income level.

This information was gathered in the hope that it can be used to help stimulate advocacy and planning efforts in support of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Specifically, it helps identify specific gaps and needs in the resources and services available for people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout the world. This information could be used to advocate with governments or foundations for the resources needed to fill these gaps. The Atlas also has developed two instruments that can be used at the country or the regional level to help map where intellectual disability services are available (in Appendix III and IV of the Atlas). Furthermore, the Atlas has helped produce a network of contacts in the intellectual disability field (in Appendix II of the Atlas).

The Atlas also was developed in acknowledgment that disability is increasingly recognized as a human rights issue. Health and other public services for people with intellectual disabilities are a human right, as recognized by the new international disabilities rights treaty. The Atlas was enabled by a new linkage between WHO and the intellectual disability field, via the Montreal PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research in Mental Health and its associated partners, the Lisette-Dupras and the West Montreal Readaptation centres for persons with intellectual disabilities.

This new resource is primarily targeted at individuals and agencies responsible for planning health and social policy and services within countries. However, it also is meant for those who provide services to people with intellectual disabilities; for international and national NGOs active in the intellectual disability field; human rights advocates and activists; public health professionals and students; and for civil society in general.

The entire Atlas is available for free in PDF format (5.6 Mb). You can download it by clicking on the link to:

http://www.who.int/entity/mental_health/evidence/atlas_id_2007.pdf

You can also read more background information on the Atlas, including the contact person at WHO, at:

http://bangkok-id-conference.org/program-documentation-ressources/project-atlas



We Can Do first learned of this resource through the web site for the International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation. The information in this blog post was gathered partly from



What other resources are available via We Can Do that you might have overlooked? See the We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some) for an overview.

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We Can Do Retrospective: The First 100 Posts (and Then Some)

Posted on 22 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, autism, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Commonwealth Nations, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Democratic Participation, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Education and Training Opportunities, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Fellowships & Scholarships, Funding, Guest Blogger, Health, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Inclusion, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Reports, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Skip introduction, go straight to the Table of Contents

If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.

Top of this page


Table of Contents

Table of Contents; Top of this page

About We Can Do

To learn more about the purpose of We Can Do, see About We Can Do. For more on its guiding philosophy, go to Why We Can Do.

Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.

Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.

I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.

Table of Contents; Top of this page

The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts

The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.

Table of Contents; Top of this page

The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts

Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:

Table of Contents; Top of this page

Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations

Finding organizations; Resources for inclusive development; Human rights resources; Case studies; Other helpful resources

Finding organizations
Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.

Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.

There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.

Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

Resources for Inclusive Development
Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:

Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:

  • Read the CRPD “translated” into plain English.
  • UNICEF has developed a child-friendly version of the CRPD to help children understand disability rights
  • Disabled People International offers two toolkits on ratifying and implementing the CRPD for disability advocates who want to help ensure that all disabled people have their human rights recognized.
  • A handbook on disability rights targeted at parliamentarians can help parliamentarians, people who work in close contact with government agencies, and disability advocates in general, better understand the CRPD.
  • The United Nations’ new web site, UN Enable, is one of the best, and most official, places to find information on the CRPD.
  • Handicap International has produced its own Teaching Kit on the CRPD.
  • The International Disability Equality Agency (IDEA) has issued Equalize It! A Manifesto for Disability Equality in Development Cooperation that expresses their position on how to ensure disability equality in the international development field.
  • Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Case Studies
    Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net.

    But for now, here are two case studies:

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Other Helpful Resources

    Top of Finding practical resources; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research

    Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
    Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:

    Information on people with disabilities
    Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Funding Sources

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Academic Papers

    We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    News

    September 2007; October 2007; November 2007; Early December 2007

    September 2007
    At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    October 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Early December 2007

    Top of News; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Opinion Pieces

    So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.

    Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)

    You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    International Conferences and Events

    Looking for a conference to attend? Here are a few upcoming events:
    January 2008; February 2008; March 2008; April 2008; May 2008; August 2008; September 2008; November 2008

    January 2008
    The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    February 2008

  • The Disabilities Initiatives in Development Seminar, also in Bangladesh also in February 2008.
  • One for all: Persons with Disabilities Initiative in Development, again in Bangladesh in February 2008.
  • The International Centre for Sign Languages and Deaf Studies at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, UK is holding a conference on sign language research in the UK in February 2008.
  • A conference on the deaf community, sign languages, social issues, civil rights, and creativity will be held on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • The Techshare India 2008 Conference on accessibility will be held in New Delhi, India, in February 2008.
  • Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    March 2008
    The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    April 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    May 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    August 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    September 2008

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    November 2008
    The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.

    Top of International Conferences and Events; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities

    We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at www.idealist.org. But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Education and Training Opportunities

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Opportunities

    Missed call for papers; Missed training opportunities; Missed job, internship, and volunteer opportunities; Missed events and conferences

    Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Call for Papers
    The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.

    Also browse through the listing of upcoming conferences and missed conferences.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Training Opportunities

    In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
    Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    Missed Event and Conference Opportunities

    Top of Missed Opportunities; Table of Contents; Top of this page

    What’s Next for We Can Do?

    I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.

    I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.

    If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at https://wecando.wordpress.com. If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] patriot.net). And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.

    For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.

    Table of Contents; Top of this page

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    NEWS: Human Rights Abuses of Disabled Children, Adults in Serbia

    Posted on 17 November 2007. Filed under: Blind, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Human Rights, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Psychiatric Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

    MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL

    Embargoed Until November 14th, 2007

    Contact: Laurie Ahern – 202.361.1402
    Eric Rosenthal – 202.361.9195
    Email: Lahern@mdri.org
    Email: Erosenthal@mdri.org

    HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP ACCUSES SERBIA OF TORTURE AND ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES

    Belgrade, Serbia – November 14, 2007 – Following a four year investigation, Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI) released its findings today in a report detailing the human rights abuses perpetrated against children and adults in Serbia with disabilities, forced to live out their lives in institutions. Torment not Treatment: Serbia’s Segregation and Abuse of Children and Adults with Disabilities describes children and adults tied to beds or never allowed to leave their cribs – some for years at a time. In addition, filthy conditions, contagious diseases, lack of medical care, rehabilitation and judicial oversight renders placement in a Serbian institution life threatening for both children and adults. The children and adults had a range of disabilities including Downs Syndrome, deafness, visual impairment, autism, and mobility impairments.

    “These are Serbia’s most vulnerable citizens. Thousands confined to institutions are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and abuse. Children and adults tied down and restrained over a lifetime is dangerous and painful treatment tantamount to torture – clear violations of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Attorney Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director of MDRI and an expert on human rights law.

    “We call on the government of Serbia to stop these abuses immediately and to respect the human rights of all people with disabilities,” concluded Rosenthal.

    For more information visit www.mdri.org, where you can download a copy of the full report in PDF format, videos, and photos. The video footage does not have captions available. As a deaf person, I found that if you read the executive summary of the report and look at some of the photos before viewing the video then most of the images in the video speak for themselves. I’m guessing that there is probably no audio description for blind people; as a sighted deaf person, I’m afraid I’m not in a position to judge how much sense the video will make without it. Readers who are deaf or blind–or who support their interests–may wish to contact MDRI to encourage them to make their video materials available with both captions and audio description.

    MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities worldwide. We Can Do published an earlier press release from MDRI reporting on similar human rights abuses in Argentina; the Argentina report, entitled Ruined Lives, can still be downloaded from the front page of the MDRI web site (scroll down the page). More reports about human rights abuses of people with disabilities in Turkey, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico, Kosovo, Russia, and Hungary can be downloaded in PDF format from http://www.mdri.org/publications/index.htm

    Most of the text of this blog post comes from the MDRI press release, which can be retrieved at www.mdri.org.


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    Please Submit YOUR Materials to We Can Do

    Posted on 7 November 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Arts, Blind, Call for Papers, Case Studies, Children, Cognitive Impairments, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, Deaf, Disability Studies, Disaster Planning & Mitigation, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, Families, Funding, Guest Blogger, HIV/AIDS, Housing, Human Rights, Immigration, Interpreting, Introduction to "We Can Do", Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, News, Opinion, Opportunities, Policy & Legislation, Poverty, Psychiatric Disabilities, Rehabilitation, Remittances, Resources, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Uncategorized, Violence, Volunteer Opportunities, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Currently, We Can Do gathers news; announcements; academic papers; case studies; opinion pieces; information about resources; and other materials of interest to disabled advocates and international development professionals from a wide range of sources. In addition to these, from time to time, I write fresh content of my own.

