All 50 US States Needed RIGHT NOW to Support International Disability Rights!

Posted on 28 July 2012. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , |

Author’s Note: The following post is slightly adapted from a note I posted in Facebook.

One billion people with disabilities live on Earth–and 54 million of us live in the United States. But throughout history, people with disabilities have often met profound challenges including the high risk of poverty, exclusion from opportunities to access an education or employment, violence, forced confinement in institutions, and more.

Thursday last week, July 26, 2012, was a historic date for those of us who are Americans with disabilities and for the people who are our friends, relatives, colleagues and other peers.  It was the 22nd anniversary that the world’s first disability civil rights legislation was passed–the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  But it also was the day that the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed to pass the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to the full Senate for a floor vote.  In other words, we are now in a new and exciting phase of the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD.  This means that all 100 US senators will be asked to vote on if the US should ratify the CRPD.  We need a two-thirds majority–67 votes.  It is time for every US citizen who cares about the human rights of people with disabilities all around the world, including fellow Americans, to tell your Senators to support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)–even if you have already asked them.  Your calls, emails, and visits to your senators are absolutely vital.  Opponents of this important international treaty, which was inspired by our own ADA, have been spreading incorrect information to senators in an attempt to convince them to vote against the CRPD.  Your voices … our voices … are essential to telling senators that those of us who have disabilities, or who care about people who do, want them to support the CRPD.

The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.  Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office and call both Senators!

Or, you can find Senators’ contact information at this link:

Please remember to reach out to BOTH of the senators that represent your state.

Want to learn more about the CRPD and why the US should ratify? Visit a FAQ on the CRPD. Also learn the latest news about the campaign for US ratification of the CRPD, or look up which organizations support this treaty.

Sign on to a national letter for individuals and organizations in the US who support the CRPD–visit (scroll a little down the screen to the blurb entitled “Tony Coelho Calls on You to Sign a Letter of Ratification”).  At you will find a link to the full letter as well as links for individuals or for organizations to sign the letter.

After talking with your senators and signing the letter, please spread the word as widely as you can! Tell all your friends to do the same! We need as many people as we can talking to their senators!  Use Facebook, twitter, emails, phone calls … whatever works for you.

Thank you all for your help!

Author’s Note: To international friends outside the US: The fate of US ratification of the CRPD is going to be decided by US senators who ultimately represent the people who voted them into office, thus this call to action is meant to reach out to US citizens who care about the CRPD and who also have the power to influence the decisions of the senators who represent their interests in the US federal government.

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JOB POST: Spanish-speaking Grants Consultant, Disability Rights Fund, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Posted on 23 January 2010. Filed under: Announcements, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Jobs & Internships, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Disability Rights Fund seeks Spanish-Speaking Grants Consultant

Application Deadline: February 15, 2010

About the consultancy

This consultancy position offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with a groundbreaking grantmaking initiative supporting the rights of persons with disabilities. For an interim period (mid-April – mid-September 2010), on a part-time basis, the Grants Consultant will help the Fund manage relationships with its grantees in Latin America. The main objectives of the position are to support DRF staff with grantee communications and oversight and to review and evaluate Spanish-language grant applications. The Fund is looking for a candidate who is able to work in a fast-paced environment, is flexible, takes initiative, and is independent, but team-oriented.

Astrong>About the Disability Rights Fund
Launched in January of 2008 as a project of the Tides Center, the Disability Rights Fund is a grantmaking collaborative aimed at building community capacity to achieve the rights of all persons with disabilities. The Fund makes modest grants (USD $5000-70,000) to Disabled Persons’ Organizations in the Global South and in Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union for advancing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at country-level.

About the DRF Grants Process
In 2010, the Fund will launch its second year of grantmaking to organizations in Mexico and its third year of grantmaking to organizations in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru (as well as in 20 other countries around the world; in Africa, Ghana, Namibia and Uganda; in Asia, Bangladesh and India; and 14 Pacific Island Countries). A request for proposals for Mexico will be posted February 15; the deadline for applications is in April. A request for proposals for Ecuador, Nicaragua and Peru will be posted July 8; the deadline for applications is in late August. Grant applications are evaluated in a staged process, with the consultant and DRF staff completing a first and second review and preparing dockets for a third review by the DRF Steering Committee.

Current grantees from Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru (who began projects January 1 2010) will be submitting grant mid-term reports in end June 2010. The consultant will aid DRF staff in review of these reports and communications with grantees about their project implementation. The consultant will also aid in communication with current grantees from Mexico (who began projects September 1, 2009).

