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.

Young Voices make themselves heard in Brussels

Young Voices campaigners at the European Development Days event - Young Voices campaigners and other delegates are seated behind a table, while one person speaks - some audience members are visible. The EU development days banner - - is behind the speakers. Young Voices campaigners spoke to a packed room of delegates at the European Development Days in Brussels on 26th November. The Young Voices, from the Philippines, Zambia and Kenya, were hosting a side event on ‘The Power of Young Voices – an innovative approach to inclusive civic engagement focusing on young people with disabilities’. The European Development Days is an annual event that brings together thousands of development stakeholders, practitioners and advocates in informal sessions to exchange best practice, network, and come up with creative solutions to key issues.

The Young Voices campaigners shared the challenges they have experienced as young people with disabilities, and the campaigns they have participated in to bring about change for disabled people in their countries. Delegates debated how development actors could engage better with young people.

Meeting delegates - including Young Voices campaigners - sitting round the tableTwo days later, the campaigners took part in a roundtable at the European Parliament, hosted by Richard Howitt MEP. Together with representatives from EU institutions and civil society they discussed how to harness the power of young voices to promote human rights and include disability in the post-2015 development framework.

View highlights, photos and quotes from the sessions on our Tumblr site.

Young Voices in Brussels

Young Voices campaigners from Kenya, Zambia and the Philippines will be in Brussels at the end of November to take part in two exciting events:

26th November: European Development Days session

Young Voices campaigners will be hosting a session on ‘The Power of Young Voices – an innovative approach to inclusive civic engagement focusing on young people with disabilities’ at the European Development Days on 26th November. The European Development Days is Europe’s premier forum on international affairs and development cooperation.

Eu development days banner - writing on banner says eudevdays. eu, 26 - 27 November 2013, Brussels Tour & Taxis

28th November: Roundtable hosted by Richard Howitt MEP

On 28th November, Young Voices campaigners will be taking part in a roundtable on ‘Youth advocacy, human rights and mainstreaming disability’ at the European Parliament. As well as Young Voices campaigners, speakers will include Richard Howitt MEP, Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Human Rights Sub Committee, and Rolando Villamero, member of the Global Education First Initiative Youth Advocacy Group.

Email us at if you would like to attend either of these events.

Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Kenya, is moderating the European Development Days session and will also speak at the roundtable with Richard Howitt MEP. Here’s Wanja talking about disability and development:

Posted in Global, Young Voices News and tagged

Young Voices at the Commonwealth Youth Forum

Ten Young Voices campaigners from Sri Lanka are participating in the 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum, which is taking place this week in Sri Lanka alongside the biannual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. As well as participating in the discussions, they will be putting up an exhibit and hosting two side events on ‘The Power of Young Voices – an innovative approach to inclusive civic engagement focusing on young people with disabilities’.

Deciding our future: My experiences of the Young Voices Global Meeting

By Jani Bee, Young Voices campaigner from Sri Lanka

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 air

Since the dawn of new millennium, in different conferences around differently shaped tables, people have been discussing the different courses of action that could be taken to improve the lives of people who are different from them. But there has been a universal indifference to the fact that those tables did not feature anybody that has benefited from the differences they are trying to make.

In October 2013 the voices of young disabled people who wanted to be heard got together from all over the world for the 2013 Global Leonard Cheshire Disability Young Voices meeting. As the Young Voices representative from Sri Lanka I was privileged to be a part of this unique gathering in Nairobi. Although conferences of an international nature weren’t anything new to me, the refreshing positivity of everyone there inspired me immensely.

The conference had a vibrant start: The first person I saw was Washington, the Leonard Cheshire Disability Regional Advocacy and Campaigns Manager for Kenya, introducing a session in sign language with the aid of a sign language interpreter. The outstanding talent of the Kenyan Young Voices was then brought to life by Miss. Nicole Mballah as she sang a welcome song for all the participants.

One of the main themes of the conference was how we sustain the movement and how we move forward, especially as our funding from the European Union comes to an end this year. Our valuable discussions over the three day conference are being brought together into a Global Young Voices Call to Action, which will set out what we think the future is for our movement, and the changes we want to make. I’m really happy that I have been given the opportunity to contribute towards drafting the Call to Action. And I’m really excited about my role in carving out a future for our Young Voices movement.

Posted in Global, Young Voices News and tagged

Living with Disability and Disasters

October 13th is the International Day for Disaster Reduction, and the theme is year is ‘Living with Disability and Disasters’.

Young Voices campaigner Wanja Maina has written a blog about disability and disasters – you can read it on the Huffington Post.

Have your say – the UN Office for Disaster Reduction is conducting a global survey on Disability and Disasters.

Join in the UN Office for Disaster Reductions mass twitter action and tweet: “Disability is NOT inability! I’m supporting this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction #iddr #thisability”.

Posted in Kenya, Young Voices News and tagged

Young Voices at the UN in New York to discuss Disability and Development

Of the 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide, nearly 40% live in poverty. Yet there is no mention of disability in the Millennium Development Goals. Millions of people are being left behind as a result.

From 23 – 27 September, heads of government and leading voices on disability are coming together at the UN. As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, they will be agreeing an action plan to make sure that people with disabilities are a priority in the new post-2015 development goals.

Ashwini from India and Ishan from Sri Lanka are representing Young Voices in New York. They will be calling on world leaders to make sure that all goals and targets to end poverty include people with disabilities.

Here’s Ishan talking about the importance of including people with disabilities:


Today the first ever High Level Meeting on Disability and Development will take place at the UN in New York. UN member states will come together with civil society to discuss how people with disabilities can be included in development efforts.

In this video, Wanja Maina, Young Voices campaigner from Nairobi, Kenya explains the significance of this meeting.

Award-winning Young Voices campaigner returns to New York

Ashwini and UNSGYoung Voices campaigner Ashwini Angadi from India returns to the UN in New York this week to call on world leaders to make sure that disability is included in the post-2015 development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals. In July, Ashwini was in New York to celebrate Malala Day and receive a ‘Youth Courage Award for Education’ from Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Education. Ashwini is co-chairing a new Youth Education Crisis Committee set up by Gordon Brown. The Committee will lead the call of young people around the world for a robust and urgent response to the education crisis, starting with the 1 million Syrian refugee children.