    I also hope to be able to depend heavily on YOU–We Can Do readers–for some of the best, most interesting, and helpful materials. Examples of materials that would interest me include, but are not limited to: “best practice” case studies; “failed practice” case studies; checklists; fundraising advice or resources; other pragmatic resources; academic papers or reports; student projects; press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation bar.

    If you can assist with my current top priority, or with any of the other items in my “wish list”, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot net or leave a short note in the comment area below and I’ll contact you.

    Current Top Priority for We Can Do

    Are you from Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, or Panama? If so, were you involved with the movement to persuade your government to sign and ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so PLEASE CONTACT ME (ashettle at patriot dot net, or leave a comment below with your email address).

    I want to interview people involved with these movements (via email) so I can write a story describing what strategies you used; any barriers you faced along the way; how you overcame these barriers; any mistakes you made, how you corrected them, and how other countries can avoid them; what activities or techniques you think were the most critical to your success; and so forth. Sharing this type of information at We Can Do–and elsewhere–could be immensely helpful to disability movements in other countries that are working toward the same goals.

    My primary written language is English, pero puedo escribir y leer, mas o menos, en espanol tambien. (Lo siento para la mala ortografia–no se como crear acentos en WordPress.) Once we are in contact, I will probably have many questions for you–and follow up questions after that!

    Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.

    Edited to Add: I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses:

    My username is: ashettle

    Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@

    My email domain is patriot.net

    Put it all together and you have my email address.

    Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch.


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    NEWS: Asian Recommendations on the Intellectually Disabled

    Posted on 3 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, East Asia Pacific Region, News | Tags: , , , , |

    UNESCAP News Services
    Date 15 October 2007
    Press Release No. G/47/2007

    First Regional Recommendations on the Intellectually Disabled Adopted

    Bangkok (United Nations Information Services) — A United Nations sponsored meeting has made recommendations on ways to empower persons with intellectual disabilities and their families in Asia and the Pacific. A first in the region, the Shanghai Recommendations were adopted at a workshop organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the China Disabled Persons’ Federations (CDPF) which took place from 11 to 13 October in the Chinese city.

    The meeting brought together people with intellectual disabilities, their families, experts and policymakers from China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The participants also attended the closing ceremony of the Special Olympics in the evening of 11 October.

    “Many people think that we intellectually disabled persons cannot do anything”, said one participant, Robert Martin from New Zealand. “What we want is not pity, but empathy.”

    “I have a dream”, said another participant with intellectual disabilities, Ms. Mayumi Narasaki from Japan. “I want to study at the university; want to be friends with a lot of people and want to be a professor of law so that I can explain laws to persons with intellectual disabilities in an easy-to-understand manner.”

    “Voicing their concerns themselves at a UN forum provides them with a sense of legitimacy and confidence, which they have been often denied to have”, said Aiko Akiyama of UNESCAP, one of the organizers of the meeting.

    Persons with intellectual disabilities face prejudice, discrimination, abuse and various barriers to enjoying equal legal protection. They are also denied access to quality and affordable health cares, education, training that leads to gainful employment, living as part of a community, enjoying family life, and an adequate standard of living.

    Due to stigma and a lack of social support in the region, care for persons with intellectual disabilities is usually left entirely to their families, often causing financial and emotional stress. Many care-givers are worried about what would happen to their children or siblings with intellectual disabilities after they themselves become old or die.

    The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), adopted by the UN last December, supports the realization of rights by persons with all disabilities, and affirms supported-decision making instead of substitute decision-making by persons with intellectual disabilities. As of early November 2007, 118 countries have signed the CRPD and 7 countries have ratified it.

    The Shanghai Recommendations on the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities will have a user-friendly version for persons with intellectual disabilities. The Recommendations thank China for hosting the UNESCAP Regional conference; recognizes the signifance of international and regional documents on disabilities, including the CRPD; and recognizes the progress made by governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to improve the status of persons with intellectual disabilities persons. However, the Recommendations also note that people with intellectual disabilities are more likely to face prejudice, discrimination, abuse, human rights violations, and barriers to the services they and their families need.

