Latin America & Caribbean

FUNDING: Small Grants for Deaf Children

Posted on 23 March 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Children, Deaf, Funding, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

GLOBAL: Small grants programme for deaf children

Since 2002, Deaf Child Worldwide has supported organisations working to help deaf children overcome the barriers that contribute to their poverty and isolation.

Round 8 of Deaf Child Worldwide’s Small Grants Programme (SGP) opens on 19 March 2009 and ends 30 May 2009.

The SGP supports projects which show clear, measurable and sustainable improvements to the lives of deaf children and their families in developing countries.

Deaf Child Worldwide fund projects of up to three years and for a maximum amount of £30,000 (£10,000 per year). Visit the website for information on the SGP and the application process.

Successful projects must meet one or more of Deaf Child Worldwide’s strategic aims. Applicants must consider our cross-cutting themes in the development of their proposal.

Deaf Child Worldwide is focusing its activities in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania), South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) and Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru). You must be based in one of these countries to apply to SGP.

Applications are only accepted in ‘concept note’ format in English or Spanish. The deadline for submission of concept notes to Deaf Child Worldwide is 30 May 2009. Selected projects will start in January 2010.

The following documents can be downloaded from the Deaf Child Worldwide website:

* Background information leaflet containing details of the full eligibility criteria
* Guidance on applying
* Concept note format

Visit: www.deafchildworldwide.info

More details on the Small Grant Programme at http://www.deafchildworldwide.info/where_we_work/small_grants_programme/index.html

More details on how to apply at http://www.deafchildworldwide.info/where_we_work/small_grants_programme/how_to_apply/index.html

Missed the May 30, 2009, deadline? Deaf Child Worldwide offers similar grants on a periodic basis, though not always in the same countries. Consult their web site at www.deafchildworldwide.info to learn of future opportunities like this one.



I received this announcement via the Global Partnership on Disability and Development mailing list. Please consult the Deaf Child Worldwide website directly, NOT We Can Do, for more detail on this funding opportunity, including more thorough instructions on how to apply.

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Videos about Deaf Life: Central Arican Republic, Philippines, Venezuela, Mexico, Austria

Posted on 3 October 2008. Filed under: Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Education, Employment, Latin America & Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , |

Four on-line videos give an overview of deaf communities around the world; all can be viewed at:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/09/24/deaf-awareness-week-striving-for-quality-education/

The first video on this page shares the story of a school for deaf children in the Central African Republic that has been struggling for funding. Several teachers have quit because they have not been paid consistently for the past four years; only two teachers remain struggling on. Unfortunately, this type of story is common in many schools in developing countries–not only in deaf schools. This video is in the signed language of the Central African Republic with English subtitles. As a deaf person, I can’t tell if this video has English voice over for blind people.

The second video was made by deaf students in the Philippines. This video, in Philippines sign language and English subtitles, portrays the difficulties many deaf people in their country confront when they look for jobs after graduation. Unemployment is another challenge that is common to deaf people and disabled people all around the world–not only in developing countries but also in industrialized countries. I don’t know if this video has voice over.

In Venezuela, teachers for the deaf explain the importance of a bilingual and bi-cultural education. Some Venezuelan Sign Language is seen on the screen in the background scenes, and there are some occasional Spanish words on the screen in between visual shots of children in the classroom, etc. Unfortunately there are no subtitles in any language to help deaf people understand what the teachers say in this video. But hearing people who understand Spanish could give this one a try.

The last video has a deaf woman from Mexico and a deaf man from Austria simultaneously demonstrate the Mexican and Austrian fingerspelled alphabets; the cardinal numbers in Mexican and Austrian signed languages; and the names of the months. I’m guessing there is probably no audio description.

Sighted people will note that the Mexican and Austrian signed languages are dramatically different from each other. I can tell you that they are both also very different from American Sign Language–and all three languages are different from the signed language used in the San Jose area of Costa Rica.

In addition to the four videos, the following web page also has links that give more information about the programs described in the videos:

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2008/09/24/deaf-awareness-week-striving-for-quality-education/



Thank you to Sylvia Cabus for alerting me to these on-line videos.

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NEWS: Jamaica HIV & AIDS Program Includes Disabled People

Posted on 2 October 2008. Filed under: Blind, Cross-Disability, Deaf, Health, HIV/AIDS, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , |

The United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) program in Jamaica has been taking action to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind in HIV/AIDS education efforts. Initiatives include providing materials in Braille for blind people and incorporating sign language into television public service announcements for deaf people. Read more detail about the project at:

http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/Resources/FeatureStories/archive/2008/20080905_disability_hiv_jamaica.asp

Learn more about HIV/AIDS in relation to people with disabilities, and some of the resources available to help, by clicking on HIV/AIDS in the pull-down menu under “Topics/Categories” in the right-hand navigation bar.



I learned about this project via a recent issue of the Disabled Peoples International electronic newsletter.

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Guyana President Pledges Support to Deaf Awareness Week

Posted on 27 September 2008. Filed under: Deaf, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , |

One We Can Do reader has informed me that Guyana President President Bharrat Jagdeo pledged to support the Deaf Awareness Week initiated by a local Support Group of Deaf Persons. Read more detail in the Kaieteur News at:

http://www.kaieteurnews.com/?p=7626



Thank you to Montgomery Chester for bringing my attention to this story.

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Stories of People with Disabilities in Developing Countries from Around the World

Posted on 15 September 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Democratic Participation, Education, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, Mobility Impariments, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Too often, the voices of people with disabilities are simply not heard–within their country, within their community, or sometimes even within families. The voices of disabled people in developing countries are even more suppressed.

One special issue of the New Internationalist, released in 2005, brings us the voices of people with disabilities from India … Zimbabwe … Sri Lanka … Colombia … Bangladesh … and elsewhere.

The stories and interviews published in their magazine, available for free on-line, share the experiences of people with disabilities in developing countries in their struggle for sexual expression … the harrowing experience of rape … the push to achieve recognition for their human rights … the battle against severe poverty and starvation … success at becoming a blind teacher … getting involved with politics … and overcoming discrimination in the work force.

Browse the stories at the New Internationalist website at:

http://www.newint.org/issue384/index.htm

Each story can be read on-line in html format; they do not need to be downloaded.



I learned of this magazine issue when several of its stories were recently circulated via email on the Disability Information Dissemination Network, which is managed by the Centre for Services and Information on Disability (CSID), Bangladesh, and currently sponsored by Handicap International. People may subscribe directly to the CSID mailing list by sending an email to csid@bdmail.net, csid@bdonline.com, or info@csididnet.org, with the word “join” in the subject line.

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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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Ayudar a los niños sordos–en español: New Hesperian Foundation Title in Spanish

Posted on 19 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Deaf, Families, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, Resources, signed languages | Tags: , , , |

BILINGUAL POST in English and Spanish; bilingual articulo en ingles y español. (¡Ojala que mi español es bastante claro!)

The Hesperian Foundation has released its book entitled Helping Children Who Are Deaf in Spanish for the first time. It can be downloaded in PDF format for free, one chapter at a time.

El “Hesperian Foundation” ha publicado el libro, Ayudar a los niños sordos, en español. Se puede transferido el libro sin coste (en formato PDF) un capítulo a la vez.

