International Day of Mourning and Remembrance: Institutionalized Lives of People with Disabilities–Forgotten Lives and the Ones Who Fight Back
Blogger Dave Hingsburger is trying to make today, January 23, the first of what he wants to be an annual event in which we remember together people with disabilities who have lived in institutions and, in some cases, died in them. Another blogger, Amanda Baggs, has also written extensively about her own experiences inside places that others label as “institutions”–and also some places that weren’t labeled “institutions” but were just as bad: I encourage readers to read today’s post at her blog, “What Makes Institutions Bad.” Today, in Dave’s proposal, is meant to be a day to remember the people that we were meant to forget: people placed in institutions, not to help them, but to isolate them from so-called “normal” people. And, it is meant to remember people who have been “put away” supposedly for “their own good,” people who others think “cannot live in the community” as if being human were not enough to qualify one to live among other humans. It is meant to mourn the lives that people with disabilities could have led if they had been allowed to live in their own homes and allowed choice and self autonomy. It is important to emphasize that the day is meant not only to consider people institutionalized years ago, in a time we think we can safely forget because we assume it belongs only in the past. It is also meant to consider the millions of people worldwide, in both developing and also developed countries, who continue to be institutionalized today due to no crime other than being different, being someone who others has labeled as “disabled.”
Dave also means this day as a day to celebrate people with disabilities who have fought back against the mentality that strives to push them to the margins of society, making it easier to institutionalize them. In this context, Dave Hingsburger mentions a woman named Sandra Jensen who fought literally for her life when she was initially denied a heart transplant simply because she had Down Syndrome. Sandra, already a disability rights advocate, fought back and won her transplant in 1996–and also won change in organ transplant policies in Canada. In addition to individuals Sandra Jensen, I can also think of certain organizations that work hard to promote de-institutionalization and other closely related causes: Disability Rights International (DRI), ADAPT, MindFreedom International, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), various chapters of People First worldwide, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and others. I have probably missed many other organizations that are also devoted to ending institutionalization: feel free to mention them in the comments area below.
If these organizations don’t choose to carry forth Dave’s proposal, or if these international and national bodies like the concept but choose a different date or take the idea in a different direction, then Dave’s International Day might well still catch on at some local organizations scattered throughout Canada, US, the UK, and Australia. Dave, after all, has been in the field of intellectual disability and disability rights for more than 30 years: he has delivered hundreds (possibly thousands) of lectures around the world, his blog reaches thousands more readers every month, and some of his many books are required reading in some training programs for future service providers who will be working with people with disabilities. Dave is certainly not without some clout and influence all on his own. But without the support of large and highly visible organizations, his concept could remain a relatively obscure event known only in certain circles in certain cities in, predominantly, English speaking developed countries. It will spread only slowly, if at all, to non-English speaking countries or to developing countries.
Also critical to the success of this event in the future is the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and its member organizations. IDA, as many of We Can Do’s more regular readers probably already know, is a major umbrella organization for various international disability organizations that include WNUSP (listed above), the Disabled Peoples’ International (an organization run by people with various disabilities, with national assembly members in more than 100 countries), Inclusion International (representing people with intellectual disabilities and their loved ones), World Federation of the Deaf, World Blind Union, and others. Each of IDA’s member organizations themselves have many more member organizations in dozens of countries around the world, and many of these in turn have member organizations at the local level in their countries. If some of these organizations adopt Dave’s idea, then many more organizations around the world would surely also pick it up as well–whether their local language is English, Spanish, French, or something else, whether in developed countries or in developing countries.
Is this day an event that should catch on more widely? I hesitate to issue a firm position on this issue. I do feel that it is worthwhile to have some kind of event that could prompt us, not only to mourn people who would otherwise be forgotten, and to celebrate people who have promoted the cause of freedom, but also to take some action that could help set free the many people who are still institutionalized against their will today. For this reason I do like Dave’s general concept and feel it is worthwhile putting it in front of the readers of We Can Do for their consideration. But I also feel that the issue of how to frame such an event, how to promote it, what activities should be done to acknowledge it, and what date it should be held on, should ultimately be determined by people who have themselves experienced institutionalization, or been threatened with the possibility. People with intellectual disabilities who are confined because they learn more slowly than others. People with psychosocial disabilities and people on the autistic spectrum who are confined because others view their behaviors as “bewildering” and would rather not have to see them at all than try to understand. People with mobility impairments, and people who are acquiring a range of conditions related to old age, who are institutionalized because government legislation, budgeting policies, and the medical profession make it easier to place them in nursing homes than to get support to continue living at home. People who are deaf, or blind, who may be mistaken for having other disabilities, or who others may assume are incapable of learning or being independent because they cannot hear or see. Organizations such as People First, WNUSP, MindFreedom, ASAN, ADAPT, and other international and national organizations run by people who themselves are most commonly targeted for being institutionalized come to mind. I think this is a choice that needs the involvement of many advocates and leaders around the world, not just one man–even a powerful leader like Dave Hingsburger. And not just one woman either, including me as the author of this blog site.
