By Alli Strong
By Lydia Shula, Program Manager
My eyes dart around the room, while my fingers jump between laptop keys, camera clicks and my translation headset. There are papers with words posted all over the walls, visually shouting in both Vietnamese and English: ‘access’, ‘justice’, ‘ dignity’, ‘enforcement’, ‘autonomy’. Up on a screen, paused mid-play, is a video of Linh, a leading force in the Deaf rights movement, signing in front of a blue backdrop with text displayed to his right.
By María del Socorro Piña Montiel, President of MADIJAL
By Ashley Holben, Program Specialist
How do you get people with disabilities to the table? And is simply getting them to that proverbial table enough? What's the next step?
These are some of the questions we were thinking about when, for the first time (hopefully the first of many!), MIUSA had the opportunity to attend the Gender 360 Summit hosted by FHI 360, a member of MIUSA's EDDI initiative.
International exchange is one of those experiences that can have high stakes for someone with a disability.
A disabled exchange participant might invest so much energy convincing others that nothing bad will happen if they go abroad, that it stings that much worse if an accident does occur. Worse still, even a minor incident might result in a program to question the participant’s abilities or to project doubts on future participants with disabilities.
This post was originally contributed to the American Foundation for the Blind's (AFB) Family Connect publication. NCDE Project Coordinator Justin Harford discusses why parents should encourage their blind or disabled children to do an exchange overseas:
In May 2017, I traveled to Peru for the second time with the MIUSA-led RightsNow! project. I was part of a training visit to build the capacity of disability leaders to implement and enforce disability rights laws in Peru. We brought 31 training participants together: 30 were leaders with disabilities, and almost two-thirds were women.
We were invited by Via TRM to write about technology and accessibility for their blog! Check out the official blog of Via TRM with the goal to "Empower every advisor to engage #everystudent to go global".
In the next decades, I hope we look at students who experienced these barriers and found ways to go abroad anyways. These alumni hold the solutions, which may be replicable for others. They showed barriers can be negligible when we focus on the how.
Let’s face it: inclusion is taking waaay too long!
So what can we do?
I believe now’s the time to adopt a strategy of moving from inclusion to infiltration.
During a session at the recent InterAction Forum in Washington, D.C. (an annual event bringing together leaders from the international development field), I presented the idea of infiltration in the context of people with disabilities not waiting for life-saving programs to include them.