Says, the Hesperian Foundation, “Ayudar a los niños sordos (Helping Children Who Are Deaf in Spanish) supports parents and other caregivers in building the communication skills of babies and young children. Packed with simple activities, this book is a great resource for people who care for children who do not hear well including parents, caregivers, health promoters, and
others in teaching a deaf child how to communicate to the best of his or her ability.”

El Hesperian Foundation ha dicho, “Ayudar a los niños sordos apoyo familiar y comunitario para niños que no oyen bien. Los niños que no pueden oír bien necesitan más ayuda para aprender un idioma hablado o un lenguaje de señas, lo cual es muy importante, porque el lenguaje es la base para pensar, solucionar problemas y relacionarnos con otras personas. Este libro está lleno de actividades sencillas y será un gran recurso para las personas que cuidan de niños sordos, ya sean padres, otros cuidadores y/o promotores de salud, ya que les ofrece herramientas para enseñarle al niño a comunicarse lo mejor que pueda.”
http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download_Sordos.php

The Hesperian Foundation produces a wide range of books for people and organizations in developing countries. It’s most famous book is “Where There is No Doctor,” which has helped many workers in rural areas save lives.

El Hesperian Foundation se publica muchos libros varios para personas y organizaciones en países en desarrollo. El libro más famoso es “Donde no hay medico,” lo cual ha ayuda mucho personas en areas campos salvar las vidas.

Download Ayudar a los niños sordos en español at http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download_Sordos.php

Hesperian Foundation has many other books that can be downloaded for free. Most are in English, some are in Spanish, and one is in French. You can find these at http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download.php

El Hesperian Foundation tiene muchos libros libres. Todos son en ingles. Algunos son en español. Uno es en francés. Se puede encontrar todos a http://www.hesperian.org/publications_download.php



I learned about this book through an announcement from the Hesperian Foundation.

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History of Disability Rights in El Salvador

Posted on 18 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Disability Studies, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Upside Down World has recently published an extensive history of the disability rights movement in El Salvador from the 1990s through today, with special attention to the 12-year civil war; land mines and land mine victims; disability-related legislation in the country; and the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). 

El Salvador is one of 34 countries to have ratified the CRPD.  The CRPD is the first international, legally-binding treaty to protect the human rights of people with disabilities.  It protects many different human rights including: the right to healthcare and to informed consent in health services; the right to procreate and to obtain contraceptives; the right to education; the right to live with one’s own family in the community; and many more. 

El Salvador also is one of 20 countries to have ratified the accompanying Optional Protocol.  The Optional Protocol gives people with disabilities another way to obtain justice if their human rights have been violated under the CRPD.  People must first pursue all means of justice available to them within their own country.  If all of these attempts fail, and if their country has ratified both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol, then they may register a complaint with the international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The Committee is authorized to investigate human rights violations under the CRPD.

In addition to the countries that have ratified the CRPD and Optional Protocol so far, another 96 countries also have declared official interest in ratifying the CRPD in the future, and 51 of these countries also are officially interested in ratifying the Optional Protocol.  A country signals strong official interest in an international treaty by signing it.  Signing a treaty is the first step toward ratifying it.  A country that has signed a treaty is not yet obligated to obey it, but must still avoid taking actions that would violate it.  A country that has fully ratified a treaty must make its laws more consistent with the treaty by creating new laws as necessary, or by abolishing old laws that violate the treaty.

Read the full story on the history of disability rights in El Salvador, entitled “A Recent History of the Disability Rights Movement in El Salvador” at

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1384/1/

Find out if your country has signed or ratified the CRPD and Optional Protocol at http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=12&pid=166

Learn more about the CRPD and Optional Protocol by reading the RatifyNow FAQ.

Learn how you can become involved with the global campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of the CRPD and Optional Protocol in your country and elsewhere.

This blog post was first published at <a href=”http://www.RatifyNow.orgRatifyNow.org and is re-posted here with permission of author. RatifyNow is an organization working to promote the ratification and implementation of the CRPD around the world, and periodically posts links like this one to interesting news stories related to disability rights and the CRPD.

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Disability Rights Fund Opens Grantmaking to DPOs in 7 Countries

Posted on 16 June 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Funding, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

En español

PRESS RELEASE
Disability Rights Fund Opens Grantmaking to DPOs in 7 Countries

JUNE 16, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, MA – The Disability Rights Fund—a groundbreaking grantmaking collaborative supporting the human rights of people with disabilities—today announced its first grants competition.

The broad objective of the Fund — which was launched by the Open Society Institute, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and an anonymous donor on the first anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) — is to empower disabled persons organizations in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union to effectively implement and monitor the CPRD.

In 2008, the Fund plans to give out a total of USD $700,000 in one-year grants ranging from USD $5000 – $50,000 and aimed at awareness-raising, strengthening coalitions and networks, and rights advocacy.

To be eligible for this year’s grants program, applicant organizations must be based in and conduct the majority of their activities in the following seven countries: in Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Uganda; in Latin America, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru; in Asia, Bangladesh. In these countries, the Fund will support Disabled Persons’ Organizations activities that advance the human rights of persons with disabilities at country-level.

Interested organizations are urged to review the full eligibility criteria and application details posted at the Fund’s website, www.disabilityrightsfund.org. Any questions on the proposal process should be directed to info@disabilityrightsfund.org by July 15. The deadline for applications is August 15.

Disability Rights Fund Steering Committee Co-Chair, William Rowland, President of the World Blind Union, stated “The Disability Rights Fund heralds an innovative partnership between donors and persons with disabilities. The flow of new resources to support our struggle for rights is a development of major significance.”

####

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA
El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad abre su período de subvenciones a OPDs en 7 Países

16 de junio de 2008

PARA SU INMEDIATA PUBLICACIÓN

BOSTON, MA – El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad, una iniciativa colaborativa que apoya los derechos humanos de las personas con discapacidad – anunció hoy su primera competición por subvenciones.

El objetivo amplio del Fondo – que fue lanzado por el Open Society Institute, el Sigrid Rausing Trust, el Departamento para el Desarrollo Internacional del gobierno británico, y un donante anónimo, en el primer aniversario de la Convención Sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad (CDPD) de las Naciones Unidas – es el de empoderar a organizaciones de personas con discapacidad en el mundo en desarrollo y la Europa del Este/antigua Unión Soviética, para la implementación y monitoreo efectivos de la CDPD.

En el 2008, el Fondo tiene planificado otorgar un total de USD $700,000 (dólares estadounidenses) en subvenciones de un año de duración que varían desde los USD $5,000 hasta $50,000, dirigidos al aumento de la concientización, el fortalecimiento de alianzas y redes, y la defensa de derechos.

Para poder optar al programa de subvenciones de este año, las organizaciones aplicantes deben tener su sede y realizar la mayoría de sus actividades en alguno de los siguientes siete países: en África, Ghana, Namibia y Uganda; en América Latina, Ecuador, Nicaragua y Perú; en Asia, Bangladesh. En estos países, el Fondo apoyará actividades de las organizaciones de personas con discapacidad que contribuyan al avance de la CDPD a nivel de los países.