For now, readers may want to read a few blog posts that Dave wrote about what today’s date means to him and why he feels it is important to have an International Day of Mourning and Remembrance:
January 23: International Day of Mourning and Memory in which Dave first sets forth his proposal. Note that he seems open to revising the concept, or at least the name, for future years.
Cousin Mattie: The International Day of Mourning and Memory — Dave’s post from today, January 23, honoring the day itself.
She Never Knew: The Interviews — in which Dave presents an interview he conducted with a woman who performed a song that Dave feels fits in well with the spirit of the International Day.
I also encourage readers to consider taking a few moments–or a few hours, or days–to learn more about the reality of institutionalization today and what is being done to end it. A few of the links from above are good resources. Disability Rights International (DRI) has a huge collection of reports and videos documenting institutionalized abuses from around the world, from Ukraine to Mexico to the United States to Romania to Paraguay and elsewhere. Many People First organizations fight against the institutionalization of people with intellectual disabilities. The Global Disability Rights Library has content and links related to institutionalization of people with disabilities–particularly try the information portal of the same name (Global Disability Rights Library) and check under specific disabilities for psychosocial disabilities and intellectual disabilities. Also in the same information portal, check the section on Independent Living for some of the solutions that allow people with mobility impairments and a range of other disabilities live freely in the community instead of in nursing homes (the link goes to GDRL’s primary page on independent living, but don’t miss the sub-sections under this page with more resources). And check out some of the personal stories on MindFreedom’s website.
A blog post on institutionalization from me would be incomplete without also mentioning another blogger besides Dave Hingsburger who has taught me a great deal about what it really means to be institutionalized: Amanda Baggs. Amanda has herself been institutionalized: although most of her experience in places others would recognize as institutions was in the 1990s, she still knows people who have been institutionalized much more recently than that. And she has had experiences in places that, although technically are not institutions, can be harmful in ways she feels is very similar. Amanda’s entire blog is very well worth reading: I regularly encourage people interested in disability rights to read her blog front to back, or back to front, or inside out, or outside in, or sideways or upside down or right side up or any way at all as long as they read it, throughly and often. Both Amanda and Dave are in developed countries (the United States and Canada, respectively) and I suspect most of their contacts and most of what they have learned about disability rights is also somewhat oriented to developed countries as well. But many of the concepts that both of them wrestle with day in and day out on their blog sites and elsewhere, much of the philosophy they espouse, the values they uphold, and their insightful analysis of how even very lovely, good, kind people can still do terrible things are not bound to any one country. I suspect that disability rights advocates from any country, whether developed or developing, will find ideas of value both in Dave’s blog and in Amanda’s blog.
Here are a few of Amanda’s blog posts that have helped teach me about what it is actually like to be inside an institution, or in an environment that is harmful in similar ways:
What Makes Institutions Bad (today’s post)
What it Means to Be Real (These events were at a day program, not technically at an institution. But apparently much of the way people in the program is treated is similar)
Being an Unperson (Not specifically about institutionalization, but the process of dehumanization described in this video does occur in many institutions)
And one more from Dave, from the perspective of a person who once worked in institutions early in his career:
Patty — In this video (deaf and hard of hearing people can read the full transcript below the video) Dave describes an incident in which he reached out to Patty, a woman in the institution where he worked, and the reactions of his co-workers.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 7 so far )
The 2nd international Forum of the Deaf
The 2nd International Forum of the Deaf in Morocco is an initiative that aims to promote: Mental Health awareness among the medical core and the deaf community of Morocco. The establishment of a national policy to investigate the linguistic, social, mental health, and physical needs of the deaf; for the purpose of developing a cohesive network for the implantation of programs to benefit the unification of the deaf community in Morocco. Subsequently, it will promote contact, participation and cooperation among deaf associations.
