This article was put together by Young Voices campaigners during the 2013 Young Voices Global meeting in Kenya.
Have you noticed people just like you but different in some way living with you in your communities? Most of you know them as people with disabilities. So what’s special about them, you might ask. And I tell you they are special because they have an equality to earn. They should walk the extra mile to win their rights, and they should talk more about themselves to earn their living.
That’s why they have organised themselves globally as Young Voices for a collective effort to earn what they deserve to live in our own communities equally. So let’s look at some great achievements in three countries around the world.
Let’s begin with Nyamizi from Tanzania, a vibrant youngster who wants to be heard. She has just graduated from the University of Mzumbe, Morogoro. According to her, the biggest change her group experienced was the boost of confidence and the empowering
awareness of the rights of the people with disabilities as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
This has enabled them to meet employers like NCSS in her country and invoke awareness in them regarding the employability of the young persons with disabilities. She and her friends think that meeting the stakeholders that are responsible for making their lives better in various ways personally and convincing them about the possibilities of including persons with disabilities in their daily life is the best way to campaign in her country.
The way forward for Tanzanian youngsters with disabilities, she says, is an attempt to continue their activities with the help of people in their community who can contribute towards sustaining the social incorporation of young people.
Precious from Zambia has a different story to tell. She considers advocacy to be the central element of their success in the signing, ratifying and implementation of the legal framework for people with disabilities in her country. They have TV and radio programs in their local stations to educate the public about their rights and achievements as well. In this way she and her friends have eradicated discrimination in her community quite effectively.
Ashura from Kenya has her own achievements to share with us. As an individual she has won the Miss Deaf Kenya in her modeling career. This was in fact an opportunity that was opened to her through the advocacy campaigns of Young Voices Kenya. Consequently she is now confident to stand stronger in emphasizing the rights of persons with disabilities in her country. She believes that the most effective factor in campaigning is showing the power of persons of disabilities through example. However, Kenyan young people with disabilities are going to sustain their efforts of retaining their rights through continual advocacy campaigns and country-wide awareness.
The stories of these three individuals could indeed be an inspiration as well as an enlightening experience for all of us who dare to fight for our rights.
Editors: Jani, Sri Lanka; Leroy, Guyana; Yaseen, Mauritius; Precious, Zambia.