Se alienta a que las organizaciones interesadas revisen los criterios de eligibilidad y los detalles para aplicar que se encuentran en el sitio de Internet del Fondo: www.disabilityrightsfund.org. Cualquier pregunta acerca del proceso para realizar propuestas deberán dirigirse a: info@disabilityrightsfund.org a más tardar el 15 de julio de 2008. La última fecha para enviar aplicaciones es el 15 de agosto de 2008.

William Rowland, Co-Presidente del Comité Coordinador del Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad, quien también funge como Presidente de la Unión Mundial de Ciegos, declaró “El Fondo Sobre Derechos de Personas con Discapacidad ha constituído una asociación innovadora entre donantes y personas con discapacidad. La canalización de nuevos recursos hacia la lucha por reivindicar nuestros derechos, es un desarrollo de importancia significativa.”



Thank you to Diana Samarasan for submitting this press release for publication at We Can Do.

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NEWS: Sign Language Training Program Launches in Guyana

Posted on 11 June 2008. Filed under: Deaf, Education, Education and Training Opportunities, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, News, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The Guyana Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Guyana Community Based Rehabilitation Programme (GCBRP), has initiated a sign language training program targeted at improving the quality of education for deaf children, the Kaieteur News has reported. The program will provide sign language training to teachers so they can better accommodate the communicate need of deaf children in their classrooms. It is being offered through the St. Stanislaus College in Brickdam.

Read the original Kaieteur News story entitled “Education Ministry launches sign language training” for more detail at:

http://www.kaieteurnews.com/?p=782



Thank you to Monty Chester for alerting me to this news item.

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Equal Opportunity for All: Teaching Disability Rights in the Caribbean

Posted on 2 June 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Education, Employment, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) North America and the Caribbean (NAC) has released a guide that can be used to educate the general public about disability etiquette and the disability rights movement. The 33-page booklet, entitled Equal Opportunities for All: Respecting the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PDF format 551 Kb), is targeted at people in the North American and Caribbean regions who are new to disability. But most of its information is broad enough that it may be useful for people in other regions as well.

International development professionals new to disability issues may find this guide helpful in answering questions they were too embarassed to ask disability advocates directly. Disability advocates may find the booklet’s simple, accessible language and clear information helpful in their public outreach campaigns.

The booklet defines “disability”; describes what a “barrier free” world would look like; and recommends appropriate language to use when referring to people with disabilities. It also shares basic advice for etiquette useful for people who have little to no prior experience interacting with disabled people. For example, it encourages readers to speak directly to a person with disabilities–not to their friend, aide, or interpreter. It also shares more specific advice for interacting with people who are blind; deaf; have specific learning disabilities; have intellectual disabilities; use a wheelchair; or who have psycho-social (psychiatric) disabilities.

Subsequent sections of the booklet tackle topics such as mainstreaming in education; how to make schools, places of employment, and the community more accessible; and the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The guide presents arguments for why everyone (not just people with disabilities) should care about accessibility.

People unfamiliar with the disability-oriented resources available in the Caribbean region will want to turn to this booklet’s listing of organizations and schools in Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. (Want to find more disability-related organizations? Try checking other We Can Do posts that point to specific organizations or to resources for finding them.)

A glossary in the back helps people new to disability issues understand basic terminology such as “accommodation.”

You can download the booklet (PDF format, 551 Kb) at:

http://caribbean.dpi.org/Equal%20Opportunities%20for%20All%20-%20May%2008%20Update.pdf



I first learned about this handbook via the Disabled Peoples’ International electronic newsletter. I gathered further detail by skimming the guide itself.

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CALL FOR FILMS on Disabled People for International Disability Film Festival

Posted on 14 May 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Audio & Visual Materials, Call for Nominations or Applications, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Brazil’s International Disability Film Festival is licensing films to be screened on a new TV program about disability for Brazil’s Public TV (TV Brasil). They are searching for short films on this issue. These can be either documentary, fiction or animation films as long as there is a disabled person as the main character. The running time cannot exceed 25 minutes. If you have or know of a film with these characteristics that may interest Brazil’s International Disability Film Festival, please contact them at the following email addresses:

programa@assimvivemos.com.br
lara@lavoroproducoes.com.br
acioli@lavoroproducoes.com.br

Introduction: We are the producers of Brazil’s International Disability Film Festival. www.assimvivemos.com.br After three editions the festival will become a weekly TV program on Brazil’s Public TV. www.tvbrasil.org.br Brazil’s Public TV Broadcast covers the whole Brazilian territory. The Brazilian population is about 200 million people (98% are TV viewers).

Hoping to here from you soon,
Sincerely,
Lara Pozzobon & Gustavo Acioli
Producers



This post is slightly modified from an announcement circulated on the Global Partnership on Disability and Development (GPDD) listserv.

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NEWS: 20th Nation Ratifies International Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 4 April 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

RatifyNow has reported that Ecuador became the 20th nation to ratify the international disability rights treaty, known as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), earlier today on April 3, 2008. It also became the 13th nation to ratify the accompanying Optional Protocol. Accordingly, both the CRPD and the Optional Protocol will enter into force 30 days from now. This means that countries ratifying the CRPD will now be obligated to obey it, as will countries ratifying the Optional Protocols.

RatifyNow has a story about the newest ratification; why this is a historic milestone for the international disability community; how countries and people with disabilities will be affected; how ordinary citizens like YOU can help push for more countries to ratify the CRPD and then implement it fully; and how you can become involved in the ratification movement at:

http://ratifynow.org/2008/04/03/ecuador-the-20th-country-ratifies-the-crpd-…-now-what/

Also, the United Nationas, the International Disability Alliance, and RatifyNow are all planning events to celebrate the CRPD entering into force in both New York City and Washington DC on May 12. 2008. Return to the RatifyNow.org web site for further details.

Also, read the official United Nations (UN) story, including a quote from the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, at:

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=26199&Cr=disab&Cr1=convention



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NEWS: International Coalition Launches Groundbreaking Disability Rights Fund

Posted on 2 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Funding, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News, Opportunities, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

PRESS RELEASE

International Coalition Launches Groundbreaking Disability Rights Fund
MARCH 31, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director
Telephone: 617-261-4593
Email: dsamarasan@disabilityrightsfund.org

BOSTON, MA – The Open Society Institute, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the United Kingdom Department for International Development, and an anonymous donor today announced a groundbreaking collaborative to support the human rights for people with disabilities.

Launched on the first anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), the Disability Rights Fund will provide financial support for human rights advocacy in the developing world and Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union. The broad objective of the Fund will be to empower disabled persons organizations around the world to effectively implement and monitor the CPRD. The Fund is a project of Tides.

“The Fund is a unique partnership among donors and the worldwide disability community,” said Emily Martinez, Director of Special Initiatives at the Open Society Institute. “It will directly support the human rights work of disabled persons organizations in the developing world.”

The CRPD recognizes that self-representation is essential to the enjoyment of human rights. It underscores the importance of including people with disabilities in the development of disability law, policies and programs. Through its unique governance structure, the Disability Rights Fund incorporates this principle.