This Forum is entitled “Mental health and deafness” which will be held in the city of Fez, in order to better educate the population on the issues facing the deaf community. In accordance with the royal directives, and the initiative of human development, The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association, The Africa Contact Group For Mental Health and Deafness and the World Federation of the Deaf are organizing a Forum of the deaf of Morocco from October 9th to 11th 2008. 45 deaf associations with two delegates (1 deaf and 1 hearing) and 120 specialized educators representing all of Morocco national territories will be invited to attend the forum. The forum of the Deaf of Morocco will comprise of three major themes: Mental Health and deafness, Education and academic qualification, and Sign language.
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf is engaged in a number of campaigns to raise the standard of living of the deaf in Morocco. There is a growing public interest in the use of sign language in the various social domains where the deaf are involved. These include courts of law, educational institutions, police stations, and other various places of work. An outstanding example of this association’s dedication for the empowerment of the deaf are a special education training for educators May 2008, a SL training for police officers March 2008 and two summer youth camps for the deaf that were held in Rabat August 2006 and Salé August 2007. These camps gave the deaf youth of Morocco a chance to interact with one another and to build life long friendships. As well as, the first steps in building cooperation and participation among deaf associations in Morocco.
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS), is looking for organizations to help them organize the second international forum of the deaf in Fez.
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is a non-governmental organization that strives to address the needs of the entire community, including the deaf youth of Morocco. Its membership consists of over 20 professionals from the city and surrounding areas of the province who have come together to pool their resources and labor in order to help develop the deaf community. The association was incorporated in 2006 under the laws of Morocco with the goal of helping to develop the social and economic roles of the deaf in the larger society. They are led by elected officers, including: a president, treasurer, secretary and vice president, who are chosen each year at an annual meeting.
The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) is nonprofit and raises money for projects through donations from members, grants, and donations from local, national and international government, and non-government organizations. The group has received various awards and certificates of recognition from the government in advancing the status of the deaf.
The association established The First International Forum of the Deaf of Morocco in 2006 in collaboration with the Dutch Foundation Marokkofonds. The forum was an instrumental opportunity to promote deaf issues in Morocco and International. This association has also
been advocating the nationwide adoption of sign language as the medium of instruction in all deaf schools and training institutions.
Furthermore, they lobby the Moroccan government of the challenges facing the deaf community. Finally, this association developed and implemented deaf youth summer camps in association with the Ministry of Sports and Youth.
The successful projects led by The Moroccan Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) have illustrated the need to develop deaf awareness, and networking skills to overcome the limited opportunities for the deaf community within the Moroccan society as a whole. The members of The Moroccan
Forum of the Deaf (AFMS) approaches international institutions with the idea of organizing a group of deaf associations and helping them develop these specific skills, with an end goal of enabling them to advance from their current social and economic situation.
- Meadows of 200 thousand deaf persons together with the Moroccan medical core will be sensitized on the mental health and human right of the deaf issues.
- Implementing awareness raising projects.
- Deaf empowerment.
- Training in special education and sign language
- Establishing a wide range of contacts.
The statistics of 200 thousand deaf persons usually expose a big number of the deaf to the means of specific communication of the handicapped and the non-implication of the handicapped in the programs or fight projects against the sexually transmittable diseases.
After the difficulties proven by this category of the handicapped the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf Association takes advantage of this occasion to initiate a campaign of sensitization on the deaf problems, with the assistance of the interpreters in signs. It will also target the medical core and the Moroccan administrations to explain through the different international experts the importance of mental health and deafness.
The proposed forum will focus on many of the aforementioned elements in a professional sitting. A subcommittee of Moroccan facilitators, French facilitators, and other Volunteers will focus on planning programs, while other members of the Moroccan Forum of the Deaf will concentrate on administrative elements of the forum. In implementing both of these as well as cultural activities, the forum will meet the aforementioned objectives.
Economic and Social Exchange:
- Presentations on management methods for the purposes of developing and implementing projects will be presented.
- Presentation on education and vocational training.
- Presentation on sign language in the media.
- Presentations on the need for a unified signing language for the purpose of educational and social development of the deaf will be presented.
- Exhibition of handcrafted products made by the deaf will be on display.
- Associations of the deaf will perform musical concert and theatrical presentations daily.
- Mental health and Deafness
- Education and vocational training
- Sign language linguistics
If you have any questions related to the conference please feel free to contact :
Mr. Abdelaziz Arssi- Project Director
Tel/SMS : 0021262102415
Mr. Mohammed DDich -Program Manager
Mr.Rachid El Ouardi- Finance Manager
Thank you for your time and consideration on this important issue facing the deaf community of Morocco.