Consultant Responsibilities

· Interface with DRF staff and current LAC grantees to ensure that projects are progressing smoothly.
· Support DRF staff in LAC grantee mid-term report review and communications with grantees about reports.
· Conduct grants review, evaluation and tracking process for LAC applicants, in conjunction with DRF staff.
· Serve as liaison between DRF and Spanish-speaking prospective grantees to help translate emails, answer questions, complete application paperwork, and build relationships.

Skills and qualifications

The ideal candidate should demonstrate:
· Grantmaking or grantseeking experience preferred
· Professional written and verbal translation skills Spanish to English and English to Spanish
· Strong administrative and organizational skills; the ability to manage time efficiently
· Computer proficiency (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint)
· Demonstrated ability to work well with diverse populations from around the world
· Familiarity with the Latin American community of DPOs and the CRPD preferred
· Bachelors degree, or equivalent with minimum 5 years of relevant experience; advanced degree desired

Commensurate with experience.

Time Commitment
Mid-April – Mid-September 2010, 5-40 hours per week (average 15)

How to apply
Disability Rights Fund, a Project of the Tides Center, is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage and seek applications from women, and people of color, including bilingual and bicultural individuals, as well as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities. People with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please email or mail a cover letter, resume, three references (with contact information and relationship), writing sample (five page maximum) to:

Disability Rights Fund
Diana Samarasan, Director
Third Sector New England’s NonProfit Center
89 South Street, Suite 203
Boston, MA 02111-2670 (please no phone calls)
Fax: (617) 261-1977

Deadline: Applications must be received by February 15, 2010.

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US-Costa Rica Summer Exchange Program, June 26-July 10, 2009, Scholarships

Posted on 23 February 2009. Filed under: Announcements, Capacity Building and Leadership, Education and Training Opportunities, Fellowships & Scholarships, Human Rights, Latin America & Caribbean, Opportunities, youth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Now Accepting Applications
Deadline: March 20, 2009
for the Costa Rica Program this Summer!

Live with a host family
Learn Spanish through immersion
Learn about disability rights and leadership
Go Abroad with Mobility International USA
June 26 to July 10, 2009
Generous Scholarships Available!
Applications available online now
First time travelers with disabilities who are between 18-24 years old, from cultural minority and low-income backgrounds are encouraged to apply. ASL staff interpreters and materials in alternative formats will be provided. Funding for personal assistants may also be available.
For more information:
541-343-1284 (tel/tty)

The 2009 US/Costa Rica: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Disability Rights Leadership Exchange Program is funded by the New York Community Trust DeWitt Wallace/Youth Travel Enrichment Fund and administered by Mobility International USA to provide an educational travel opportunity to youth with disabilities from diverse communities.

Forward this email to a friend.

Mobility International USA, a non-profit organization founded in 1981, empowers people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

The MIUSA mailing address is:
Mobility International USA 132 E. Broadway Suite 343 Eugene, Oregon 97401, USA

MIUSA’s telephone:
541-343-1284 tel/tty

Please consult the official website on the US/Costa Rica program for further details, and to apply. All inquiries and applications should please be directed to MIUSA, NOT We Can Do. The official web site is at:

I received this announcement via the Intl-Dev email news distribution service.

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JOB POST: Project Manager, International Development and Disability, MIUSA, Oregon USA

Posted on 19 August 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Call for Nominations or Applications, Cross-Disability, Human Rights, Inclusion, Jobs & Internships, Opportunities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Application deadline September 5, 2008.

Mobility International USA (MIUSA), a national nonprofit organization founded in 1981 and based in Eugene, Oregon, promotes the human rights of people with disabilities through international exchange and international development. MIUSA seeks a qualified Project Manager with excellent international development, leadership, interpersonal, project management, writing and training skills to manage the USAID-sponsored Building an Inclusive Development Community project. This position reports to the Director of Programs and is the lead position for a team
of staff working on this project. The position is based in Eugene, Oregon USA.

Since 1998, MIUSA has been changing the paradigm of international development by framing the inclusion of people with disabilities as a human rights issue. With funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), MIUSA serves as a bridge to promote inclusion and bring together disability and development organizations. MIUSA provides technical assistance, training and resources to disabled peoples’ organizations (DPOs), USAID Missions and development agencies through the Building an Inclusive Development Community project.