A global advisory panel, made up of 12 individuals, most of whom are persons with disabilities, will provide recommendations on grantmaking strategies for the Fund; four of the Panel members will also serve on the Fund’s grantmaking decision body. The members of the panel come from five continents and reflect a broad cross-section of the disability community. The majority were nominated by international and regional disabled persons organizations.

The structure of the Fund not only reflects the international disability community’s slogan, “Nothing About Us Without Us,” it also reflects a growing trend within the grantmaking community to better listen to the communities they seek to serve and to redefine the relationship between grantmaker and grantee in the interest of more effective grantmaking.

Grants disbursed by the Disability Rights Fund will be centered on three major areas: increasing the participation of persons with disabilities in their communities through trainings and networking opportunities; developing awareness of the CPRD among stakeholders; and supporting advocacy projects that promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities. The Fund expects to make its first grants in late spring/early summer 2008.

“The broad, international support for the Disability Rights Fund is a remarkable characteristic of this grantmaking enterprise. It is our hope that this diversity in funding sources will expand as the Fund develops,” said Diana Samarasan, Director of the Fund.

####



Thank you to Diana Samarasan for sending this press release to We Can Do.

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FUNDING: Small Grants for Projects for Deaf Children

Posted on 20 March 2008. Filed under: Children, Deaf, Funding, Health, HIV/AIDS, Latin America & Caribbean, Poverty, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

[En español más abajo.]

The following email is being circulated by the UK-based international organization Deaf Child Worldwide (formerly known as International Deaf Child Society):

Dear colleagues,

If are in touch with local organisations that want to start new work with deaf children, then please forward the information below about the latest round of the Deaf Child Worldwide Small Grants Programme.

Thank you so much for your help with this.

English
Round 7 of Deaf Child Worldwide’s Small Grants Programme is now open. The deadline for completed concept notes is 30 May 2008.

The Small Grants Programme (SGP), aims to have an impact on the lives of deaf children, their families, service providers and policy makers by establishing quality partnerships with local organisations based in our priority countries within East Africa, South Asia or Latin America. We fund one to three year projects of up to £10,000 per year.

Go to www.deafchildworldwide.info/sgp for more information about how to apply.

If you applied to SGP in the past, then please note that in 2007, we carried out a strategic review and an evaluation of SGP. We have made some significant changes to the programme. These include:

  • Smaller geographic focus. Now only organisations based in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), and Andean region of Latin America (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru) can apply.
  • New strategic focus areas. We are only looking for projects which work towards these key areas.
  • Cross-cutting themes. All projects must consider poverty, gender, the social model of disability and sexual health and HIV/AIDS.
  • Longer projects. You can now apply for projects that are from one to three years long.

Please e-mail info@deafchildworldwide.org if you have any questions or would like to discuss your project idea.

Español
Se ha abierto la Ronda 7 del Programa de Pequeñas Subvenciones de Deaf Child Worldwide. El plazo final para la presentación de las notas conceptuales es el 30 de mayo del 2008.

El Programa de Pequeñas Subvenciones (PPS) busca tener un impacto en la vida de niños sordos, sus familias, proveedores de servicios y formuladores de política estableciendo para ello asociaciones de calidad con organizaciones locales con sede en nuestros países prioritarios en África Oriental, Asia del Sur o América Latina. Financiamos proyectos de uno a tres años de hasta £10,000 anuales.

Visiten www.deafchildworldwide.info/pps para mayor información sobre cómo postular.

Si ustedes postularon al PPS en el pasado, entonces tomen en cuenta que en el 2007 llevamos a cabo una revisión estratégica y una evaluación del PPS. Hemos hecho algunos cambios significativos al programa. Éstos son:

  • Foco geográfico más pequeño. Ahora sólo organizaciones con sede en África Oriental (Kenya, Tanzania y Uganda), Asia del Sur (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistán y Sri Lanka) y la región andina de América Latina (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador y Perú) pueden postular.
  • Nuevos ejes estratégicos. Estamos examinando sólo proyectos que trabajen en pro de estos ejes clave.
  • Temas transversales. Todos los proyectos deben considerar pobreza, género, el modelo social de la discapacidad y salud sexual y VIH/sida.
  • Proyectos más largos. Ahora ustedes pueden postular con proyectos que tengan de uno a tres años de duración.

Si tienen alguna pregunta escríbannos a info@deafchildworldwide.org. Trataremos de responder lo más pronto posible, aunque recién podremos responder a indagaciones en español después del 7 de abril del 2008.

Sírvanse reenviar este email a organizaciones o colegas que ustedes consideren estarían interesados en esta oportunidad.

Best wishes,

Kirsty

KIRSTY WILSON
Programmes Manager
Deaf Child Worldwide
www.deafchildworldwide.org

Deaf Child Worldwide is the only UK based international development agency dedicated to enabling deaf children to overcome poverty and isolation. We are the international development agency of The National Deaf Children’s Society in the UK. Registered Charity No 1016532.

Join our network – receive regular updates and share your experiences about work with deaf children and their families. Contact info@deafchildworldwide.org or add your details at www.deafchildworldwide.info/joinournetwork



We Can Do thanks Kirsty Wilson at Deaf Child Worldwide for passing along this announcement.

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TRAINING: Youth Leadership, Summer Trip from US to Costa Rica

Posted on 4 March 2008. Filed under: Capacity Building and Leadership, Cross-Disability, Education and Training Opportunities, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Young leaders with disabilities who are US citizens are being recruited for a 16-day leadership exchange program to Costa Rica this summer. The focus of the program, from June 27 to July 12, 2008, will be on youth leadership and cross-cultural perspectives on disability rights. Participants aged 18 to 24 will develop leadership skills, build self-confidence, make friends, learn Spanish, and experience Costa Rican culture by living with a local host family.

This opportunity is offered by Mobility International USA (MIUSA). The application deadline is March 28, 2008.

MIUSA strives to organize programs that include people with and without disabilities and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. First time travelers with disabilities who are from a cultural minority and of low socioeconomic status are included every year. MIUSA exchange programs are inclusive of people who are Deaf and hard of hearing, or have cognitive,visual, physical, psychiatric, systemic, non-apparent, or other types of disabilities.

  • ASL staff interpreters will be provided by MIUSA for the duration of the program.
  • Materials in alternative formats will be provided for all scheduled program activities.
  • Funding for Personal Assistants may be available for participants who need personal assistance during the program.

Learn more about the program at:

http://www.miusa.org/newsitems/costarica08

Inquiries about the program should be directed to MIUSA, not We Can Do.



We Can Do learned about this program via the Disabled People International (DPI) email newsletter.

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SURVEY: HIV/AIDS Among Jamaicans with Disabilities

Posted on 13 February 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Announcements, Cross-Disability, Health, HIV/AIDS, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Graduate student Nalini Asha Reyes at San Diego State University in California, USA, is conducting a survey about HIV/AIDS among people with disability in Jamaica. Her survey is based on an earlier, similar global survey by researcher Dr. Nora Groce at Yale University.

Nalini Asha Reyes is looking for people to participate in her survey. She is particularly looking for people in or from Jamaica but will also welcome survey results from elsewhere in the Caribbean. If interested in participating, please read her letter below then contact her at naliniasha@gmail.com to request a copy of the survey. She can send it to you in Word document or PDF format.