We Can Do received this announcement via the AdHoc_IDC listserv. People interested in the conference should please contact one of the organizers directly, not We Can Do. (Note their phone numbers and email address given above.)
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From Australia … from the USA … from India … from New Zealand … from Fiji … from the Philippines …
Writers and bloggers from around the world joined together to help celebrate and promote the first legally binding international human rights instrument to protect the rights of people with disabilities — the international disability rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
They celebrated by writing blog posts for the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, which can now be read at
What did they write about? Some of the topics include …
… The story of one advocate who watched the birth of the CRPD among grassroots advocates with disabilities and others in the 1990s …
… How the CRPD could deliver new hope for people in India with mental disabilities …
… How the CRPD represents an evolution from the charity/medical model of disability to the social or human rights-based model …
… How the CRPD could make travel go a little more smoothly for tourists with disabilities …
… Why the CRPD matters for people who use personal assistance services or who are seeking the freedom to explore their own sexual expression …
… An allegorical tale about farmers, spoons, and plows: Why the CRPD is well worth celebrating and why our work isn’t done just because the CRPD is about to take full legal force …
… And more …
All at the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008, and all available by following the link to:
Celebrate and learn about the CRPD through the RatifyNow CRPD Blog Swarm 2008.
Then invite other people to do the same. Please circulate this notice or post it at your blog or web site — with, of course, a link to the blog swarm atRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
World Federation for Mental Health
MEMBER ASSEMBLY ENDORSES UN CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
The WFMH Member Assembly, meeting in Hong Kong SAR China on August 20, 2007, endorsed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and urged national governments throughout the world to embrace and implement the provisions of the Convention.
(To view the full text of the Convention and other important information, visit http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=3D150)
The Resolution adopted by the WFMH Member Assembly, as submitted by its Voting Member organization Mental Health America (USA), reads as follows:
WHEREAS the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus on December 13, 2006, a landmark treaty to promote and protect the rights of the world’s 650 million people with disabilities;
WHEREAS mental impairments are explicitly included in the treaty and are among the most prevalent and most disabling of all health conditions;
WHEREAS the U N Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will require ratifying nations “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity” and promote awareness of the capabilities of those who are disabled
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the World Federation for Mental Health support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The original text for this press release is at http://wfmh.com/00policyrights.htm; We Can Do first saw it on the AdHoc_IDC mailing list, which focuses on human rights issues among people with disabilities.
Learn more about the World Federation for Mental Health at http://wfmh.com/.
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This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do (https://wecando.wordpress.com). Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: BlogAfrica.com and www.RatifyNow.org. If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.
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.
Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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If you’re new to We Can Do, what interesting information, news, or resources might you have overlooked from the past few months? Although some older items may no longer be interesting, others may still be relevant and helpful a year or three from now. This post can help guide you through the first 100-plus posts at this blog. You can click from the table of contents below to any section of this page that interests you–and then another click on “table of contents” can take you back to the contents, or “top of this page” takes you back to this introduction.
- About We Can Do
- The five most popular We Can Do posts
- The five most under-rated We Can Do posts
- Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies, or Helpful Organizations
- Finding sources of information, research, papers, or statistics
- Funding sources: leads on where to find funding support
- Academic papers related to disabled people in developing countries
- News related to disabled people in developing countries
- Opinion pieces
- Call for papers for conferences and journals
- International Conference and Event Announcements
- Job, internship, and volunteer opportunities
- Education and training opportunities
- Missed opportunities for events, jobs, etc.
- What’s next for We Can Do?
About We Can Do
Thinking about submitting your own written materials, job posts, conference announcements, or resources to We Can Do? Check the Wish list for written materials and resources.
Want to receive an alert in email when a new post goes up at We Can Do? You can Subscribe to We Can Do for free.
I changed the organization and appearance of We Can Do in early October to its present format.
The Five Most Popular We Can Do posts
The five listed here are the ones that have attracted the most “page views” since We Can Do began in late July. You may notice that not all of these are featured in the 10 “most popular posts” listed in the right-hand navigation bar. That’s because the navigation bar only lists posts that have received a lot of traffic very recently (I think within the past few days; its done automatically by wordpress so I’m not sure how it works). But here I’m listing the five that have the highest TOTAL page views.
- An announcement about the International Day of Disabled Persons, held on December 3, 2007, has received more than 600 hits.
