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

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

Texto en español

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

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

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

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

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

Deadline for applications: Friday 22nd May 2009.

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


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

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

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

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

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



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NEWS: Bulgarians with Mental Disabilities Suffer Inhumane Treatment

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

Geneva, 3 December 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Call for Papers: Poverty and Intellectual Disabilities

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

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

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

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



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

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PAPER: Disability and Contraception in Developing Countries

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theme: “Creating Possibilities for an Inclusive Society”.

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

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

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

We hope to see you at Singapore.

Kind regards,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is an on-going funding opportunity.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Global Forum for Inclusion 2008: Transforming Rights into Action, Nov 17-26, 2008

Posted on 26 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Events and Conferences, Families, Human Rights, Inclusion, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The following open letter of invitation comes from Diane Richler, President of Inclusion International.

GLOBAL FORUM FOR INCLUSION 2008: Transforming Rights into Action. 17-26 Nov 2008.

The Forum for Inclusion 2008: Transforming Rights into Action is Co-Hosted by Inclusion International and the Canadian Association for Community Living

To be held at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, Canada in November 2008, this Forum will engage self-advocates, families, activists, professionals and partners from around the world. Focused on the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Forum will look at how to transform rights into actions that lead to full inclusion and citizenship for people with intellectual disabilities.

Several events will take place in Ottawa: International Gathering of Families (November 17-18); International Gathering of Self-Advocates (November 17-18); International Conference: Putting the UN Convention into Action for People with Intellectual Disabilities (November 18-19); and Inclusion in Focus: Spotlight on Canada, at the 50th Anniversary Conference of the Canadian Association for Community Living (November 19-21). These events will be followed by study tours in Canada and the United States.

For information on these events, registration, accommodation and more please visit:
WWW.INCLUSION2008.COM Conference information is available in English, French, or Spanish.

If you need letters of invitation or have questions concerning your attendance, please contact
Raquel González R.Gonzalez@uel.ac.uk

We hope to see you there!

Diane Richler
President of Inclusion International



Thank you to Inclusion International for sending this announcement to be posted here. Interested parties should please contact them directly to inquire about the conference, NOT We Can Do.

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Successful Projects–What Makes Them Work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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Human Rights Education WORKSHOP

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

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

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

Please send a letter expressing your interest to:

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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REPORT: Violence Against Disabled Children

Posted on 8 March 2008. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Children, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Reports, Resources, Violence | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UNICEF has released a summary report entitled, “Violence Against Disabled Children” (PDF format 245 Kb), with the subtitle “UN Secretary Generals Report on Violence against Children, Thematic Group on Violence against Disabled Children, Findings and Recommendations.”

The first half of this report, released in July 2005, summarizes what is known about violence toward children with disabilities at home, in schools, in institutions, in the criminal justice system, within the broader community, and at work (in child labor situations). Children with disabilities are known to be at higher risk for abuse, partly because they may be perceived as “easy victims.” Also, abuse toward disabled children is less likely to be investigated or persecuted, which means abusers know it is easier to escape consequences even if the abuse is discovered.

Many children, with or without disabilities, may face adults who fail to listen or to believe them when they try to report abuse. But children with disabilities face additional barriers. As one example, some adults may mistakenly assume that a child with intellectual disabilities or psycho-social disabilities must surely be “confused,” or unable to tell right from wrong, or unable to make their own decisions about what is done to their bodies.

Disabled children may also be targeted for child murder, either because parents perceive them as bringing shame to the family or because adults may be convinced they will be “better off” dead than disabled. In countries where many men share the belief that sex with a virgin will “cleanse” them of HIV/AIDS, girls, boys, and adults with disabilities may be targeted for rape on the assumption that they do not have sex. Children with disabilities also may be forcibly sterilized, sometimes as early as the age of 8 or 9.

The report makes a series of 13 recommendations for families, communities, policy makers, governments, advocates, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organizations, United Nations agencies, and other stakeholders with an interest in preventing violence toward disabled children. These recommendations include, as a few examples: increasing public awareness; reforming legislation so that the laws can better protect children with disabilities; advocating change to improve inclusion of disabled people throughout society; improving reporting mechanisms so that people who become aware of abuse have a way to report it; closing down institutions and integrating disabled children into the community; but also improving government oversight of institutions for as long as they continue to exist.

The 33-page report can be downloaded in PDF format (245 Kb) at:

http://www.unicef.org/videoaudio/PDFs/UNICEF_Violence_Against_Disabled_Children_Report_Distributed_Version.pdf

People interested in the topic of violence against children may also wish to read an article on violence and disabled children in the 2003 issue of the joint Rehabilitation International and UNICEF newsletter, One in Ten:

http://riglobal.org/publications2/10_24.htm

Also of possible interest:

A recent report, Promoting the Rights of Children with Disabilities could give ideas to advocates and families for how they can use international human rights laws to protect the rights of children with disabilities.

Learn about a report on human rights abuses of disabled children and adults in Serbia, including the use of violence.