* BS or BA degree required; Master’s degree strongly preferred in international development, international studies or related field
* Minimum two years field-based experience in international development, inclusion of people with disabilities in international development, or related fields, using a human rights framework and/or gender lens
* Five years experience managing complex projects with diverse stakeholders
* Experience managing federal grants and projects
* Experience managing project budgets and following financial procedures
* Excellent presentation and training skills
* Excellent computer skills including Microsoft Office, online research and data tracking
* Excellent writing, editing, and organizational skills
* Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
* Ability to multi-task in a fast paced environment
* Optimistic outlook with the ability to lead by example during difficult or stressful times
* Knowledge of one or more languages other than English strongly preferred
* Ability to travel nationally and internationally
* Passion for empowering people with disabilities in international contexts

For more information regarding the application go to:

To apply:

Applications are due by September 5, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. for initial consideration and screening. Position open until filled.

Competitive salary commensurate with experience including excellent benefits. Equal Opportunity Employer. People with disabilities and others encouraged to apply.

Send detailed cover letter with “Project Manager” in the subject line, resume and list of references via email to

Or, via postal mail to:

Mobility International USA
Director of Administration
132 E. Broadway, Suite 343
Eugene, Oregon USA 97401

Thank you to MIUSA for submitting this job announcement to We Can Do. Interested applicants should please note that ALL applications and queries should be directed to MIUSA at the contact information provided above, NOT to We Can Do. Thank you.

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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
Contact: Julie Holmquist 952-838-9000

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 ( 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 and its e-mail address is

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

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4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report Available Online

Posted on 14 May 2008. Filed under: Assistive Devices, Middle East and North Africa, Mobility Impariments, Reports, Resources, Sub-Saharan Africa Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In low-income countries, the overwhelming majority people who need wheelchairs don’t have one. This has a profound impact on their ability to lead independent lives–or even leave their own homes. Participants in a recent conference in Africa exchanged ideas and knowledge on how to address this challenge.

The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report (PDF format, 446 Kb) can now be downloaded for free on-line. The report summarizes a series of remarks, panel discussions, and other conference sessions on how to promote appropriate wheelchair services across the African continent. The report also presents a list of resolutions made on the last day of the Congress. The 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress was held in September 2007 in Tanzania.

The Pan Africa Wheelchair Builders Association (PAWBA) and the Tanzanian Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) facilitated the congress. Co-funders included the World Health Organisation, ABILIS, Motivation Africa, Christoffel Blindenmission (CBM), and SINTEF. The 116 participating members came from Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa, UK, Norway and USA.

The previous three All Africa Wheelchair Congresses were held in Zambia (2003); Kenya (1998); and Zimbabwe (1995). Each congress was a landmark in developing appropriate and affordable wheelchair products and services in Africa in allowing participants to exchange knowledge across the continent. PAWBA was formed at the 2003 Congress.

You can download the full, 47-page 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress report in PDF format (446 Kb) at:

We Can Do learned about this report by browsing the database on health, disability, and development. I gathered further detail by skimming the report itself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about the program at:

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

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

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NEWS: AIR Foundation Committed to Making Web Universally Accessible for Blind, Low-Vision People

Posted on 19 February 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Blind, News, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Nonprofit Launched to Bring Free Accessibility Worldwide

The AIR Foundation committed to ‘accessibility is a right’

Orlando, Florida – January 31, 2008 – The AIR Foundation, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA was announced today at a press conference held during the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) 2008 National Conference at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando, Florida. The mission of the foundation is to promote universal accessibility so that every blind and low-vision person in the world has access to digital information over the Internet and Worldwide Web.

The foundation’s executive director, Art Schreiber, also announced that the organization’s first offering will be free usage of a Web 2.0 accessible screen reader. The product is provided through an exclusive license in perpetuity granted to The AIR Foundation from Serotek Corporation, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services. The screen reader is called SA To Go and is powered by Serotek’s award-winning System Access software which provides immediate text to speech, magnified visual, and Braille access to digital information presented through the Web or other means, while the user is directly connected to the Internet. The software does not remain resident on the user’s computer when the connection to the Internet is interrupted or terminated. Users can obtain access to the free software by calling 877-369-0101 or visiting

“The basic tenet of The AIR Foundation is that accessibility is a fundamental human right, regardless of financial or geographic constraints” said Art Schreiber, executive director of The AIR Foundation, “by allowing the blind and visually impaired to have equal access to computer and Internet information through the free use of an advanced screen reader like SA To Go, we have already taken great strides toward our mission.”