- More than 500 We Can Do readers were especially anxious to learn more about some limited available funding for conference participation from developing nations.
- More than 400 readers wanted to learn from a Case study on early intervention for blind children.
- The international Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) in plain language has attracted more than 400 readers. This version of the CRPD was written for people who have trouble understanding the legal language of the original, or who want a tool to help them translate the CRPD into another language.
- More than 400 people have learned more About We Can Do.
The Five Most Under-Rated We Can Do posts
Are these posts really under-rated? You’ll have to read them and decide for yourself. But in choosing these five, I used two criteria: 1. These are posts that have received fewer than 100 visitors–sometimes far fewer. 2. These are posts that I think could be helpful or interesting to readers and maybe deserve more attention than they have gotten. These are in no particular order:
- See Finding development organizations and resources for a link that can help you find major international development organizations and funders. Some of these organizations already work on disability issues and may be interested in building new partnerships with new DPOs, development organizations, and other NGOs.
- Equipment that enables blind people in industrialized countries to read computer screens can be expensive. But new technology can help bring screen readers and magnifiers to blind people in developing countries. The Sightsaver’s Dolphin Pen is cheaper, which means it is easier to afford in countries where the average income may be only a few hundred dollars per person per year.
- Looking for statistics to back up your arguments, or to add to your literature review for your dissertation? You can consult Numbers Don’t Feed People–Or Do They?” for a few leads.
- Want to help teach disabled people in your country about the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? Handicap International has developd a teaching kit on the CRPD with suggested teaching points, power point programs, Word files and PDF files.
- Teachers, parents, and other advocates for children can use the Child-friendly version of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to teach both disabled and non-disabled children about disability rights.
Finding Practical Resources and Case Studies or Helpful Organizations
Mainstream international development agencies sometimes say that they don’t know how to find people with disabilities, or their representative organizations, in the developing countries where they work. Reviewing the July post entitled Finding Local Disability Organizations may help point you in the right direction. Also see Disability Organizations in Afghanistan, Asia, Kenya, Uganda.
Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) sometimes aren’t sure where to find mainstream development organizations and resources that might be willing to collaborate with them.
There is an international network of organizations for families of people with Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome.
Resources for Inclusive Development
Both disability advocates and mainstream development organizations want to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when countries and organizations fight poverty or improve public health, education, water, and other services. But it can be a challenge to figure out how to make projects and government policies more inclusive. The following resources can help:
- Making Poverty Reduction Strategies Inclusive: for disability advocates and other individuals or organizations that want to help national government policies become more inclusive of disabled people when they fight poverty. This handbook can be downloaded for free.
- Handbook on Mainstreaming Disability, for mainstream international development organizations written by Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO). Download for free.
- An On-line book on Universal Design and Visitability can be downloaded for free.
Resources on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
By now, you may be aware that a global movement is taking place to ratify the international disability rights treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Many relevant resources are now being produced in relation to the CRPD, some of which have been posted or featured here at We Can Do:
Reviewing case studies of projects implemented elsewhere can be a valuable source of ideas that could help you figure out how to run or implement your own projects. I would love to post many more best-practice and failed-practice case studies than I have available right now. If you think you have something worth sharing, please check my Wish List of Written Materials and Resource and contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net.
But for now, here are two case studies:
- A Case Study about an Early intervention program for blind children in Russia
- a collection of short case summaries of projects for deaf children in Burkino Faso, Zimbabwe, Somaliland, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and India
- A set of Recommendations on how to empower people with intellectual disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region was developed at a conference held in the region in October 2007.
- A dictionary for Sri Lankan Sign Language has been published.
- A new device functions as a screen reader or magnifier for blind people in developing countries: this Sightsavers’ Dolphin Pen is cheaper than the standard screen readers used in industrialized countries. That helps bring it within reach of a wider number of blind people even in countries where the average income is very low.
Finding Useful Sources of Information and Research
Finding academic research, papers, resources, or statistics
Looking for academic research and academic papers; resources that can be used by people working in the field; or sources of statistics? Some of the following posts may be helpful:
- Disability Knowledge: Hungarian and English
- Numbers Don’t Feed People–Or Do They? On finding statistics relevant to disabled people in developing countries
Information on people with disabilities
Interested in learning about the living conditions of people with disabilities in specific nations, or in specific thematic areas? Some of the following may be of interest:
- Report on Disabled People in Zimbabwe
- World Bank Report on Disabled people in India
- A report on research capacity on mental health in low- and middle-income countries was published by the Global Forum for Health Research on Mental Health Day in October 2007.