Read a paper on Violence Against Blind and Visually Impaired Girls in Malawi

Those interested in abuse and human rights violations in institutional settings may also wish to read the following first-hand accounts written by the same author, Amanda Baggs. These are well worth reading. Some talk about the more obvious kinds of violence that most people are used to thinking of as “abuse.” Some talk about forms of psychological manipulation that are so subtle that outside observers might miss them. But Amanda Baggs makes powerful arguments for why “outposts in our head,” or the uses of power nevertheless can be at least as important for anyone who cares about the well-being of children (and adults) with disabilities. Click on any title below to see Amanda Bagg’s post:

Why It’s So Hard to Write Directly About My Life
Outposts in Our Heads: The Intangible Horrors of Institutions that Must Not Be Forgotten
The Meaning of Power
Extreme Measures, and Then Some



We Can Do learned about the UNICEF report on violence against disabled children from the AskSource.info database. Asksource.info provides a library of information, resources, and toolkits related to people with disabilities and to health issues, particularly in developing countries.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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RESOURCE: Listening to Poor People with Intellectual Disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The DVD can be viewed at:

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

The report and DVD are also available in Spanish at:

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



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

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



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RESOURCE: Atlas on Country Resources in Intellectual Disabilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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

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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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Deaf Children with Additional Disabilities PART ONE

Posted on 29 July 2007. Filed under: Children, Deaf, Education, Multiple Disabilities | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A few years ago, I took a class on deaf children with additional disabilities at Gallaudet University. One project I did for that class was to reach out to some of my contacts in developing countries to gather what information they knew about the challenges experienced by deaf children with additional disabilities, particularly in relation to gaining access to an education.

The information I gathered is now three years old. I’m sure some details have changed since I conducted this project. But most of this is, unfortunately, still valid at least in its broad strokes. Deaf children in developing countries, with or without additional disabilities, too frequently don’t have access to an education.

The project I did for class is much too long to post in a single blog entry. Instead, I will be breaking it up into multiple parts, to be posted over the next few months or so.

Here, I post the introduction, as it was first written three years ago:

Deaf Children with Additional Disabilities in Developing Countries

Introduction: How This Project Fits Into the Big Picture

According to the World Bank, 98 percent of all children with disabilities in developing countries are not in school. About 40 million children with disabilities of primary school age are not receiving an education. This includes children who have only a single disability, for example sighted deaf children without mental retardation, learning disabilities, or mobility impairments. What then of deafblind children? Or deaf children with mental retardation? Or deaf children with any other combination of additional disabilities? (NOTE: The link that I originally provided as a source three years ago seems to be gone or revised now. But the World Bank page on education is at http://go.worldbank.org/GMDMICVFF0. If I’m able to re-locate something more specific later, I’ll come back and edit this paragraph accordingly.)

It is often difficult to find reliable, documented information on deaf children or adults in developing countries. Finding reliable information on specific sub populations, such as deaf children with additional disabilities, is even more difficult. This knowledge does exist–but in bits and pieces, locked away inside the heads of hundreds of people around the world who have worked directly with, or at least visited and observed, programs for deaf children in developing countries. I wanted to gather together some of these little pieces of information into one place, even if only in an informal fashion.

Finding the Information
This project began, primarily, as an informal survey of people I already knew via email who either live and work in developing countries or who live in developed countries but who have traveled extensively. Many of my initial contacts were not able to assist within the time frame available. Some may not have seen my email message at all. People in developed countries who work in the international field travel extensively and may be away from email contact for weeks or months at a time, while people in developing countries, for various reasons that I will not elaborate upon here, often have unreliable email access and may also go weeks at a time without being able to check email. Other contacts simply did not have the time to reply. Those who are actively working with deaf communities in developing countries often consider their work to be tantamount to a “calling” and may have little time to devote to any task that does not directly benefit the local deaf community. Also, people in developing countries are more likely to have two or more jobs simply to survive, and thus still have little or no time for email.

Nevertheless, some people did reply, either to share information or to suggest further contacts or to point me to resources on the web or elsewhere that might assist. Some of my “second generation” contacts referred me to still more possible contacts. During the past two weeks, I have sent out email messages to about 59 individuals around the world. I also sent email messages to three list servers: one, deafintl , is devoted to deaf people in developing countries; another is for deaf people in or from Africa; and a third is exclusively for women with various disabilities who participated in a recent leadership training program, Women’s Institute for Leadership and Development, that took place in Eugene, Oregon, last fall through the organization Mobility International USA.


My Sources

Ultimately, I gathered information from the following sources:

> More than a dozen individuals sent me partial or complete replies to my questions.
– Most emails were very brief.
– However, a few individuals were able to answer follow-up questions.
– One individual went the extra mile by personally visiting schools in Lahore, Pakistan, in an attempt to gather information.

> One individual sent me her 43 page masters thesis, written entirely in Spanish, which contained some relevant information. Her thesis is summarized in the section on Argentina.

> I also consulted some web sites that were recommended to me, but particularly the following:
Perkins School for the Blind
Sense International

Disclaimer
It should be noted that, for most countries, I only had one contact or other source of information. Even people who have been active for many years within the deaf community of a given country are not necessarily familiar with all resources available to that community, particularly when it comes to resources that might be available in a different part of the country, or resources outside their professional field, or resources targeted at a sub population within the deaf community in which they have not specialized. The information shared in this document, accordingly, should not be considered complete even in the few cases (e.g., Kenya) where I received responses from more than one person.

In some places, I included quotes from the people who shared information with me. In all of these cases, the quotes reflect the tone, opinions, attitudes, and sentiments of the person quoted. The inclusion of a given quote does not imply that I necessarily agree or disagree with the person’s position.

I have organized the information by country. I will put each country in a separate post at this blog over the next few weeks. When I do, I will edit this entry to include a direct link to each post .



Guest bloggers are welcome to submit essays, announcements, resources, articles, case studies, and opinion pieces of their own to “We Can Do.” I encourage you to first read the Introduction to We Can Do blog.I don’t have a written set of guidelines for guest bloggers–yet. But I’m working on them. In the meantime, if you’re interested, please contact me at ashettle [at] patriot.net and we can discuss.

(Replace [at] with the at sign @ and type the email address as one word with no spaces. Sorry to present my email address in such a cumbersome way. I’m trying to prevent my email address from being hijacked by even more spam harvesters than the five million who have already been flooding my email box.)


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