Young Voices Indonesia organised a workshop in Jakarta on the 26th January on ‘Participation of young people with disabilities and the role of government in policies & UNCRPD implementation in Indonesia.’ The workshop was very successful and was attended by representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs; the Ministry of Education; the EU Delegation; the Association of Indonesia Enterpreneur (APINDO); the students association of University of Indonesia, Atmajaya University and State University of Jakarta; disabled people’s organisations, other local and international organisations and the media.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities reaffirms and draws attention to the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. Its theme for 2012 is removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all, and Young Voices groups are celebrating it in many ways:
- ‘Carry On’, a film produced and directed by Gurston Opar and other members of Kenya Young Voices, is being screened at the UN Enable Film Festival in New York.
- Young Voices in Harare, Zimbabwe has teamed up with the University of Zimbabwe Disability Resource Centre to host an evening of poetry and song. The guest of honour was the permanent secretary in the ministry of higher education.
- In Kenya, Young Voices in Thika are participating in an open day to educate the public about the need for participation of people with disabilities in agriculture.
- Young Voices in South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Guyana and Indonesia are joining disabled people’s organisations on awareness-raising marches through their home cities.
- Young Voices in Guyana are apearing on TV and radio shows talking about disability rights and arranging with a major mobile phone networks to send disability awareness message to all their subscribers on 3 December.
- Young Voices in Ranchi, India are organising an awareness camp to be attended by the state commissioner. In Bhopal, Young Voices are participating in a state-run sports day.
- In Malaysia and Indonesia Young Voices musicians who had participated in Leonard Cheshire Disability’s music training workshop are organising recitals to showcase their abilities and raise awareness among the local community and government officials.
His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho officially opened an event to raise awareness of Young Voices at St. Angela Cheshire Home, where he is a patron. He said: “I want Young Voices to reach the hearts of everyone who has power in decision-making in order to bring changes in their lives.”
The Young Voices project translated 500 copies of the UNCRPD into the local Shona and Ndebele languages and adopted them as tools to advocate for the ratification of the Convention in Zimbabwe. Using media in a different form, some group members are being trained in using the internet as an advocacy tool.
The UNCRPD, human rights, education, accessibility, employment, health –these are just some of the issues that South Sudan Young Voices members discuss in their regular radio talk shows. Broadcast four times a month on both private and government radio stations, the programmes continue to attract and educate audiences. Since the group was formed in 2009 they have broadcast over 170 programmes
A US-based organisation, PACT, has funded an HIV/AIDS prevention project in Matsapha, Swaziland with a $110,000 grant from USAID and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The project will train Young Voices members and other people with disabilities to be peer educators who will provide ongoing HIV education to other disabled people. They will also inform people about HIV testing and provide opportunities to discuss sexuality, disability and HIV prevention. Those involved hope that the project will help people get to know their HIV status and use this information in their own lives.
Young Voices members in Juba, South Sudan helped to celebrate the country’s first birthday as an independent nation with a disability rights march. Heading out from a local organisation for people with visual impairments, they marched to the national celebrations in Freedom Square carrying two banners: “A Free Country for all Including the Disabled People” and “The Young Voices Congratulates the Government and the People of South Sudan for the First Celebration of the Independence Day”.
South Sudan officially separated from Sudan last year after decades of civil war. Young Voices in Juba was founded five years ago to campaign for the rights of people with disabilities during the formation and growth of the new nation.