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Personal Story
Screenshot of Yulia in wheelchair raising her arms outside

Video: A FLEX Student Turned Disability Rights Leader

True to its name, the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) had predicted wisely when it counted Yulia Simonova among its "future leaders" in 2001. Although over a decade has passed since Yulia spent a year in the U.S. as a high school exchange student, she claims that the experiences that shaped her there continue to serve her in her current role as a disability rights leader and founder of non-profit organization Perspektiva in Russia. Yulia, who has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair, created this video to describe how.

Tipsheet
Students with disabilities working in a community garden

Investing in Youth with Disabilities

Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs) must engage, prioritize and invest in the potential of youth with disabilities to become positive, powerful citizens and advocates. Many of you are working on implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Books/Journals/Podcasts
Angled view of a row of color and black and white headshots of disabled women displayed on easels

Host the Photo Exhibit

Available to tour national and international galleries and cultural spaces, the Brilliant & Resilient exhibition is a unique exhibition featuring a collection of photographs and personal stories of women with different types of disabilities, all alumni of Mobility International USA’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). Their powerful portraits and vignettes illustrate the issues that significantly impact their lives, including access to education, employment, political power, reproductive health services, and HIV/AIDS and violence prevention.

Tipsheet
African women talking in a circle

Women’s Health, Wellness and Violence Prevention

Women and girls with disabilities face double discrimination based on disability and gender. They are more likely to experience violence, abuse, and poor health than men with disabilities. They are less likely to have opportunities for education and employment, or access to critical services such as disaster aid or HIV&AIDS prevention programs.

If women and girls with disabilities are so vulnerable to human rights violations, why, then, are so many of them being excluded from the life-saving and life-enhancing development programs that exist in their communities?

Tipsheet
Group of Blind Moroccan girls

Disability-Inclusive Youth Programs

Youth with disabilities are amongst the most marginalized and poorest of all the world’s youth. They commonly face more discrimination and severe social, economic, and civic disparities as compared with those without disabilities, especially in developing countries.

Yet, youth programs seldom address issues of youth with disabilities, much less include them into activities.

Tipsheet
Buildings under construction

Disability and Humanitarian Assistance

Disability inclusion in all phases of emergency response and preparedness is crucial, from disaster risk reduction preparedness, prevention and mitigation to disaster relief, rehabilitation and recovery. Utilize the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) to ensure international cooperation provides accessible and inclusive humanitarian responses.

Tipsheet
Black and white photo of people, including several women wheelchair users, sitting in a circle listening to a speaker.

Economic Inclusion

People with disabilities in developing countries often represent the poorest of the poor, yet they are typically overlooked in the development agenda. Poverty reduction strategies must include people with disabilities to achieve development goals.

Economic development programs such as microfinance have revolutionized efforts to fight poverty by providing financial services to people previously conceived as dependent on charity. Such financial services have empowered and enabled people, particularly women, to take control of their lives and contribute to their societies.

Tipsheet
Blind woman from Ethiopia using adaptive voting device

Inclusive Democracy and Governance

Building inclusive, vibrant democracies depends on the active engagement of all citizens in public life. People with disabilities represent approximately 15% of the population, a large constituency base in every country, yet decision-makers and policy-makers in government have historically been unresponsive to their needs.

Through involvement in political activity, law and policy reform, disabled people and their organizations can influence improvements in the areas of health, rehabilitation, education, employment, and access to goods and services.

Personal Story
Employee at Pyunic pushes manual wheelchair

Sports Play a Role in Disability Advocacy

Get to know one of MIUSA's partners for a SportsUnited Exchange program in Armenia. Founded to provide relief to children with disabilities following a major earthquake, the Armenian Association for the Disabled (Pyunic) has since grown to empower people with disabilities to be involved in culture. MIUSA talked to Mr. Hakob Abrahamyan, Pyunic's president to find out how sports and recreation play a role in disability rights in Armenia.

Tipsheet
Two women in manual wheelchairs holding hands up in the air, one from Indonesia, the other from Bangladesh

The Power of Disabled Women Activists

Women with disabilities are among the most marginalized, under-served populations in the world, yet they offer tremendous potential for leadership and to transform communities. There are many ways development organizations can ensure women with disabilities are included. Here are five starting points.

Tipsheet
Blind man with international group

Making Inclusive Development a Reality

Inclusive development is good development. Learn ten essential strategies from incorporating inclusion of people with disabilities in one's budget or as scoring criterion in project proposals.

Tipsheet
WILD delegate from Kenya speaking with a representative of an international development organization

Partnership Building Strategies

So, you secured a meeting with a potential partner! Maybe it is with a representative from the US Embassy, USAID, an international development organization, or a local nonprofit. Here are a few things to keep in mind going into that meeting. This is a two-way meeting, both about what you can do for them and what they can do for you; about what you can offer and what they can bring to the table.

Tipsheet
Two women signing. Photo by Melissa Mankins

5 Ways to Build Your Professional Experience

You know professional development is valuable for individuals and organizations, but how do you fit skill building into your organization’s already tight budget and work load? Consider using these five strategies to start making connections and securing funding to build staff skills and increase organizational impact.

Tipsheet
Susan Sygall publicly thanking two individuals

Tips from Grant Funders

Several international NGO professionals share their top tips for disability rights organizations worldwide on building relationships with grant funders. From collaborating with other DPOs to building strong partnerships for grant proposals to being realistic and clear about what you can and cannot do, read on for tips on each stage of the grant process.

Tipsheet
A woman from Myanmar, who has cerebral palsy, bowing in a fashion show in traditional dress

Moving from Inclusion to Infiltration

Begin a new strategy of working toward inclusion by practicing “infiltration” - proactively participating in the services which, as members of your communities, are rightfully yours.

Billions of foreign assistance dollars are allocated toward improving communities through programs such as, entrepreneurship and job training, microfinance, health, education, political participation, emergency response, food security, water and sanitation, leadership training, and women and girls empowerment. These are your programs.

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