NEWS: Manila Declaration, Asia Pacific Conference on Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 1 June 2009. Filed under: East Asia Pacific Region, Human Rights, News, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

IDA – Asia Pacific Regional Conference on the CRPD Implementation and Monitoring

MANILA DECLARATION

February 11-12th, 2009

We, the delegates from The Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Samoa, Fiji, and Republic of Korea being members of Disabled Peoples’ International, Inclusion International, International Federation of Hard of Hearing People, Rehabilitation International, World Blind Union, World Federation of the Deaf, World Federation of the DeafBlind, World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, and Asia Pacific Disability Forum, all of which are members of International Disability Alliance (IDA) and participated in Asia Pacific Regional Conference on the CRPD Implementation and Monitoring, held at Manila, The Philippines on February 11-12, 2009,

We acknowledge the support of the Government of The Philippines, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas, Inc (KAMPI) for this Conference.

After due deliberation and having reached consensus on the implementation and monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) we make the following Declaration which shall be hereby referred to as the Manila Declaration 2009

GOVERNMENT
• We urge National Governments in the Asia and Pacific Region, to set the machinery in motion to ensure the signing, ratification without reservation, implementation and monitoring of the UN CRPD and the Optional Protocol;
• We further demand that the governments enact new legislation or amend existing legislation for Persons with Disabilities and related statutes to be in conformity with UN CRPD;

• We urge Public Authorities to change from a charity-based to a rights–based approach and from medical model to social model on disability as required by the UN CRPD;

• We ask all governments to initiate disability sensitization programs and to mainstream disability issues in all national agendas for the empowerment of persons with disabilities ;

• We recognize the vulnerability of all persons with disabilities with HIV/AIDS and we therefore request National Governments to address this urgent issue;

• We urge the Governments to include Children, Women and Youth with disabilities in all education and training programmes;

• We demand that Persons with Disabilities be represented through their representative organizations in law and policy making at all levels as required by Article 4 of UN CRPD;

• We recognize the positive role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the lives of Persons with Disabilities. We therefore urge the Governments to facilitate the acquisition of ICT equipments;

• We appeal for the enactment of Disability Anti Discrimination Acts in our respective Countries;

• We seek the full participation of Persons with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) in order to promote the accession, implementation and monitoring of UN CRPD;

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
We urge National Human Rights Institutions to include CRPD in their Plans and Strategies and constitute a Committee or Focal point to address Disability issues.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES
We urge International Development Funding Agencies to include Disability Dimension in all their policies and programs;

We urge International Development Funding Agencies to modify the requirements in the Agreements so as to enable DPOs to access the technical and financial support;

MASS MEDIA
We urge Mass Media to promote positive images of Rights and Concerns of Persons with Disabilities.

NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US



We Can Do received this declaration via several different sources; among them was the mailing list for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development.

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REPORT: Disability in 28 Asian-Pacific Countries

Posted on 28 January 2009. Filed under: Academic Papers and Research, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Policy & Legislation, Reports, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (2003-2012) was meant to promote a rights-based approach toward disability in the Asian-Pacific Region, in place of the older welfare-based approach. The “Biwako Millennium Framework for Action towards an Inclusive, Barrier-free and Rights-based Society for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific (BMF)” was meant to provide countries in the Asian region with a set of principles to help them make the shift. How well has it succeeded?

In 2004, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a part of the United Nations system, conducted a survey to find out. The result is an 87-page publication entitled “Disability At a Glance: Profile of 28 Countries in Asia and the Pacific” (PDF format, 780 Kb), released in 2006. It is meant to provide disability-related data and policy information so that readers can compare definitions of disability; statistics; the implementation of the Biwako framework; and government commitments to disability issues across the Asian-Pacific region. The countries and regions covered in the publication include: China; Hong Kong; Japan; Mongolia; Republic of Korea; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Timor Leste; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Bangaldesh; Bhutan; India; Maldives; Nepal; Pakistan; Kazakhstan; Pacific Australia; Cook Islands; Fiji; Kiribati; and Solomon Islands.