    It calls on governments to sign, ratify, and implement the CRPD. Furthermore, the recommendations calls for governments, NGOs, the private sector, and international organizations to take a series of actions including to support self-advocacy efforts among people with intellectual disabilities; ensure their participation in decision-making that affects them; promote the employment of people with intellectual disabilities; and more.

    The full text of the Shanghai Recommendations is posted at http://www.worldenable.net/shanghai2007/shanghairecommendation.htm

    For more information, please contact Aiko Akiyama, Social Affairs Officer, UNESCAP, email: akiyama@un.org, Tel +66-2-288-2315

    * *** *
    Headquartered in Bangkok, UNESCAP is the largest of the UN’s five Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered. The only inter-governmental forum covering the entire Asia-Pacific region, UNESCAP works to promote economic and social progress. More information on UNESCAP is available from www.unescap.org


    The original version of this press release is posted at http://www.unescap.org/unis/press/2007/oct/g47.asp; We Can Do has made modifications to link to the CRPD text and indicate the current number of signatories and ratifications; and to summarize the recommendations.


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    NEWS: Human Rights Violations of Argentines with Psychosocial, Mental Disabilities

    Posted on 25 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opinion, Psychiatric Disabilities, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    SEGREGATED FROM SOCIETY IN ATROCIOUS CONDITIONS – ARGENTINA’S MENTAL
    HEALTH SYSTEM VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

    WASHINGTON, DC—September 25, 2007— Argentina is among countries with the most psychiatrists per capita in the world—yet people detained in the country’s public psychiatric institutions are subject to serious human rights violations. Ruined Lives, an investigative report released today by Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)and the Argentine human rights organization Center for Legal and Social Studies(CELS), finds that 25,000 people are locked away in Argentina’s institutions, segregated from society, many for a lifetime and with no possibility of ever getting out.

    Ruined Lives exposes widespread abuse and neglect in these institutions, including people burning to death in isolation cells, complete sensory deprivation in long-term isolation, forced sterilization and sexual and physical abuse. In one psychiatric penal ward in Buenos Aires, men were locked naked in tiny, barren isolation cells with no light or ventilation for months at a time. At another institution, four people died while locked in isolation cells. Toilets overflowed with excrement and floors were flooded with urine.

    Investigators found a 16 year-old boy in a crib, his arms and legs tied to his body with strips of cloth, completely immobilized. Staff said he had been tied up since being admitted to the institution more than a year before.

    “Argentina’s mental health system detains people on a massive scale without any legal protections,” said Eric Rosenthal, MDRI’s ExecutiveDirector. “The inhumane and degrading treatment we observed is banned by international human rights treaties and should not be tolerated in any society.”

    MDRI is an international human rights and advocacy organization dedicated to the full participation in society of people with mental disabilities world wide. For more information, visit www.mdri.org.

    CELS is an Argentine organization devoted to fostering and protecting human rights and strengthening the democratic system and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.cels.org.ar.

    The report and photographs can be downloaded from the MDRI web site in either English or Spanish.

    MENTAL DISABILITY RIGHTS INTERNATIONAL
    1156 15th St NW, Suite 1001, Washington, DC 20005
    Phone: (202) 296-0800, Fax: (202) 728-3053
    E-mail: mdri@mdri.org
    http://www.mdri.org

    This press release comes from Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI</a).


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    CONFERENCE: Augmentative and Alternative Communication

    Posted on 15 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Events and Conferences, Mobility Impariments, Multiple Disabilities, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Most of the text for this announcement is taken from the web site for the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).

    Certain types of disabilities, such as deafness, speech impairment, cerebral palsy, autism, or auditory processing disorders can affect the way a person communicates. Certain technologies and strategies can enable people with these or other disabilities to communicate with each other and the wider world. These technologies and strategies are collectively referred to as “augmentative and alternative communication.”

    “Leading the way” is the theme of ISAAC’s 13th biennial meeting, which will be held in Montréal, Canada in August 2008. ISAAC and its members have been leaders in AAC around the world for almost 25 years! ISAAC officially began in 1983 with a small group of individuals and has grown into an organization that is recognized internationally for the expertise, dedication, and creativity of its members.

