Leonard Cheshire Disability Young Voices, a group of young persons with disabilities, gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for their global meeting on 23rd – 25th October 2013. This meeting was attended by 22 young people with disabilities from different countries around the globe. The aim of the meeting was to “advocate and campaign to remove all the barriers that hinder an inclusive and accessible society for all”.
As part of the meeting, Young Voices campaigners shared changes and successes. Some of the campaigners said that the main change in their lives was greater confidence in themselves, when previously they felt that they had to hide.
According to Mr. Sadaati Namboobi, a 23 year old from Uganda: “lots of persons with disabilities have come out and advocated for their rights; this has improved the welfare of persons with disabilities in Uganda.”
According to Ms. Rukiatu Sheriff, 24, from Liberia, the factors that lead to those positive changes include the willingness of young people with disabilities to fight for rights: “We’ve come up to these changes because of the willingness of my colleagues to advocate and campaign for our rights.” Rukiatu added.
In Indonesia, their campaigns were successful because of campaign spirit and dreams of the Young Voices there. Young Voices want to be counted and to be involved in any issues and events in the country. Mr. Sikmad form Indonesia said: “As a result of our campaigns, ramps were established for wheelchair users, signs were put up for people with hearing impairments, and personnel were hired to guide visually impaired people at malls and other public areas in Indonesia.”
Young Voices groups could be sustained in the future with support from Government or non-governmental organisations, for example Action for Disability Development or UNAPD in Uganda.