- The International Labour Organization (ILO) published a report on employment and people with disabilities, which calls for more active and sustained efforts to increase the employment of people with disabilities in part to help meet the Millennium Development Goals.
- An early post reviews information on deaf children with additional disabilities and resources available for them in developing countries.
- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) may have some funding for DPOs, NGOs, or other entities to be used for disability inclusion.
- The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) has come out with a resource that could help women’s organizations find funding.
- The Worldwide Initiative for Grantmaker Support (WINGS) Global Fund for Community Foundations makes grants of up to $50,000 USD to emerging and developing community foundations or support organizations in developing countries. Note that these funds are NOT meant for individual non-government organizations (NGOs) but for small FOUNDATIONS or organizations meant to SUPPORT NGOs.
- The United Nations Democracy Fund holds an annual competition for funding applications for projects to promote better democratic participation. The 2007 deadline is December 18. Missed it? Review their information carefully and consider preparing early for their next funding round.
- Looking for funding to attend an international or local conference? three organizations have some limited funds available for conference participation from developing countries; two of these are focused on Latin America, but the first one listed (the Ford Foundation) covers other regions as well.
- The Inter-American
Foundations Grassroots Development Fellowship Program offers research fellowships to doctorate (PhD) students who want to study grassroots movements among poor people in Latin America. The application deadline is January 22, 2008.
- Funding is available for South Asian projects on HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination; the application deadline is January 31, 2008.
We Can Do has published, or re-published, academic papers, or linked to same, on a range of subjects, including:
- Violence against blind and visually impaired girls in school in Malawi by Abigail Suka
- Changing Face of Disability Movement: from Charity to Empowerment by Kishor Bhanushali
- Impact of the South Asian Earthquake on Disabled People in the State of Jammu and Kashmir by Dr. Parvinder Singh
- Equalizing Educational Opportunity for the Nigerian-Ghanaian Blind Girl Child by Florence Banku Obi.
- Violence Against Women with Disabilities in South Africa by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa.
At one point in September, the international disability community prematurely thought we might be On the Verge of Making History by ratifying the disability rights community.
- In October, We Can Do reported that Gabon and India ratified, and Cambodia signed, the International CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a project improving access to services for people with psycho-social (psychiatric) disabilities.
- An activist, Mussa Chiwaula, has been lobbying the Malawi government for disability rights.
- Read a report on the first known African deaf HIV/AIDS workshop.
- Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) reports severe abuse and human rights violations of people with mental disabilities in Argentina.
- A Report was issued on a disability forum held in Pakistan.
- Mugiho Takeshita at the UNDP’s Crisis Prevention and Recovery was seeking information on implementing the CRPD in relation to crisis prevention and recovery for disabilities caused by violence and natural disaster.
- A Report was issued from the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters Conference that was held in Spain in July 2007.
- Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) reports on human rights abuses of disabled children and adults in Serbia.
- The Commonwealth Disabled People’s Conference issued a Memorandum calling for Commonwealth countries to support the CRPD.
- A Brazilian journalist and disability advocate received the International Service Human Rights Award for her defense of the human rights of people with disabilities.
- The International Day of Disabled Persons was held on December 3, 2007.
- A web site on Disability Awareness Week in India was launched.
- Disability advocates have launched a global campaign to ratify the international disability rights treaty.
- The United Nations Secretary General made a statement in support of employing disabled people.
- People in India celebrated the International Day of Disabled Persons.
- Rosangela Berman Bieler made a statement on receiving the International Services Human Rights Award.
- Read a summary of a round table discussion on disability rights in Bangladesh, which held in December 2007.
- Bangladesh, Spain, Namibia, and Nicaragua ratify the international disability rights treaty (CRPD).
- El Salvador, Mexico ratify the CRPD.
So far, the opinion pieces here are all by me. But I would like for We Can Do to be host to an active exchange of ideas and differing perspectives. If you have a strong opinion about something, please consider submitting it. Yes, that includes opinions that disagree with mine! Consult the Wish list for written materials and resources for ideas of the kinds of topics I’m trying to cover at We Can Do.
Meanwhile, here are a few of my own opinion pieces:
- Dying for Employment
- Channeling Remittances from Disabled Emigrants
- One Laptop Per Child–But is it Inclusive?
