International Visitors Celebrate 29 Years of the ADA

5 WILD delegates – all of whom are women who represent different countries and diverse disabilities, ethnicities, and backgrounds – gather in a conference room holding a large hand-written sign that reads #ADA29. Some women have assistive devices such as white canes, crutches or wheelchairs, while others have non-apparent disabilities. Attire includes “business casual,” jeans and t-shirts, and clothing that is reflective of the women’s respective regions, countries or cultures. They wear cheerful expression

For 29 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has prohibited discrimination based on disability. This summer, 22 disabled women leaders from 22 countries participating in Mobility International USA’s 2019 Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) are exploring the many rights and opportunities which are now available because of the ADA and the activists who fought for it.

As part of the three-week intensive leadership program, WILD delegates experience how people with disabilities participate in the community alongside people without disabilities. They ride accessible public buses. They learn about inclusive education and the term “reasonable accommodation,” which supports students with disabilities to access higher education. They try sports and activities such as river rafting, bike riding, and an outdoors ropes course. They share meals in local restaurants.

Recognizing the impact that the ADA has made here in the United States over the last 29 years, these disabled women activists will return to home with new information and strategies to implement or uphold human rights laws and policies in their countries: Albania, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mongolia, Myanmar, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Turkey, Uruguay, Vanuatu, and Zimbabwe.

United by the motto Loud, Proud, and Passionate®, WILD delegates are a forceful source of change to advance the rights of disabled women and girls globally.

Learn more about the 2019 WILD Program here.