    We have much to celebrate in 2008, ISAAC’s 25th anniversary. The field of AAC has changed enormously in the last 25 years, and will continue to evolve in the future. Technological advances and new perspectives on human communication have shaped the evolution of AAC. Individuals who use AAC for their daily communication have increasingly taken on leadership roles in many different ways. Examples of leadership will be showcased as part of the 2008 conference program.Papers, presentations, and discussions of research projects, clinical and educational concerns, and issues of interest to individuals who use AAC systems will round out the program.

    The conference committees are preparing an exceptional event! In addition to the exciting main conference program, there will be pre-conference workshops on current topics in AAC, and the research symposium following the main conference will be a must for AAC researchers. Montréal is the perfect site for the 2008 conference. A city with an interesting history and a bright future, Montréal is a lively place to visit, especially in the summertime. There will be opportunities to take advantage of all Montréal has to offer!

    We are looking forward to welcoming ISAAC to Montréal in 2008!
    See you there!

    Your conference co-chairs,
    Ann Sutton and Jeff Riley
    isaac2008@jpdl.com

    Pre-conference workshops will be held August 2 and 3, 2008. The main conference will be August 4 to 7. A research symposium will be held August 8 and 9. A reduced registration fee is available for individuals who use augmentative or alternative communication systems, students, and individuals from developing countries. However, the conference is not able to provide financial assistance.

    Please note that, at this time, ISAAC chapters all seem to be located in industrialized countries. We Can Do is unable to determine the extent to which workshop presentations would be sensitized to the needs and challenges of people using augmentative or alternative communication methods in developing countries. Those who are interested in the conference should explore their web site at http://www.isaac2008.org/index.html. Remaining concerns or questions should be directed to the conference organizers at:

    ISAAC 2008 Conference Secretariat – JPdL
    isaac2008@jpdl.com
    1555 Peel, Suite 500
    Montréal (Québec) H3A 3L8, Canada

    Tel: +1 (514) 287-1070
    Fax: +1 (514) 287-1248


    If you have been to We Can Do before then you may have noticed that this blog has a new appearance and structure. How do you like it? Do you find it easier, or harder, to navigate and find the information you’re looking for? Any other feedback on how to improve the We Can Do blog in general? Whether you’re a new-comer or repeat visitor, please share your thoughts in the comments area at the post where I describe We Can Do’s new presentation or email me at ashettle at patriot dot net.


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    CONFERENCE: Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Retardation

    Posted on 14 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Events and Conferences, Opportunities |

    The text for this announcement is taken from the website on the 2nd International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation at http://www.bangkok-id-conference.org/. For more details on the conference, please consult their web site directly.

    The 2nd International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation is the continuation of the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO)/World Health Organisation (WHO) Montreal Conference on Intellectual Disability that was held on October 5 and 6, 2004. The most important outcome of this Conference was the Montreal Declaration on Intellectual Disabilities, which established consensual standards related to the right to equality of persons with intellectual disability, as well as a series of measures to be undertaken in order to support decision-making among persons with intellectually disability within a context of respect for their fundamental rights.

    The 2nd International Conference on Intellectual Disabilities/Mental Retardation (ID/MR) will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 6, 7, and 8, 2007. It will take place less than one year after the United Nations General Assembly adopted by acclamation the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty recognizes that persons with disabilities should be fully included in society as equal citizens and should participate in public life. Persons with intellectual disability fall under the scope of this convention and will benefit greatly from its coming into existence, as the respect and enforcement of their fundamental rights has yet to become a reality all around the world.

    A main event of the Bangkok Conference will be the launching of the WHO Atlas on Country Resources in Intellectual Disabilities (Atlas-ID). Over the past two years, the Atlas-ID has been developed to present an overview of resources and services available to individuals with intellectual disability according to world region, country population and income level. More than 140 countries representing 90% of the world population have contributed to this Atlas.

    All of these recent events offer wonderful incentive to join together and create road maps that will make a difference in the lives of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families. This is the challenge we invite you to take part in on November 6, 7, 8, 2007.

    Join us in Bangkok!