Call for Papers (for Conferences, Journals, Other)
You might be just now starting your academic career as an undergraduate or graduate student. Or perhaps you have been doing quantitative or qualitative research, or writing policy analysis, or case studies, or social analysis, for years. Either way, if you’re looking for opportunities to present, publish, or otherwise disseminate your papers or run a workshop, then check out these upcoming or ongoing opportunities:
- A Call for proposals for an international forum on women’s rights and development is open until January 28, 2008. The conference itself will be in November 2008.
- A Call for papers for the International Conference on Social Science Research Methodologies is open until February 2008. The conference itself will be in September 2008.
- Authors are needed to Write book chapters for a book to be entitled, “Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: Creating a Trauma Membrane for Individuals and Communities and Restructuring Lives after Trauma”.
- If you have ever written a paper about the World Bank for a class or for a dissertation during your post-secondary education, then you can share your university papers on the World Bank.
International Conferences and Events
The South Asian Conference on Autism is being held in New Delhi, India in January 2008.
The 8th annual meeting of the Gulf Disability Society will meet in United Arab Emirates in March 2008.
- The Pacific Rim Conference on Disabilities will meet in the Hawaii islands, USA, in April 2008.
- The 8th Symposium of the Arab Federation of the Organs of the Deaf “Improving Education and Rehabilitation of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing People” will be held in Saudi Arabia in April 2008.
- The Unite for Sight International Health Confernece will be held at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA in April 2008.
- The Conference on the International Convention on the Rights of Persons on Disabilities will be held in Ethiopia in May 2008.
- The i-CREATE International Conference on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology will be held in Thailand in May 2008.
- The 21st World Congress of Rehabilitation International will meet in Quebec in August 2008.
- The International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication conference will be held in Montreal, Canada, in August 2008.
- The International Conference on Social Science Research Methodologies will meet in South Africa in September 2008. A Call for Paper/Presentation Abstracts is open until February 2008.
The Association on Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)’s International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development will be held in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2008. A call for proposals is open until January 28, 2008.
Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities
We Can Do will probably never be a comprehensive job-board. Serious job, internship, or volunteer placement hunters will want to explore other means of finding opportunities. For example, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities in the international field generally, or in the disability field generally, can sometimes be found at www.idealist.org. But I do occasionally happen to come across a job announcement. Here are a few that may still be open to applications:
- Three job posts are available in Luanda, Angola; the deadline for these is December 31, 2007.
- On-line translators for a corporate social responsibility initiative called “Disability Focus”. Contact organization to inquire regarding deadline.
- The United Nations is seeking a Senior Social Affairs Officer, P-5. The application deadline is January 14, 2008.
Education and Training Opportunities
- Leadership training for women with disabilities in South Asia will be available in February 2008.
- Mobility International USA is recruiting men and women with disabilities from Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru for the International Leadership Employment and Disability (I-LEAD) program for 21 days in March 2008 in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
- Study human rights at Central European University, for grassroots activists for human rights involved with a local non-government organization (NGO), or for lawyers with an interest in human rights.
Some of the material I post at We Can Do is time-sensitive material. That means the conferences announced here have come and gone; job posts have been filled; and deadlines are over. So, if it’s too late for you to do anything about any of the following announcements, then why bother listing them? First, some conference organizers issue compilations of papers and presentations or other interesting materials after their event is over. If a topic interests you, it may be worth communicating with event organizers to see if any follow-up publications are available. Second, organizations that offer one conference, job opportunity, call for papers, etc., may offer something similar in the future. Many conferences, for example, meet every one, two, three, or four years. Monitoring, joining, or communicating with organizations of interest to you could help ensure that you learn about the next opportunity in time to plan for it.
Missed Call for Papers
The German Journal for Disability and Development called for papers on art and disabilities to be submitted by the end of November 2007.
In October 2007, the International Labour Organisation had a training course for professionals from developing countries.
Missed Jobs, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities
Remember that it is too late to apply for these specific opportunities. These are listed here in case you want to check out the sponsoring organizations for future opportunities like these:
- Technical Officer: Disability and Rehabilitation, at the World Health Organization
- Executive Director of the Global Partnership for Disability and Development
- Volunteer Opportunity with VSO in Kenya
- Technical Coordinator in Disability in Bangladesh
- Regional Coordinator, South Asia
- English teacher for deaf adults in Jamaica
- Technical Officer: Injuries, violence prevention, disabilities, and rehabilitation, at the World Health Organization
- The Commonwealth disabled peoples conference in Uganda was held in November 2007. Participants at that conference issued a memorandum asking commonwealth countries to support the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- The International Conference on Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergency Situations was held in Germany in November 2007.
