Young Voices campaigners at the World Conference on Youth

WCY logo - a grey circle with 7 different coloured triangular-like shapes coming off it7 Young Voices campaigners are participating in the 2014 World Conference on Youth which takes place this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 1500 delegates are coming together to discuss mainstreaming young people in the post-2015 development agenda.

The conference aims to produce a unique joint outcome document between states and young people called the “Colombo Action Plan”. The Young Voices campaigners will be doing all they can to make sure that young people with disabilities are recognised in the action plan.

The Young Voices campaigners attending are: Ashura and Lawrence from Kenya, Turkson and Courage from Zimbabwe, David from Zambia, and Janitha and Umesh from Sri Lanka.

Equal Right: Equal Opportunity – Global Action Week 2014

This week, people will be taking action across the world to campaign for the right to education for children with disabilities as part of the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week on education and disability. Find out how you can get involved.

Young Voices campaigners will be joining in with the campaign, including taking part in a rally in Kenya and a radio show in Zambia. Watch this space for blogs, photos and updates on this week’s activities.

Young Voices = Global Ambassadors

Six Young Voices campaigners have been selected as Global Youth Ambassadors for education by A World At School. A World At School is creating a global network of young ambassadors who campaign in their schools, communities and countries for action to get every child into school and learning.

Huge congratulations to Leroy from Guyana, Ashwini from India, Sarah from Kenya, Munyaradzi from Zimbabwe, Yaaseen from Mauritius and Ishan from Sri Lanka. They have been chosen to be ambassadors because of their interest, passion and dedication to fighting for the right to education.

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Young Voices campaigners from Zimbabwe on the road!

20140219_339LeonardCheshireYoung Voices campaigners from Zimbabwe went on a speaking tour of six secondary schools in March and February, reaching an amazing total of over 12,000 school children.

The campaigners gave motivational speeches about their own experience of disability, and the importance for education for children with disabilities. They also spoke about the barriers that prevent people with disabilities reaching their goals, such as discrimination and exclusion, and highlighted what can be achieved when these barriers are removed.

By speaking from their own experience and showing that people with disabilities can be inspirational role models, the campaigners transformed the way the schoolchildren and their teachers see disability. Teachers at one of the schools said that they felt challenged to hear that Young Voices campaigners were achieving a higher level of education than they had reached themselves by doing post-graduate studies. This helped them to appreciate the value of educating children with disabilities.

The campaigners have already changed the views of over 12,000 people. But the tours are having an even great impact, with many of those who attended going on to raise awareness of disability within their families and communities.

Education for girls with disabilities

Here’s Young Voices campaigner Ashwini Angadi from India speaking about the importance of education for girls with disabilities. Ashwini was speaking at the 2nd Annual Global Education & Skills Forum in Dubai. More than 850 world leaders, business leaders, government ministers, and education experts attended the forum, including President Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Global Call to Action

A group photo of the 20 Young Voices campaigners at the 2013 global meeting. They are all holding hands with their arms raised in the airWe’re very proud to be launching Young Voices Global Call to Action. The Call to Action sets out a vision for what Young Voices want to achieve and what changes they want to see. It calls on Young Voices around the globe to continue to campaign to improve the quality of life of every single person with a disability.

Download the Call to Action.

Or listen to it here:

The Call to Action was developed by Young Voices campaigners from 19 different countries at the Young Voices Global Meeting in Nairobi in October 2013. Huge thanks to Jani from India for preparing the first draft and to Leroy from Guyana for recording the audio version.

Spreading the word

Young Voices campaigner Tongai giving a presentation - a couple of audience members are also in the photoYoung Voices campaigners Tongai from Zimbabwe (pictured) and Markson from Zambia gave presentations about Young Voices and the CRPD at disability inclusion training workshops hosted by Plan Zimbabwe and Plan Zambia, funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Sue Coe, a disability and development expert who facilitated the workshops said: “The sessions led by Tongai and Markson added an extra, valuable dimension. Their clear focus and knowledge on CRPD definitely helped the participants.”

Join the debate

Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Kenya, standing in front of a map of the worldYoung Voices campaigner Wanja Maina will be on the panel for the Guardian newspaper’s live online Q&A on disability and development on Thursday 13th February at 1pm GMT. Dr Raymond Lang from the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre will also taking part.

You can join in, ask questions and post your views too via this link from 1pm – 3pm, Thursday 13th February.

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