    If you have been to We Can Do before then you may have noticed that this blog has a new appearance and structure. How do you like it? Do you find it easier to navigate and find the information you’re looking for? Or is it harder? Any suggestions for how this blog can be improved in general? Please share your feedback in the comments area at the post where I describe We Can Do’s new presentation. You do not need to register in order to leave comments at this blog.


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    Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome: Support for Families

    Posted on 3 October 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Families, Latin America & Caribbean, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

    For many parents of disabled children, their own child may be the first person they have ever met who has a disability. Any of us may feel frightened when we are first exposed to something unfamiliar simply because we cannot be sure what to expect. It can be even more frightening when the unfamiliar affects your own child–especially if you had always assumed until then that disabled people necessarily lead tragic lives of deprivation and suffering.

    Support groups and networks can be invaluable in helping reassure families that a happy and fulfilled life is still possible after a diagnosis. It may be a very different life, with a very different daily routine than they had planned upon when starting their family. But it can be just as rewarding.

    But what if the affected child has a rare disability–so rare that your child might be the only person with that disability in your entire city? Even if your city has as many as 100 to 300 thousand people? And what if you are also in a developing nation where resources of any kind for people with disabilities are rare and hard to find? Such is the case for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi syndrome.

    Rubinstein Taybi syndrome generally involves some degree of cognitive impairment and an assortment of medical problems that might include feeding problems, respiratory infections, ear and eye infections, cataracts or glaucoma, and heart problems.

    One American organization for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi syndrome has established a web site that has links to similar organizations around the world. Not surprisingly, most of these organizations are in high-income countries, particularly in Europe. However the web site indicates that sometimes smaller, more informal support networks may still exist in some countries even if there is no official organization there. It is also possible for family members to join a mailing list (via email) that currently has 180 members from two dozen different countries.

    The full list of organizations, and instructions for joining the email discussion group, can be consulted at:

    http://www.rubinstein-taybi.org/html/organizations.html

    Official organizations appear to exist–or at least have web sites in–only two middle-income countries and no low-income countries.

    The Argentina page (in Spanish) can be found at:

    http://www.rubinsteintaybi.com.ar/

    The Brazil page (in Portuguese) can be found at:

    http://www.artsbrasil.org.br/


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    VOLUNTEER OP with VSO, Kenya

    Posted on 29 September 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Cognitive Impairments, Jobs & Internships, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Volunteer Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

    Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) is seeking a volunteer manager. If interested, please review their announcement below and then contact VSO directly. I first learned of this opportunity via Ghulab Nabi Nizamani–but neither he nor I are associated with VSO.

    In Kenya, people with disabilities often suffer from discrimination and stigmatisation, and have limited access to education or employment opportunities. The Kenya Association for the Intellectually Handicapped (KAIH) aims to improve active participation of people with disabilities in Kenyan society and ensure that children with disabilities can access vital inclusion programs.

    As you work to develop the organisation’s strategy you’ll pass on vital project management and monitoring and evaluation skills to local staff.

    You’ll need a degree level qualification and at least 5 years’ experience in project and people management. Excellent communication and motivational skills are essential, and a strong interest in disability issue and rights would also be useful.

    VSO is an international development charity that sends skilled professionals to build capacity in developing nations.

    We are urgently seeking managers with a minimum of five years experience to work in roles like this across Africa and Asia. You could also be coordinating development programmes in post-tsunami Sri Lanka, or reviewing best practice in Nepal.

    For more roles like this visit: http://www.vso.org.uk/volunteering/stepone/manager.asp


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      About

      Ending poverty among and oppression toward disabled people in developing countries.

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    • The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

      The Mwanza Computer Literacy Project

      The Tusaidiane Disabilities Resources and Charity Organization of Tanzania (TDRCT) would like to improve computer literacy and self-employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Mwanza, Tanzania, and promote their empowerment.

      This organization is run by people who themselves have disabilities. I have known the man who founded this organization for some years. If his organization can quickly raise $5000 from 40 donors within a few days, then GlobalGiving will feature their organization on its website. This will enable them to attract more prospective funders. I have made a donation to them, I hope others will consider doing the same.
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      Learn why the CRPD matters and how to take action at www.disabilitytreaty.org!

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