Each country is represented with a one- or two-page table filled in with relevant statistics and one-paragraph summaries of disability-related legislation and policies in the country. This publication is not the place to seek out in-depth information about the complexities and nuances of daily life for people with disabilities in the Asian-Pacific region. But then, it is not meant to be. It’s strength is that it allows quick and easy comparison of certain specific types of information across many countries within the region. Or, people who wish to gain a broad sense of disability demographics, policies, and inclusion in the Asian-Pacific region as a whole will wish to read the section sub-headed “Key Findings,” starting near the bottom of page 9.

Download the full report (PDF format, 780 Kb) at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/disability/publications/glance/disability%20at%20a%20glance.pdf.

People interested in reading reports about disability in the Asian-Pacific region will also want to browse the Social Policy Papers on disability listed on the ESCAP web page at http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/publications/index.asp. Two examples of additional reports and publications include Focus on Ability, Celebrate Diversity: Highlights of the Asian and Pacific Decade published in 2003, following the 1993 to 2002 decade; and Hidden Sisters: Women and Girls with Disabilities in the Asian-Pacific Region, 1995.

People also may wish to read the original Biwako framework on-line, or read the 2007 “Biwako Plus Five” update on progress since the Biwako framework was written.



I learned about this publication through the AsiaPacificDisability listserver, which people can subscribe to for free.

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NEWS: Deaf Malaysian Writer Wins National Media Award

Posted on 21 November 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Awards & Honors, Cross-Disability, Deaf, East Asia Pacific Region, Media & Journalism, News | Tags: , , , , , |

Challenges Deaf writer wins national Media Award

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 26, 2008: CHALLENGES writer James Chua has won the Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Red Ribbon Media Award in Journalism in HIV/AIDS reporting in Malaysia for the print media magazine category (English).

His Winning Entry : HIV/AIDS, a Serious Health Threat in Any Language was published in the very first issue of Challenges Magazine, that is Volume 1/issue 1 April 2008.

We, at Challenges, are so proud of James! Well Done!

more details : www.challengesmagazine.wordpress.com
www.challengesmag.com

Mary Chen
Editor
CHALLENGES
Malaysia’s 1st Cross-disability national magazine
Get your copy today online order :
http://www.challenges.kids.net.my

Get updates here
www.challengesmag.com
contact us: www.challengesmagazine.wordpress.com



Thank you to Mary Chen for submitting this item to We Can Do.

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New Website Links Parents of Disabled Children to Information, Resources

Posted on 14 July 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Children, Cross-Disability, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Resources, South Asian Region, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

June 27, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Julie Holmquist 952-838-9000

julie.holmquist@PACER.org

New PACER Web site offers information, resources for children with disabilities and their parents across the globe

Parents of children with disabilities living in India, Uzbekistan and across the globe can find a new resource on the Internet.

A new PACER Web site (www.PACER.org/international) acts as a link to resources, organizations, program ideas and practices that can improve the lives of children with disabilities.

The site was recently launched by the nonprofit PACER Center, a National Parent Center for families of children with disabilities located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.

The Web site provides information on the history of disability rights in the United States, as well as a list of links to resources and organizations in the U.S.A. and other countries that focus on helping children with disabilities.

The idea for the site developed from PACER’s collaboration with professionals and government officials in India. This special connection with India began in 2005 when PACER Executive Director Paula Goldberg visited families in India, met with government officials and toured programs for children with disabilities.

Since that time, PACER has co-sponsored India’s first National Conference on technology for children and adults with disabilities, along with India’s National Institute for the Mentally andicapped. PACER has also supported the creation of a new center on assistive technology for children and adults, scheduled to open September 13 at the Spastics Society of Karnatka(SSK) in Bangalore, India.