HIV/AIDS and Disability in Jamaica Survey

Please help:

Today, little is known about HIV/AIDS among people with disability. We would like to know how the epidemic is affecting individuals and groups with all types of disability in Jamaica and we ask you to help. We are interested in disabled people of all ages, and disabled people living with their families, on their, own, or in institutions.

We send this survey with the request that you fill it out on behalf of the organization or advocacy group you work with. (If you think someone else in your organization would know more about these questions, please give it to them to fill out). Your information has been provided either through the public website of the National Aids Committee of Jamaica, or by an Internet search using the words, “HIV/AIDS,” “Jamaica,” and “Disability.”

We are interested in hearing both from organizations that are working on HIV/AIDS issues and from organizations that are not currently involved in HIV/AIDS issues.

We will be looking for information about programs that provide HIV/AIDS education, interventions and services to disabled people and communities. We would also welcome stories from Disability advocates about attempts to get help for HIV/AIDS in one’s community, examples about not being able to get help for one’s community, stories about governments and HIV/AIDS voluntary organizations that have tried to reach disabled people and so forth.

You must be over the age of 18 to complete and return this survey.

This survey should require less than 30 minutes of your time, and can be saved and emailed back as a PDF or MS Word document. Please note that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers to any of these questions. Also, feel free to leave blank any questions for which you may not know the answer or which you may not feel comfortable answering. However, keep in mind we realize there is often little information available on this topic and so we are also interested in people’s ideas, impressions, knowledge, practices and attitudes. All information submitted will be kept completely confidential and will never be linked to your organization or team. Also, please note that we are not asking (and do not want) personal information or names of individuals who might have HIV/AIDS – we feel it is very important that we do not invade anyone’s privacy.

If you already have information about HIV/AIDS and Disability from your own organization or educational materials, information on training, studies, meetings, newspaper articles, or other materials relating to HIV/AIDS that you would like to share with us, we would appreciate it. If you know of a program or project that you think we should learn more about, please let us know. Finally, if you know of other Disability organizations, advocates, or government agencies who might have information about HIV/AIDS and Disability, we would appreciate it if you would forward this announcement on to them.

Language: If it is easier for you to write in a language other than English, please fill out the form in whatever language is easiest for you.

Sincerest thanks,

Nalini Asha Reyes
Graduate Student and Special Education Teacher
San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1170, USA
Phone: + 858.531.0847
e-mail: naliniasha@gmail.com

John R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
San Diego State University
College of Education; Department of Special Education
5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, CA 92182-1170
Phone: +619.594.3841; Fax: +619.594.6628
Email: johnson7@mail.sdsu.edu

Again, people interested in participating in the survey should send an email to Nalini Asha Reyes at naliniasha@gmail.com to request a copy of the survey.



Thank you to Nalini Asha Reyes for alerting me to this survey. I hope to be able to eventually post or link to the results of this survey.



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.



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NEWS: Peru Ratifies Disability Rights Treaty, Optional Protocol

Posted on 1 February 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Yesterday, Peru became the 15th country to ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 9th country to ratify the accompanying Optional Protocol.

The CRPD is an international human rights treaty focused on protecting the rights of people with disabilities. Some of the rights it is meant to protect include: equality before the law without discrimination; freedom from torture; right to live in the community; respect for home and the family; right to education; right to health; right to work; right to an adequate standard of living; right to participate in political and public life. The CRPD needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it can take full legal force.

For citizens who feel their rights have been violated under the CRPD, the Optional Protocol will give them one more way to obtain redress. If national-level channels of justice (e.g., court systems) fail to protect the rights of disabled people, then disabled people in countries that have ratified the Optional Protocol would be able to bring petitions to an international Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Committee is a body of independent experts that will review how different countries implement the CRPD.

There are several other international instruments that are used to help protect the rights of people with disabilities. These include the Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons; the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons; the Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care (1991); and the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (1993). However, the CRPD and the Optional Protocol are the first instruments for disability rights that would be legally binding.

More information on the CRPD and the Optional Protocol is available at United Nation’s Enable website. Another web site, www.RatifyNow.org has information, toolkits, and resources that advocates and organizations can use to encourage their country governments to ratify and implement the CRPD and Optional Protocol.



We Can Do first learned about Peru’s ratification of the CRPD through the RatifyNow mailing list. People may join the mailing list, or become a member of RatifyNow, for free.

A modified version of this blog post is also available at the RatifyNow web site’s news page.



Catch up with other international disability news.

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CASE STUDY: Strengthening Disabled Women Organizations in Nicaragua

Posted on 26 January 2008. Filed under: Capacity Building and Leadership, Case Studies, Cross-Disability, Latin America & Caribbean, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A publication entitled “Learning from experience: strengthening organisations of women with disabilities” (PDF format, 1.3 Mb) shares lessons learned about organizing, personal empowerment, awareness raising, and incorporating a gender perspective. The publication focuses on work done by a Nicaraguan non-governmental organization (NGO), Solidez, that works to strengthen the capacity of local disabled women’s organizations and integrate women with disabilities into society. Solidez aims to help independent organizations improve their ability to manage their own decisions and self development.

In particular, this profile about Solidez is meant to analyze the lessons they have learned in organizational work and projects, empowerment and personal growth, awareness raising, and advocacy. It describes some of the barriers that Solidez has encountered in its work, for example in overcoming negative, religion-based attitudes toward gender or disabilities. Solidez also explains some of the strategies they used and their results: for example, they attribute part of their success to the use of home visits and meetings in women’s homes. The publication offers frank discussion of some of the challenges Solidez has confronted, such as finding ways to support groups in resolving sometimes very emotional inter-personal conflicts. It concludes with recommendations for how Solidez could further improve upon its efforts.

The publication is available from One World Action, an NGO based in the United Kingdom that works to create opportunities for the world’s poorest people.

You can download “Learning from experience: strengthening organisations of women with disabilities” in PDF format (1.3 Mb) at

http://www.oneworldaction.org/Resources/One%20World%20Action/Documents/Disability%20Rights/solidezreport6.pdf



We Can Do learned about this case study through contacts at Mobility International USA and from the Siyanda database of resources on gender and development.



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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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PAPER: Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries by Shoji Nakanishi

Posted on 30 December 2007. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR), Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Guest Blogger, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/2eeldt

Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries

by Shoji Nakanishi
Disabled People International (DPI) Japan

It has been many years since experts of rehabilitation recommended training and educations to people with disabilities to enable them to get jobs as non disabled people do. The experts believe that independence means only economical independence. As a result, parents think it impossible for their disabled children to live independently in their communities. Parents tend to put these children into a residential institution for them to live permanently. Following these ideas, the government is promoting to build more institutions and to train more experts for people with disabilities.

The Independent living movement by severely disabled people in America denied institutions that lead to isolation and discrimination. In 1972 The First IL center was established in Berkeley, the second one in Houston, in 1974 the third in Boston. A lot of IL centers have come into the world in a very short time. All disabled people in the whole country were united, and then won the amendment of rehabilitation law in 1978. As a result, IL centers got great opportunities to get subsidies from the federal government. “Independent Living: From Social Movement to Analytic Paradigm”, An academic paper written by Gerben DeJong, published in 1978, drastically changed the way of thinking toward disabilities, from rehabilitation to independent living. With this paper, the philosophy of independent living was accepted as a social movement on a academic basis. These two events rapidly promoted the establishment of IL centers nationwide.

