Young Voices urged to form groups to earn a dignified life

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

Members of Young Voices across the globe are urged to come together as groups should they need help from governments and Non Governmental Organizations operating in their countries.

This came after one member of Young Voices received a tailoring machine from Lillian Fond and Katalemwa Cheshire Home in Nansana town in Wakiso District, Uganda in July 2013.

Young Voices is a global campaign project of Leonard Cheshire Disability, implemented by young people with disabilities aged 16-25 years, to advocate for the recognition, protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities worldwide.
Harriet Nakimbugwe, a girl with a physical disability, underwent a six month course in tailoring and garment cutting at Nansana Vocational Training Centre.

She was advised by donor organizations that help is only recommended and available for those who are organised in groups and are ready to initiate projects that can help them lead sustainable lives in the future.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities clearly stipulates in Article 27 (d) that persons with disabilities should have effective access to general technical and vocational guidance programs, placement services and vocational and continuing training; and in Article 27 (e) that state parties should promote employment opportunities and career advancement for persons with disabilities in the labour market, as well as assistance in finding , obtaining, maintaining and returning to employment.

Nanziri, a Young Voices national facilitator from Uganda, told a Conference in Nairobi, Kenya that funds are available for those groups that are legally registered in their respective district headquarters.

Sadaati, also a member of Young Voices in the country, said this initiative has so far helped to change the lives of members. According to Sadaati, lobbying through attending public fora and debates has been the main campaign tool that has helped bring about the anticipated changes in the lives of members of Young Voices in Uganda and has yielded a dignified lifestyle amongst members.

Editors: Odiongo Clement, South Sudan; Bongani Makama, Swaziland; Sikdam, Indonesia; Ashura Michael, Kenya.

Posted in Uganda and tagged

Campaigner profile: Norris Cummins, Guyana

Norris Cummins

Norris Cummins really enjoys his job. He is a graphic designer and runs his own business which he has called “Footworks Inc”. Norris uses his feet to do almost everything, including using the computer, as he has no use of his hands.

Norris was born with cerebral palsy and only started to walk at the age of 11. His family have always been really supportive and encouraged him to get a good education. He realised his passion for Graphic Design while studying IT and this motivated him to set up his own business. Sometimes people question whether he’ll be able to do a job efficiently because of his disability – but he always proves them wrong.

Norris joined Young Voices Guyana in March 2009 and since then has been a very active campaigner. One of the campaigns he was proud to take part in was distributing 200 musical and promotional CDs about disability to minibus and taxi drivers in Guyana. After the campaign people with disabilities reported experiencing less discrimination when trying to access public transport.

Norris’s message to the world is: ‘People with disabilities have abilities. Stop discrimination. Promote and fulfil their rights.’

Young Voices speaking out on employment and poverty

Young Voices Lesotho met with the Ministry of Social Development to discuss the rate of unemployment and poverty for people with disabilities. As a result, the Ministry held a breakfast meeting with local companies to encourage them to hire more people with disabilities. They also agreed to provide funding for people with disabilities to start their own businesses.

Philippines Young Voices campaigner speaks at UN Headquarters

Carmela Leones from Young Voices Philippines spoke at a side event of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD at the UN Headquarters in New York on 13 September. Organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability and titled ‘The Right to Earn a Living: Young Women with Disabilities Call for Action’, the event explored the most effective policies and practices to support employment for young people with disabilities. Unemployment statistics can’t speak, but Carmela explained what it is like to study and work in mainstream settings when you have a disability. What are the challenges? What needs to change? How can their experiences feed into real progress in policy and practice? She was joined by a Young Voices member from India and disability specialists from the UN and the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre at University College London.

Young Voices campaigner speaks at UN Headquarters

Vibhu Sharma from Young Voices in India spoke at a side event of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD at the UN Headquarters in New York on 13 September. Organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability and titled ‘The Right to Earn a Living: Young Women with Disabilities Call for Action’, the event explored the most effective policies and practices to support employment for young people with disabilities. Unemployment statistics can’t speak, but Vibhu explained what it is like to study and work in mainstream settings when you have a disability. What are the challenges? What needs to change? How can their experiences feed into real progress in policy and practice? She was joined by a Young Voices member from the Philippines and disability specialists from the UN and the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre at University College London.

Read more about Vibhu’s experience.

Accessible transport demanded for up to three million disabled citizens

The Indian state of Karnataka is home to approximately three million people with disabilities. Speaking on their behalf and for themselves, the Bangalore Young Voices group submitted a memorandum to the state minister for transport. It called for the state bus transport corporation to honour national laws and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by ensuring full access to public transport. This includes providing free or reduced price bus passes for people with disabilities as is done in many other Indian states. Finally, the Young Voices members demanded that the corporation fulfil its obligations under national law to ensure that 3 – 5% of all its jobs, as well as concessions in bus stations, are filled by people with disabilities.