Creating a Web site was a way to exchange even more information, Goldberg says. Because of PACER’s close ties with India, the site has a wealth of information about disability organizations and laws in that country. In the future, Goldberg says PACER hopes to expand the amount of resources on the Web site specific to other countries.

PACER has a global reputation for helping families of children with disabilities. More than 130 guests from 15 foreign countries have visited PACER in recent years, and in 2007, PACER staff made presentations on disability issues during a satellite conference with Uzbekistan disability leaders. The conference was hosted by the U.S. Embassy.

“We’ve hosted many international guests at PACER who are eager to find additional resources for children with disabilities,” said Shauna McDonald, PACER’s director of community resource development. “The Web site is another way to collaborate and work toward the goal of improving the lives of children with disabilities around the world.”

PACER Center is a National Parent Center for families of children and youth with any disability or special health need. PACER is located at 8161 Normandale Blvd., Minneapolis, MN 55437-1044. For information, call 952-838-9000 (voice); 952-838-0190 (TTY) or 888-248-0822 (toll-free). PACER’s Web site is www.PACER.org and its e-mail address is PACER@PACER.org



This announcement was recently circulated on the AdHoc_IDC email discussion group.

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NEWS: First Malaysian Disability Lifestyles Magazine Launches

Posted on 20 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, News, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , |

The first and only known national magazine for the disability-related community in Malaysia, Challenges, was launched earlier this month, the New Straits Times Online has reported. It is targeted at people with all disabilities.

An early sneak preview of the Challenge magazine was released in December 2007 and, as of this writing, can still be downloaded in PDF format (850 Kb) at:

http://challengesmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2007/12/challenges-sample-pages.pdf

The sample issue includes a story about a young, talented autistic Malaysian artist; a story about a workshop for disabled journalists; a story about a six-day trip in South Korea geared at raising awareness about accessibility issues; a story on which shopping malls are accessible to shoppers with various disabilities; an independent living seminar; and more.

It seems that Challenge magazine is currently still working on their web site–but when it’s ready, it should be available at http://www.CHALLENGESmag.com

Until then, readers can browse what seems to be a temporary blog site on the magazine at http://challengesmagazine.wordpress.com/.

Readers can also Fax the magazine at 603-78737030 or send an email to inquire about Challenges to CHALLENGESquery@gmail.com.



We Can Do first learned about the Challenge magazine when Ghulam Nabi Nazimani pointed readers to the New Straits Times Online story about it. I found further information, including the blog site and the upcoming web site, by searching online.

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NEWS: Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Forum Founded

Posted on 8 April 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, News, South Asian Region, Sub-Saharan Africa Region, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ghulam Nabi Nizamani has asked that people circulate the following press release.

COMMONWEALTH DISABLED PEOPLES’ FORUM

Press Release

A New Voice Shouts to the Commonwealth –
Nothing About us Without Us.

Disabled youth and adult people from 16 Commonwealth countries came together from 15-17 March, 2008 in London to launch a unique Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Forum (1), the purposes of which will be to provide a link between disabled people’s organisations in all Commonwealth countries and all the political structures of the Commonwealth.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 2007 the civil society challenge to CHOGM was to mainstream disability in sustainable development, to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) and to adopt disability inclusive policies. This cannot be achieved without a strong, democratic forum of disabled youth and adults to ensure implementation.

We had a vibrant and dynamic series of meetings to consolidate the vision, constitution and activities of the Forum (2). The youth met separately to devise their own creative methods of self representation and organisation. We came together in a final agreement of how to go forward together. It is essential that the voice of young disabled people is heard clearly in the work of the CDPF. They are the future leaders and builders of our shared vision of a Commonwealth built on equality, human rights and respect for diversity.