Independent Living Movement In Developed countries

The IL movement, which gave dreams and wishes to disabled persons, has grown to service provision systems by disabled peoples themselves and advocacy activities by IL centers in these 30 years in all developed countries, except the Oceania region.

Ed Roberts, the founder of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley and other activists with disabilities said, “People with disabilities should live in communities.” “People with disabilities are neither patients to be cared for, children to be protected, nor Gods to be worshipped.” “People with disabilities themselves can identify their necessary assistance and manage it.” “People with disabilities are the victims of social prejudice rather than victims of disabilities.” This philosophy was soon accepted in many parts of the world. On the grounds of this philosophy, IL centers are providing these services below:

  1. Dispatch of Personal Assistants.
    • There are two ways of dispatching personal assistants; one is the way of direct dispatching like in Japan, another in the way of introducing through IL centers like in the U.S.
  2. Peer Counselling
    • Counselling, talking or sessions among peers who have the same or similar experiences of disabilities.
  3. Independent Living Skill Training
  4. Advocacy Activities
  5. Providing information
    • Housing and social welfare referral are included.

Now the organizations of IL centers are established in each country and region, such as NCIL in America, CAILC in Canada, JIL in Japan, and ENIL in Europe. In 1999 The first summit of World independent Living was held in Washington D.C, U.S.A . Since then, three summits have taken place in different areas where a great number of disabled leaders, including leaders from developing countries became involved.

Conditions concerning Independent Living in developing countries

The Idea of independent living, which insists on self-decision and self-management, also fascinated people with disabilities in developing countries. But because of lack of social resources, it is thought to be difficult in developing countries to achieve environments where there are enough services and accessibilities. Moreover, quite a few people thought by mistake that independence means only economical independence, so that they believed that nobody can live an independent life except for a lightly disabled person. It is nearly impossible for people with disabilities to get jobs in Asia, where only 5 or 10 percent of disabled children can have school education.

As a result, almost all developing countries tried to get disabled people to be independent through CBR (Community based rehabilitation) produced by experts, in the same period of the IL movement. Services based on institutions could be only beneficial for disabled people living in urban areas. The main target of CBR is for disabled people who live in rural areas, occupying 7 or8 percent of the total population. Non-disabled people in their communities were voluntaries trained as CBR workers, and then they did some simple rehabilitation work and help the daily lives for disabled people. Indeed, the quality of life for disabled persons might get improved to some extent, through basic physical training, walking training, sign language education, inclusion by CBR workers, and financial aids of private companies like Micro Credit. But CBR did not necessarily bring independent living for disabled persons though disabled persons had joined as official members since the beginning of providing services. That is because CBR was firstly positioned as extentions of institutions, so that disabled persons were kept under control or management of experts without disabilities.

It is often the case that disabled people who have loved the idea of IL also name their activities IL in some developing countries. For example, a certain disability organization In Mexico established a new organization named “International Organization of Independent Living for People With Disabilities”, arranging the curriculum for disabled people which included lessons about fitness, physiology, swimming, manipulation of wheelchair, driving of remodeled cars, sexuality and family life, urology, training of daily living activities etc. In Thailand, one of the staff with disabilities working at Sirindorn National Medical Rehabilitation Center suggested the Independent Living Unit, providing much the same program as Mexico’s organization did. Even though these trials may not always share the same meaning of original independent living, it indicates that there are also many disabled people having a try at independent living by themselves, in developing countries.

Scheme for spreading IL in developing countries

In 1980, American disabled people who had got involved in the IL movement began to act in other countries to spread the philosophy abroad. Nowadays, Japan is taking charge of propagation of IL in the Asian region, while in America, IL centers or other organizations like Mobility International are inviting other countries’ disabled leaders to their training seminars.

One of 4 activities is often adopted as a way of spreading the IL philosophy in developing countries; first is promoting theoretical framework of IL, second, advocacy, third, participation of severely disabled persons in self-help organizations, and the last, showing a role model as an example of IL.

1. Activity to promote the theoretical framework of IL
  Firstly it is necessary to correct the mistake about IL that independence means doing everything alone without any help. In spite of someone’s help, it is regarded as IL, if only self-decision and self-management can be done. This idea welcomes people with disabilities as “very good news”. But, in most cases, this acceptance does not immediately bring grassroot activities. For instance, a lot of disabled people were excited to meet American activists who came to Japan for an IL promotion tour in 1982, but the IL movement in Japan did not start untill the first IL center was established in 1986. It is very important to follow up on their experiences.

The first IL seminar in Asia was held in Bacolod, the Philippines in 1994, mainly promoted by STIL, Sweden and the Human Care Association, Japan. Three Asian persons with quadriplegia joined this seminar. After the seminar, Motab from Bangladesh tried to expand his job at the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed to the activity of independent living but in vain because of his death 3 years ago. Male participants from the Philippines, all of whom had already married, got quite interested in the IL movement, but they found it difficult to make a movement in their own country, because they had to prepare for their family before they join the movement. On the other hand, Topong from Thailand, on the grounds of the ideals of the IL movement, held a demonstration for better access of Sky Train, and educated other organizations in local areas. The Human Care Association supported his activities, and then offered him to come to Japan for training

Famous disabled activists participated in the 1999’s seminar in Malaysia held by the Asia Disability Institute. One of them was Christine Lee, who had staged a demonstration for access of the mono railway at the risk of being arrested. All participants were wildly enthusiastic on the last day of the seminar, and promised each other to promote the IL movement more actively from now on. But actually, few of them were able to increase their activities in the IL movement. There may be two reasons. One is most of the participants have their own jobs and have no time for the IL movement; the other is that severely disabled persons who really need IL have not joined the movement yet.

Promoting activities are very essential to support and spread the IL movement

2. Advocacy
   The IL movement in Brazil was based on advocacy. Rosangela Berman Bieler, a Brazilian woman with quadriplegic who happened to visit an IL center in America was so impressed with its philosophy that she joined the IL movement. In 1988 CVIRJ, the first IL center in Brazil, was establish by her in Rio de Janeiro. CVIRJ began to start a movement for easy access to the city, such as getting rid of steps on side walks. The problem of accessibility is very meanful not only because it is a problem that applies to all kinds of disabled people, but also because it will bring visible outcomes as advocacy. The IL center in Brazil made the movement more powerful by keeping contact with IL centers in America. Now in Brazil, there are 25 IL centers established, and the national union of IL centers has been united.

In South Korea, the IL movement has made rapid progress in a short time, because the Korean people getting involved with the IL movement have already created activities of advocacy on a large scale. Chon Manfu, a severely disabled person who applied for the role model of IL in 2000, was empowered through the experiences of joining big demonstration in 2001 and a long-term hunger strike in May 2002, triggered by the death of a wheelchair user at a subway station. These events were arranged by Pack Gyoung Souk, the principal of a night school for the disabled people. A lot of his students, who have studied IL, are taking part in the IL movement, which is one of the reasons why the Korean IL movement has such power. Now, the main issue in Korea is to train disabled people as peer counselors. The physical and mental conditions for developing IL in Korea are being prepared; 3 IL centers in Japan, Human Care Association, CIL Tachikawa, and HANDS Setagaya, collaborated with each other to establish a new project team that dispatches peer counselors to Korea several times a year and provides long-term training in Japan for Korean disabled leaders. As a result, some of them have reached the high standard of peer counselors that JIL is setting. There are 5 IL centers in Korea.

