The Brilliant & Resilient project features a collection of photographs and personal stories of 50 women with different types of disabilities representing 41 countries. 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.
Exchange Program Assistant
[posted: March 21, 2018]
We are incredibly proud of the team of experts with and without disabilities that make MIUSA a powerful organization and an invigorating place to work.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) was co-founded in 1981 by Susan Sygall and Barbara Williams-Sheng, both graduate students at the University of Oregon. Susan Sygall, a wheelchair rider, had recently finished a year studying abroad as a Rotary Scholar in Australia.
We believe strongly in the power of partnerships. Learn about our partners, networks and collaborations.
Mobility International USA (MIUSA) partners with organization through a variety of ways including memberships, alliances, subawards, joint projects, MOUs, and more. Our partnerships include both formal and informal relationships.
Like many non-profit organizations, individual donors are critical to our work. Your support ensures that we can continue the life-changing work of advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Whether your donation supports a scholarship for a woman with a disability to become a new leader, or provides funding for activities that engage our community, your donations are supporting the programs that make a real difference in the lives of disabled people worldwide.
While I was excited about the opportunity to go abroad to Costa Rica on an exchange program, as a disabled person I worried about how my experience getting on and off the plane would be.
I learned quickly that airline personnel don’t always know what to do when it comes to helping to transfer a person with a disability. Although they may have received formal training, it is different having to help in a real situation. Each person with a disability is different, and what may work for one person doesn’t mean it will work for another. Here are four tips that have worked for me:
At some point in your international travels, you may come upon a flight of stairs that need scaling, whether out of necessity (e.g. exiting a Parisian metro stop with a broken lift) or sheer desire (mounting the last bit of the Eiffel Tower for an incredible view). If you will need assistance from others to lift you and your wheelchair, there are some ways to make this tricky situation a little less harrowing.
You need to access the same information as everyone else who is on your exchange program or when navigating your new adventures overseas. The differences from home may mean you need to learn contracted Braille or specialized symbols specific to a foreign language.
I’ve gone in a shed, I’ve gone in the forest and I’ve gone in the middle of the desert. I’ve gone on top of a mountain, and yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have gone behind a bus.
If you are blind or low vision, you will find Americans friendly and helpful but also may be confronted with U.S. expectations that you learn to navigate and live independently in your daily life. U.S. laws and community resources create opportunities to support your independence.
What technology is preferred or needed depends on previous training or the type and amount of visual content that is being accessed. Computer proficiency is expected for a variety of tasks, and by using adaptive software, such as audio screen-readers, standard computers can be made much more accessible. Accessing books and other printed materials in an accessible format also can be done using braille-related technology or magnifying equipment, some of which are portable.
You know your own medication dosages and medical history the best. So, it's up to you to research how to manage your medications when traveling outside your country. Talk with your home doctor and insurance company who can answer questions. In some cases, you may have an international travel clinic or travel insurance providers to consult.
A Deaf student from Russia, Tatiana experienced the best of both worlds by attending two schools during her Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) year in the United States.
She attended the Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD) for the first five months of her exchange program while taking pre-calculus at Christiana High School, a mainstream public high school. After five months attending DSD, she transitioned to Christiana full time.
Megan Smith began her involvement with MIUSA when she was just 15. “Staff helped advise me on going abroad on a volunteer program in Costa Rica and Peru,” says Megan, who is a power wheelchair user. “Then, while at university, I spoke at MIUSA conferences and wrote some pieces about my international experiences.” Now, after three years working in the MIUSA office and leading MIUSA leadership exchanges, Megan will head to her next big adventure at the year's end.