The major focus of our work in the next two years, including a major conference before CHOGM in 2009, will be to ensure that Commonwealth countries sign, ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. As Rachel Kachaje said at the Launch of the CDPF, hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation at Marlborough House,
‘Disabled people see that hope springs out of the convention – hope for a new, inclusive world where disabled people can be seen as fully human’

We, All Sanghar Handicaps’ Association Pakistan are very proud to have part of this exciting new beginning and look forward to working with our disabled colleagues to ensure our full inclusion in all the nations of our shared Commonwealth.

For further information contact:
Ghulam Nabi Nizamani
South Asia /South East Asia Regional Representative
Bakhoro Road Sanghar-68100, Pakistan. (3)
Ph # +92-333-2916281
Email: ghulamnabi.nizamani@gmail.com (4)

(1) This meeting was funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, DFID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and ADD.
(2) Officers elected were: Chair: James Mwanda (Uganda), Vice Chair: George Daniel (Tinidad & Tobago), Secretary: Javed Abidi (India), Treasurer: Richard Rieser (UK), Women’s Representative: Rachel Kachaje, (Malawi) Youth Representatives: Laura Kanusu (Uganda)
George Kasara (Kenya), Regional Representatives: Ghulam Nabi Nizaamani (Pakistan), Lesley Emmanuel (Antigua), Setareki Macanawai (Fiji), Steve Estey (Canada) Thomas Ongolo (South Africa).
(3) The registered office of the CDPF will be in India and there will be a liaison office in the UK to work directly with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Foundation.
(4) This email address can be changed after website of CDPF.



In addition to the above press release, Ghulam Nabi Nizamani also made the following note in mid March:

The following countries from South Asia and South East Asia are member countries of Commonwealth. These Countries are invited to submit application for Commonwealth Disabled Peoples’ Forum (CDPF) Country Focal Point.
Bangladesh
Brunei Darussalam
India
Malaysia
Maldives
Pakistan
Singapore
Sri Lanka

The Organization must be National Level Organization in respective country if in any country there will be no National Organization we will support to encourage to estabilish National organization in that country. Please also send establishment date of Organization, Network in the Country, Some credible work done in past. Please send information by mail or email before the first week of April 2008.

Cheers!
Ghulam Nabi Nizamani
Regional Representative CDPF
South and South East Asia

Note: We have no contact from Brunei Darussalam please help us for finding National organization there.



Thank you to Ghulam Nabi Nizamani for sharing the above press release. Any inquiries should please be emailed to him directly at ghulamnabi.nizamani@gmail.com.

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TRAINING: Leadership Seminar for Asia Pacific Region

Posted on 25 January 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, East Asia Pacific Region, Education and Training Opportunities, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Leadership Training Seminar for Disabled Leaders in Asia Pacific Region

Greeting from Disabled Peoples’ International Asia Pacific ( DPI/AP).

Malaysian Confederation of the Disabled ( DPI-Malaysia) is going to orgainized Leadership Training Seminar in Kuala Lumpur on April 25-26, 2008.

They will invite 10 participants from the DPI Asia Pacific Region to attend this semniar. Food and Accommodation are provided in Kuala Lumpur. The overseas participants will arrange their own transport to the Venue.

If anyone interested, kindly submit the application form for 1 candidate from each country before 10th February, 2008. You can contact directly to Ms. Wong Nam Sang, nswong@myjaring.net.

For more details, please kindly communicate directly with Ms. Wong Nam Sang at the above email address.

Cheers!

Saowalak Thongkuay
Regional Development Officer (RDO)
Disabled Peoples’ International Asia Pacific Region (DPI-AP)
29/486 Moo 9 Soi 12 Muangthong Thani
Bangpood Pakkred, Nontaburi
Thailand 11120
Email: saowalak@dpiap.org thongkuay@yahoo.com
Tel: 66 2 503 4268 Fax: 66 2 503 4269
website: www.dpiap.org



The above text has been previously circulated on the Intl-Dev mailing list and also on the Disability Information Dissemination Network, which is managed by the ‘Centre for Services and Information on Disability’ (CSID), Bangladesh and currently sponsored by Sightsavers International. Both can be joined for free. Follow the link to join Intl-Dev. To join the CSID list, send an email message to csid@bdmail.net or csid@bdonline.com and put the word “join” in the subject line.