3. Participation of severely disabled persons in self-help groups

In Thailand, many disabled people used to sell lottery as a job, which made enough money to prepare for their own family. But because of this job, the disability movement did not grow among people with disabilities in Thailand. Under these circumstances, Topong, as I said before, thought it was only the IL movement that would change the environment of disabled people in Thailand. He tried to promote the IL movement in collaboration with 3 organizations of disabled people, Nontabri,Chonbri,Nakonpatom, three of which were very conscious about the rights of people with disabilities. To support his activities, the Human Care Association invited him to come to Japan for an IL seminar.

Each of these three organizations were democratic self-help groups, which provided home visiting services for disabled persons. Leaders of these organizations were willing to accept the idea of IL. The first step of a three year project is to open a seminar by Japanese disabled leaders, ten participants from three organizations were all studying hard, but none of them were severely disabled. So, the project team gave a task for them that they should find at least five severely disabled persons and take them outside their homes until the next years’ seminar was held.

After this, three organizations began to train students to be a voluntary staff, and ask them to take severely disabled persons outside. Some of disabled persons went outside for the first time in their lives; some of them were strogly opposed by their families, so that they were forced to refuse staff visits; some of them gave up to go outside because of their bad health; some of them had lifters fixed in their bathroom by staff who saw families lift the disabled person with great difficulty. As a result, many of them attended the peer counselling workshop held in 2002 empowered physically and mentally. As they are finished learning skills of managing an IL center in 2003-2004 year, the real activities are ready to start.

4. Showing role model of IL

Young disabled persons who belongs to the MileStone Society in Pakistan came to Japan for the Duskin Training Program, including the 9 month IL seminar at several IL centers, such as Human Care Association and Main Stream Association. It is almost a year since they have gone back to Pakistan and begun to start the IL movement. They looked around Lahore to discover severely disabled persons confined in their homes, and persuade them to attend training workshops held at an office. They asked some promising participants to experience IL in a room in the corner of the office.

In the end, a young girl with muscular dystrophy made a decision to live independently. She learned various IL skills such as how to take proper care from others and how to tell personal assistants what she wanted her PA to do by actually living in a special room arranged in a corner of her house. In the day time, now she works as a member of the Life IL Center the renamed office, riding in a power wheel chair taken from Japan. It is very meaningful that she began to live independently for the first time in Pakistan, moreover in such an Islamic society, where women are likely to be conservative. After her independence, two male disabled persons, who have been encouraged by her, want and even practice now to live independently.

Spreading the correct philosophy of IL

It is true that more and more people have heard about IL, and especially in developing countries, where their expectation toward IL is getting bigger and bigger. Nevertheless, most of them have given up their dreams, making excuses like these: “We have no resources to use in our country.” “Prejudices against disabled people are still deeply rooted.” “Government does not still prepare sufficient welfare systems.”

  One of the strategies to achieve the targets of the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action is “Strengthened community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities.” It says that “Many developing countries in the region are now beginning to augment and replace traditional institutional and centralized rehabilitation programmes and projects with approaches better suited to their social and economic environments of poverty, high unemployment and limited resources for social services. Community-based rehabilitation programmes form the hub of such strategies. The community-based approach is particularly appropriate for the prevention of causes of disability, early identification and intervention of children with disabilities, reaching out to persons with disabilities in rural areas, raising awareness and advocacy for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all activities in the community, including social, cultural and religious activities. Education, training and employment needs could also be met by this approach. It is essential that persons with disabilities exercise choice and control over initiatives for community-based rehabilitation..” It even recommends in Strategy 10 that “Governments, in collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society organizations, should immediately develop national policies, if that has not yet been done, to promote community-based approaches for the prevention of causes of disability, for rehabilitation and for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. Community based rehabilitation (CBR) perspectives should reflect a human rights approach and be modeled on the independent living concept, which includes peer counselling.”

Many people tend to think it nearly impossible to introduce IL to their countries. Naturally the idea of IL can apply to all disabled people in all countries by all ages. The problem is whether you can have the courage of doing what you have not done yet, and whether you have many peers and friends who will support your activity. Pioneers have a lot of difficulties, but have a great impact on other people. Nowadays a variety of IL programs and seminars are prepared for such people. People in developed countries including US are ready to assist you to be a leader of IL movement. We are showing the achievements and good news of IL at all times.



Thank you to author Shoji Nakanishi for granting permission to publish this article at We Can Do. Shoji Nakanishi is currently Chairperson of DPI Asia Pacific and Treasurer DPI World Council. He founded the Japan Council on Independent Living Centers.

I first learned about this paper when Ghulam Nabi Nazimani passed it along.

Have you written an article that you think would be appropriate for publication at We Can Do? Please review the We Can Do Wish List for Written Materials and Resources and contact me. You may either leave a comment somewhere at this blog or sent me an email to ashettle [at] patriot.net.

To find more academic papers or research related to people with disabilities in developing countries, click on Academic Papers and Research under “Categories” in the right-hand navigation bar.



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NEWS: Statement by Rosangela Berman Bieler – International Services Human Rights Award

Posted on 14 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Guest Blogger, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In late November, We Can Do shared the news that Rosangela Berman Bieler, a Brazilian journalist and disability advocate was to receive an International Services Human Rights Award on December 5, 2007. Berman Bieler was unable to make the trip to London, but a friend of hers–Catalina Devandas–received the award on her behalf. Devandas read a statement from Berman Bieler at the awards ceremony. Rosangela has graciously given permission to publish her statement here.

Statement by Rosangela Berman Bieler – International Services Human Rights Award

First of all, I would like to express my deep appreciation to International Services for establishing this Human Rights Award and to including Disability Rights as a relevant area. I humbly thank the IS selection panel and supporters for considering my name amongst such a distinguished group of Human Rights Champions from around the world. It is for me a huge honor to be part of the IS partnership.

This award comes in a unique moment, when Disability rights advocates from all over the planet are working together to give visibility and to maximize the number of nations that ratify the new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This twenty-first century’s first human rights treaty was adopted by the United Nations a year ago and opened for signatures on March 30, 2007. To date, 118 nations have indicated support of the treaty and interest in ratification. As of today, 10 nations have ratified (Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Spain, Bangladesh, South Africa, Jamaica, and Panama). The treaty becomes legally binding 30 days after the 20th nation ratifies it.

According to the UN, approximately 10 percent of the world’s population has a disability. This translates into over 600 millions disabled people living around the world, being more than 400 million in developing countries. For every disabled person, there are at least three other members of the household indirectly affected by disability. The largest increase in the number of people with disabilities will happen in the age bracket of 65 years or more. And the world population is aging…

Today Disability is understood as the result of the interaction between people with different levels of functioning and an environment that does not take these differences into account. Disability is part of each and every individual’s life cycle. Beyond the typical areas of disability (motor, hearing, visual, and mental/intellectual), persons in general face “disabling” conditions in a society that is unprepared to recognize and respond to human diversity.

People with physical, sensory or mental limitations are often disabled not because of a diagnosable condition, but because they are denied access to education, labor markets, and public services. This exclusion leads to poverty and, in a vicious circle, poverty leads to more disability by increasing people’s vulnerability to malnutrition, disease, and unsafe living and working conditions.

Accordingly to the World Bank, it is expected that the number of people with disabilities will increase by 120%, in the next 30 years in developing countries. The increase is of 40% in more developed countries. It is estimated that 100 million people in the world acquired a disability due to malnutrition.

About 80-90% of disabled people in the Latin-American Region are unemployed or outside the work force. Most of those who have jobs receive little or no monetary remuneration. In my native country, Brazil, the 2000 Census shows that, of the 24.650.000 Brazilians with disability, 27% live in situation of extreme poverty and 53% are poor.

Universal inclusion is not only a human rights issue and a principle for equity, but also an operational strategy to general a better and sustainable society for all. To improve the efficacy of social and economic development actions and to reach all manifestations of human diversity, public policies, from design to implementation, must take all human characteristics and needs into account.

Human Rights are exercised in the mainstream society, in the daily life of each one of us. The means for this full exercise are provided by fair and equitable public policies for all. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a strong and effective instrument to orient and assist governments to implement policies and actions under an inclusive development approach.

The UN Convention recognizes the fundamental importance of getting disabled people ourselves involved in the process of our emancipation and reinforces the concept of “Nothing About Us, Without US”, used by the disability field to claim full participation. Under this premises, together with my peers and supporters of the Disability field, I would like to call all governments to immediately ratify the CRPD and start making the ideal of an inclusive Society, into a reality.

Thank you very much for this opportunity and let’s continue working together for a planet and a society where life is valued, diversity is celebrated and dignity is for all.

Inter-American Institute on Disability & Inclusive Development
Instituto Interamericano sobre Discapacidad y Desarrollo Inclusivo
Instituto Inter-Americano sobre Deficiência & Desenvolvimento Inclusivo

Rosangela Berman Bieler
Executive Director
IIDI Inter-American Office:
New Address:
27-37 27th Street, #1B,
New York, NY 11102
Tel: 1(347) 738-6472


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NEWS: Enabling Blind to Read Computers in Africa, Other Developing Regions

Posted on 11 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Blind, East Asia and Central Asia, East Asia Pacific Region, Latin America & Caribbean, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Sightsavers Dolphin Pen – For developing countries

What is Sightsavers Dolphin Pen?

The Sightsavers Dolphin Pen is a low-cost, lightweight pen drive with a screen magnifier and screen reader, designed to benefit those living in some of the world’s poorest communities. It enables visually impaired people in Africa and other developing regions to gain the same access to computers as sighted people – and so to develop their skills and employment prospects.

This is an exciting venture because it is the first time a world-ranked assistive technology manufacturer has collaborated with an NGO (non-government organisation) to make high-quality product such as this available at cost price to eligible overseas projects.

Robin Spinks of Sightsavers International says: “Blind and low vision computer users can now carry their assistive software on a pen drive and use it on any PC. This represents a huge step forward for visually impaired computer users in developing countries.”

Users can take magnification and speech with them to any PC.
Easy to use and quick to set up. Simply plug in and go.
Lightweight yet robust. Fits in a pocket.
Gives independence to produce documents, send email and surf the web.
Will be made available in schools and universities wherever possible.

The pen will be available in eligible African countries and in other eligible countries in Asia (both Eastern Asia and Southern Asia); Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information:

http://www.yourdolphin.com/productdetail.asp?id=27&utm_source=SSdolphinpenKenya&utm_medium=email


Most of the text for this blog post is taken from the Dolphin Pen web site. We Can Do first learned about the Dolphin Pen through an announcement distributed on the Intl-Dev email news distribution list.


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FELLOWSHIP: Inter-American Foundation’s Grassroots Development Fellowship Program

Posted on 2 December 2007. Filed under: Fellowships & Scholarships, Latin America & Caribbean | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Institute of International Education (IIE) has partnered with the Inter-American Foundation to administer its Grassroots Development Fellowship Program. IAF’s fellowships are targeted at increasing awareness of grassroots development efforts and cuilding a community of professionals and scholars. Fellows study grassroots efforts among rural and urban poor people to organize themselves, as well as policies and programs meant to reduce their poverty. Research findings are disseminated to people involved with development.

This fellowship could be an opportunity for Ph.D students to make fellow professionals and scholars more aware of grassroots efforts among disabled poor people in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Inter-American Foundation expects to award up to 11 Doctoral Field Research Fellowships in 2008. The application deadline is January 22, 2008. The Fellowship award includes:

  • round-trip economy international transportation to the field research site;
  • round-trip economy international transportation to the field research site;
  • a $3,000 research allowance, paid in a one-time, lump sum;
  • a $1,500 monthly stipend covering a maximum grant period of 12 months–IAF-supported research under the 2008 competition must be initiated between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009;
  • attendance at a required mid-year Grassroots Development Conference to discuss each Fellow’s progress with members of the IAF’s academic review committee.

Applicants must be currently registered as students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and the professions as related to grassroots development issues. The competition is open to U.S. citizens and citizens of independent Latin American and Caribbean countries (except Cuba).

Interested individuals should follow the link to the IAF web site and review their entire site carefully before applying.


The information and some of the text for this announcement was gathered from the IAF web site. We Can Do first learned of this opportunity through contacts at Mobility International USA (MIUSA).


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NEWS: Brazilian Journalist, Disability Advocate Recognized

Posted on 29 November 2007. Filed under: Announcements, Human Rights, Inclusion, Latin America & Caribbean, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Brazilian activist awarded with the International Service Human Rights Award

Brazilian journalist, Rosangela Berman Bieler, director of the Interamerican Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development, will be awarded on 5th of December with the International Service Human Rights Award in the category Defense of Human Rights of People with Disabilities. The award ceremony will take place at the House of Commons in London (UK).

Rosangela Berman Bieler has been recognized for her 30-years achievements for the promotion of an inclusive society which promotes and respects the diversity, the inclusion, the equality of opportunities and the independent living for all.

“In the midst of the historical approval of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities”, declared Matthew Snell, Chief Executive of International Service, the British development agency, the award promoter, “we recognize the strategic importance of the disability perspective, associated to the core human rights issues and challenges of the present times”.

For more information, please contact International Service Field Director in Brazil, Luca Sinesi: luca@isbrasil.org.br

International Site: www.internationalservice.org.uk

International Service Human Rights Awards
The first International Service human rights awards were held in 2003 as part of International Service 50th anniversary celebrations. Since then the ceremony has become one of the key events in the British overseas development calendar.


We Can Do received this press release via the Intl-Dev email distribution list.

On a personal note, I used to work for Rosangela Berman Bieler as a writer/editor and am both pleased and proud to see her receive this award. And, of course, I am not at all surprised. Congrats, Rosangela!


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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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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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