- A conference was held by the Community Based Rehabilitation African Network on Inclusive Policy in South Africa in November 2007.
- An international conference on intellectual disabilities and mental retardation was held in Thailand in November 2007.
- The 7th International Seminar on Housing the Poor was held in Thailand in November 2007.
- An on-line forum on the sexual and reproductive health of people with disabilities was held via e-mail in November.
- A national conference on the CRPD was held in India in early December 2007.
- An on-line forum on successful family planning programs held in December 2007; people may also wish to full out a survey on this topic.
- A photo competition on decent work and people with disabilities was held by the International Labour Organization, ending in November 2007.
What’s Next for We Can Do?
I am not yet satisfied with We Can Do. I still see many gaps that I want to repair. I want to find, and post, more materials of a pragmatic nature. By which I mean, material that people in the field can put to immediate use in improving the lives of disabled people in developing countries. If you think you can help me locate helpful materials, please review my Wish list for written materials and resources and contact me.
I also want to reach more development professionals at mainstream development organizations and more employees and volunteers at international disability organizations. And I want to reach more small DPOs and individual advocates in more developing countries. The knowledge shared at We Can Do cannot help until it is brought to people with disabilities living in poverty in developing countries. That “final mile” can only be bridged by readers like YOU.
If you want to help, I hope you will consider telling your colleagues and contacts about We Can Do. If you run a web site or a blog, please consider linking to We Can Do at https://wecando.wordpress.com. If you have the skills, the time, and the commitment to launch a We Can Do mirror site translation into some other language, please talk to me (leave a comment or email me at ashettle [at] patriot.net). And please do feel free to print out the more helpful We Can Do posts to share with people you know in developing countries who do not have easy access to the Internet.
For those of you who like numbers: We Can Do had 285 page views in July; 851 in August; 1305 in September; 2936 in October; 4862 in November; and more than 5100 in the first three weeks of December. And who is responsible for making these numbers happen? Why—you, of course! So, thank you for visiting We Can Do.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Currently, We Can Do gathers news; announcements; academic papers; case studies; opinion pieces; information about resources; and other materials of interest to disabled advocates and international development professionals from a wide range of sources. In addition to these, from time to time, I write fresh content of my own.
I also hope to be able to depend heavily on YOU–We Can Do readers–for some of the best, most interesting, and helpful materials. Examples of materials that would interest me include, but are not limited to: “best practice” case studies; “failed practice” case studies; checklists; fundraising advice or resources; other pragmatic resources; academic papers or reports; student projects; press releases; opinion pieces; announcements; and more. For more detail, please click on “Wish List for Written Materials and Resources” at the top navigation bar.
If you can assist with my current top priority, or with any of the other items in my “wish list”, then PLEASE GET IN TOUCH. Email me at ashettle at patriot dot net or leave a short note in the comment area below and I’ll contact you.
Current Top Priority for We Can Do
Are you from Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, or Panama? If so, were you involved with the movement to persuade your government to sign and ratify the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? If so PLEASE CONTACT ME (ashettle at patriot dot net, or leave a comment below with your email address).
I want to interview people involved with these movements (via email) so I can write a story describing what strategies you used; any barriers you faced along the way; how you overcame these barriers; any mistakes you made, how you corrected them, and how other countries can avoid them; what activities or techniques you think were the most critical to your success; and so forth. Sharing this type of information at We Can Do–and elsewhere–could be immensely helpful to disability movements in other countries that are working toward the same goals.
My primary written language is English, pero puedo escribir y leer, mas o menos, en espanol tambien. (Lo siento para la mala ortografia–no se como crear acentos en WordPress.) Once we are in contact, I will probably have many questions for you–and follow up questions after that!
Thank you for helping make We Can Do become a strong, good-quality resource for people with disabilities in developing countries and the people who are working hard to meet their needs.
Edited to Add: I do not post my full email address because any recognizable email address posted on the web then immediately becomes the target of “spam harvesters” and starts receiving tons of unwanted, unsolicited commercial emails. But I spelled it out above and spell it out again here. But this time I’m amplifying it because I realize that not all people have learned how to parse spelled out email addresses:
My username is: ashettle
Every email address has an @ at sign @ between the user name and the domain name, thus ashettle@
My email domain is patriot.net
Put it all together and you have my email address.
Or if that is still too confusing–or if it’s just easier for you–then feel free to leave a note below (with your email address in the area provided for it) and I’ll get in touch.
Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )