Papua New Guinea Young Voices campaigner completes training in Japan

Young Voices campaigner Rught Javati completed a two-month training programme on intellectual disability in Japan. Ruth’s trip and course was sponsored by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency has just returned from two months of training in intellectual disability in Japan, and says “I am grateful for this opportunity to travel to Japan and undertake the training”. She has also been shortlisted for a Papua New Guinea scholarship.

Campaigners impress governor general of Papua New Guinea

Young Voices campaigners from Papua New Guinea secured a meeting with the governor general of Papua New Guinea, who represents Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the country’s head of state. Together they discussed issues affecting people with disabilities, including the implementation of the UNCRPD and their own experiences. Building on the relationship they formed, Young Voices will continue to campaign with the governor’s office for the ratification of the Convention.

Young Voices campaigners give recommendations to Commonwealth heads of government

Ruth Javati from Young Voices Papua New Guinea and Richard Mbugua from Young Voices Kenya had the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent youths with disabilities at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Meeting Youth Forum in Australia in October. With the 163 other youth delegates, they produced a communiqué that was circulated at CHOGM and was presented to the Commonwealth Secretariat.

‘The whole event… was really fantastic and well organised’, Richard said. ‘It gave us all an opportunity to experience what brilliant young minds can achieve and also made a great step in building a better future for youths in the Commonwealth. It showed that if youth are given a chance they can rise to the occasion and become great leaders.’

The Young Voices’ participation followed two years of lobbying by the Leonard Cheshire Disability International Policy and Campaigns team. Leonard Cheshire Disability has also been included in the steering group finalising the Commonwealth Strategic Plan on Young People to ensure that youth with disabilities are included.

Ruth added, ‘it was exciting to know that both disabled and non-disabled youths can come together as one and give our recommendations to the Commonwealth Heads of Government who, if they act upon them, will enable us to live a satisfied life’.

Young Voices expands to 21 countries

Welcome to Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Canada. These three countries from three different continents expressed interest in joining the project and will become active in early 2011. Canada is the first northern country to join Young Voices and Canadian members already learned about the project first-hand when they joined fellow members from Liberia and the Philippines, as well as Leonard Cheshire Disability staff, at a side event at the UN Conference of States Parties to the UNCRPD in September 2010.