Sixteen women with disabilities from China, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka were selected to participate in an eight-day Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Delegates exchanged experiences, explored strategies, strengthened a regional network of support, and created collaborative plans to promote inclusion of women with disabilities in community development efforts. The training was provided in English, Chinese and sign language (using Certified Deaf Interpreters).
As part of the training, a one-day Gender, Disability and Development Institute (GDDI) convened representatives from development, social justice and philanthropic organizations with WILD participants in dialogues and action planning to ensure participation of women with disabilities in the development process.
In addition, the regional WILD training featured the launch of MIUSA's Brilliant & Resilient: Celebrating the Power of Disabled Women Activists photo exhibit. The international traveling exhibit features portraits and vignettes of 30 women activists with disabilities from around the world. The exhibition event also served as a space to promote networking and partnerships between women leaders with disabilities and human rights, development, and government agencies.
Following the training, regional WILD participants will receive small grants to support implementation of WILD workshops for other women and girls with disabilities in their communities.
The Regional WILD program is supported by Channel Foundation and MIUSA's Women's Leadership fund.
Following are reflections from some of the 2018 WILD women, about their WILD experience and how it will impact their lives and work:
“I never had an opportunity to work with people with cross disability. It was a powerful experience to see and understand how we can be inclusive and why it is important."
“I loved the Self-Defense Session. I must teach this to other women back in my country!"
“[I am] more confident, powerful and excited to go out into my community."
“The sexual and reproductive health sessions were extremely informative, I will definitely include all these in further trainings."