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PAPER: Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries by Shoji Nakanishi

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

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

Independent Living Movement in Developing Countries

by Shoji Nakanishi
Disabled People International (DPI) Japan

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

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

Independent Living Movement In Developed countries

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

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

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

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

Conditions concerning Independent Living in developing countries

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

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

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

Scheme for spreading IL in developing countries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Showing role model of IL

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

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

Spreading the correct philosophy of IL

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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NEWS: World Association of Sign Language Interpreters Conference Report

Posted on 6 November 2007. Filed under: Deaf, Events and Conferences, Interpreting, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The email further below comes from the secretary of the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) regarding their recent conference in Spain. Some sign language interpreters from developing nations were among the participants.

At the WASLI web site (http://www.wasli.org), you can see a daily newsletter from the conference (in English at top, in Spanish if you scroll down the page). You will also find text on topics such as developing a code of ethics for interpreters (see the link to the code of ethics in Kenya); mentoring sign language interpreters; links to information about deaf interpreters; and more.

Their “WASLI Country Reports 2007” (PDF format, 2.8 Mb) presents recent information about the situation of sign language interpreters or Deaf/deaf people generally in dozens of both industrialized and developing nations around the world. Some of the developing nations represented include: Botswana, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Cambodia, India, Peru, and Mexico.

WASLI also published a similar report two years earlier, WASLI Country Reports 2005 (PDF format, 1 Mb). The low- and middle-income countries represented in this report include: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Nigeria, Palestine, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Limited summaries of the WASLI website is available in other languages in PDF format by clicking on “About this website in other languages” WASLI’s left-hand navigation bar. Languages include Arabic, Brazialian Portuguese, Italian, Kiswahili, Japanese, Thai, French, Cantonese, Indonesian, Spanish, and Russian.

Email From WASLI Secretary

From: Zane Hema WASLI Secretary
To: secretary@wasli.org
Subject: WASLI
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2007 00:44:55 -0000

WASLI is committed to developing the profession of sign language interpreting world wide

Greetings Friends

2007 has been an important year for WASLI primarily because it was the year that the 2nd WASLI Conference took place in Segovia, Spain 13-15 July 2007.

WASLI Conference 2007 – UPDATED WEBPAGE

The WASLI 2007 page on the website has been devoted to the WASLI 2007 Conference in Segovia.  It has been updated to include:

A photo gallery,

Minutes of the General Membership meeting,

Scenes from Segovia (Conference Newsletter)

Messages of Greetings

Countries Report

Update on the WASLI 2007 Conference Proceedings

… with more information to follow

WASLI Conference 2007 – OFFICIAL STATISTICS

Total number of participants – 255 (197 women and 58 men) from 41 different countries.  (This figure does not include working interpreters, companions and an individual from Press purposes)

159 were members of an interpreter association.

20 delegates were sponsored (8 people who were sponsored did not come)

Spain had the highest number of participants at 102

Regional Representation

Africa – 6 countries represented

North America – 3 countries represented

Europe – 14 countries represented

Balkans – 3 countries represented

Australasia & Oceania – 2 countries represented

Asia  – 8 countries represented

Transcaucasia & Central Asia – 1 country represented

Latino America – 4 countries represented

More news to follow shortly …

Zane HEMA

WASLI Secretary


We Can Do received the above email via the Intl-Dev email distribution list, which circulates information of interest to international development professionals and others with an interest in the field. The other information about WASLI and its country reports was gathered from the WASLI web site. Neither We Can Do nor Intl-Dev are associated with WASLI–individuals interested in their organization should follow the link to review their web site directly.


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