Successes over the years: Young Voices campaigners

This article was put together by Young Voices campaigners during the 2013 Young Voices Global meeting in Kenya.

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.

Editors: Isabel Kila, Papua New Guinea; Sadaati Namboobi, Uganda; Rukiatu Sherrif, Liberia; Kevin Paul Palaca, Philippines.

Inspirational women #2: Delisa

In the run up to International Women’s Day on March 8th we are posting the stories of some of our inspirational female Young Voices campaigners. Here’s Delisa’s story:

“The Tsunami was like a bad dream”, says Delisa as she tells her story about the terrible event that changed her life when she was seven years old.

Delisa sitting on some steps holding some crutches and a prosthetic leg“On December 26 2004, I was with my mother and sister at our home near the beach in Aceh Besar, near Banda Aceh. Suddenly, a ferocious wind hit my house. I thought it was a huge earthquake. I saw water exploding from the sea and I heard a roaring sound like I had never heard before. I yelled to my mother and then everything went dark.”

Delisa was swept away by the water. When a volunteer found her, she was lying motionless, her legs and arms were broken, but she was still breathing. She was brought to the nearest hospital. The medical team there had to amputate her right leg.

Her mother and her sister were both lost in the Tsunami. Her father and everyone around her motived her to survive and continue with her life. Now 16, she is a senior high school student at a well-known school in Banda Aceh.

In 2013, Delisa joined Leonard Cheshire Young Voices Indonesia to learn more about the rights of young people with disabilities. Through Young Voices she has made many new friends and her confidence has greatly increased, especially in public speaking. As a Tsunami survivor she is invited to many events to tell her story of survival. She is particularly passionate about education, and she uses these events to talk about the obstacles which she and other children with disabilities experience at school, including inaccessible buildings and learning resources.

She says: “I have come a long way as a Tsunami survivor in Aceh. I will not stop here, and I am going to keep fighting for my dreams to make my father proud of me.”

Young voices campaigner from Indonesia selected for international study programme

Young Voices campaigner Hadianti Ramadhani has been selected for an International Study Programme in Korea this August, organised by the Korean Society for Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities (KSRPD). Hadianti is one of ten overseas candidates selected for the programme.

The programme is designed for young professionals with disabilities who are working in the disability field to share their professional knowledge and skills to promote a New Asian Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2013-2022), in partnership with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

DanceAbility: An unforgettable experience

Young Voices campaigner Annisa Rahmania from Indonesia at a Young Voices regional meetingDanceAbility is a unique dance method that uses improvisational dance to promote artistic expression and exploration between people with and without disabilities. In April/May, Annisa Rahmania, Young Voices campaigner from Indonesia, took part in a five day DanceAbility training course in Yogyakarta. Here’s what she had to say about her experience:

“DanceAbility is an experience I will not forget. It was the first time I have been shown how to dance through improvisation rather than my dance steps being directed. At first I was a bit confused about what to do but the trainers showed me that improvisation gives you the flexibility to express yourself creatively, making your dancing easy and harmonious.

I’m keen to keep learning this new dance method and I’d like to try and combine it with traditional Indonesian dance. I’m hoping to set up a dance club with other Young Voices members. By performing events we can show the public that we are all the same.”

Posted in Indonesia, Young Voices News and tagged

Young Voices campaigners contribute to open letter to influential UN panel

In an open letter to the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, a coalition of young people has demanded that the new agenda is transformative, not just an updated version of the MDGs. Key among their requests is the provision of measures to tackle discrimination and inequality – and an explicit commitment to the meaningful inclusion of the most excluded groups including people with disabilities.

The open letter was put together by a coalition of youth advocates and organisations, including Young Voices campaigners from Indonesia. Their participation helped to make sure that people with disabilities were explicitly included in the coalition’s demands.

Read the letter

Young Voices in Indonesia translate the UNCRPD

The Young Voices group in Indonesia has successfully translated the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into Bahasa Indonesia. The translation has been essential in raising awareness amongst the Young Voices members themselves and also with the people they are trying to influence. It helps them to demonstrate that the rights of people with disabilities are fundamentally supported by international law and that it is essential for the Indonesian government and duty bearers to recognise and implement it effectively.

The foreword to the translation was provided by Dr Samsudi from the Directorate for Persons with Disabilities. Dr Samsudi states the need to actively recognise the rights of people with disabilities and to increase knowledge and awareness of disability issues.