NEWS: Jamaica HIV & AIDS Program Includes Disabled People

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

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

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

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



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

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Equal Opportunity for All: Teaching Disability Rights in the Caribbean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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SURVEY: HIV/AIDS Among Jamaicans with Disabilities

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

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

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

HIV/AIDS and Disability in Jamaica Survey

Please help:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerest thanks,

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

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

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



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



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



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NEWS: 12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty (CRPD)

Posted on 17 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The United Nations (UN) has announced that 12 countries have now ratified the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Six of these countries also have ratified the optional protocol.

This international disability rights treaty is meant to “promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities,” including self-determination, physical and programmatic access, personal mobility, health, education, employment, habilitation and rehabilitation, participation in political life, and equality and non-discrimination. (Source: RatifyNow.) The CRPD will become legally binding after 20 countries have ratified it. The optional protocol is a separate document that would allow individuals to seek redress (justice or compensation) for treaty violations internationally after they have exhausted everything that can be done at the national level. The optional protocol will be legally binding after 10 countries have ratified it.

The most recent four countries to ratify the convention (treaty) are: Bangladesh (November 30); Spain, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 3); Namibia, for both the convention and the optional protocol (December 4); and Nicaragua (December 7). The other eight ratifying countries are Croatia, Cuba, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Panama, and South Africa; of these, Croatia, Hungary, Panama, and South Africa also ratified the optional protocol.

A total of 118 countries have signed the convention, and 67 countries have signed the optional protocol. Signing the convention and optional protocol does not legally bind a country to obey them. However, signing these documents does commit the country to take no action that would conflict with the goals of the CRPD.

If you are sighted, you can view a global map that shows visually which countries have signed or ratified the CRPD or the optional protocol. I am not sure if this map is accessible to people with visual impairments. If not, then please consult the UN Enable web site accessibility statement, which encourages people to contact them regarding accessibility issues at their web site.

More information on the CRPD is available in the RatifyNow factsheet and the RatifyNow FAQ. More information on the optional protocol is also available at the RatifyNow website.



We Can Do learned about these ratifications in part through the AdHoc_IDC (International Disability Caucus) email list. This on-line, email-based news and discussion service can be joined for free. I also gathered additional background information from the RatifyNow and UN Enable web sites.



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Please Submit YOUR Materials to We Can Do

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

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

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

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

Current Top Priority for We Can Do

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

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

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

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

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

My username is: ashettle

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

My email domain is patriot.net

Put it all together and you have my email address.

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


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