The AIR Foundation will solicit funds and contract development of product enhancements including availability in other languages. The organization’s first priority is to make SA To Go available in Mandarin Chinese.

“SA To Go is highly intuitive and requires minimal training to use,” said Serotek CEO, Mike Calvo, “the user not only has access to information displayed on Web pages, but to Web-based applications such as Internet telephone service, and to applications resident on the host computer. The user can also access PDF files, fill out forms, and otherwise interact with information with the same facility as a sighted person.”

The AIR Foundation will operate through the generosity of organizations donating their time, expertise, and funds. It invites other nonprofits, assistive technology vendors, mainstream hardware and software companies and anyone interested in promoting accessibility as every person’s right, to align with the AIR team.

The AIR Foundation
The AIR Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate, teach, and deliver information accessibility tools. We focus on the accessibility needs of blind and low-vision people. Our mantra is “accessibility is a right” and we work with corporations and agencies worldwide to deliver free accessibility to all. For more information, call 877-369-0101 or visit

Serotek Corporation
Serotek Corporation is a leading technology company that develops software and manufactures accessibility solutions. Committed to the mission of providing accessibility anywhere, Serotek launched the first online community specifically designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Since then, Serotek has introduced several powerful, affordable solutions that require minimal training and investment. For more information, visit

This press release was first posted at the Air Foundation web site. It has also been circulated on several on-line newsletters and mailing lists, incluing AdHoc_IDC, the DPI newsletter, and Intl-Dev.

People interested in technology for people with vision impairments may also wish to learn more about the Sightsaver’s Dolphin Pen, which is a low-cost screenreader targeted at people in developing countries, or in information about low-cost, mechanical Braille writers.

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.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do (

This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do ( Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts: and If you are reading this anywhere OTHER THAN We Can Do, BlogAfrica, or RatifyNow, then you are most likely reading a web site that regularly plagiarizes the work of other people without their permission.

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South Asian CONFERENCE on Autism

Posted on 1 December 2007. Filed under: Announcements, autism, Education, Employment, Events and Conferences, South Asian Region | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Invitation for Participation in Conference & Training on Autism


15 – 18 Janaury 2008 NEW DELHI

Action For Autism with support from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is proud to host the South Asian Conference on Autism in New Delhi over 15 and 16 January 2008. This will be followed by a two-day practical hands-on training workshop in Structured Teaching on the TEACCH approach over 17 and 18 January 2008.

THE CONFERENCE will have a number of speakers who have Autism and who will speak on growing up and living with autism. There will be national and international presenters on Social Understanding, Adolescent Issues, Employment, Communication, Education, Marriage and Sexuality, among others.

The conference will also provide a professional platform to share and exchange knowledge and learning about various issues affecting the Autism community in South Asia. Academicians, researchers, professionals from the UK, USA, Denmark, Germany and India and SAARC countries from a range of fields have been invited to share and exchange the latest in research and practice.

THE WORKSHOP following the conference will aim to train mainstream teachers, special needs teachers, OTs, SLPs, vocational trainers, Parents, and anyone involved in helping individuals with autism receive an education and life skills training. The training on the TEACCH approach out of North Carolina will address the need for structure in a lifespan perspective, from the classroom right up to employment and future life.

The training workshop only has space for 40 participants.

We would like to invite all of you, researchers, professionals, parents, students, as well as anybody interested in knowing more about the field of Autism to attend the conference and the post conference workshop in Structured Methods.

Details about the conference and the post conference workshop can be viewed at our website as well as the August 2007 issue of our journal ‘Autism Network.’ Registration forms may be downloaded from the website.

The list of presenters along with their topics will be posted on our website shortly. For outstation participants, January is a busy season in Delhi, so please book your accommodation well in advance.

Looking forward to welcoming you to Delhi in January!

Warm regards
The Conference Coordination Team
Action For Autism (AFA)
Sector 5 Jasola Vihar, Behind Sai Niketan
New Delhi 110025 Tel: 91 11 40540991, 91 11 40540992, 91 11 65347422

Even those unable to attend the conference may wish to follow the link to the Action for Autism web site to explore their information and resources related to autism in India, including links to material in Hindi, Tamil, and other Indian languages.

We Can Do learned about this conference through the Intl-Dev email news distribution service, which people can subscribe to for free by following the link.

Learn how to receive an email alert when new material is posted at We Can Do.

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