MIUSA will lead a delegation of Independent Living and Legal experts from the U.S. on a 10-day visit to Armenia.
MIUSA will lead a delegation of U.S. Independent Living and Legal experts on a Technical Assistance visit to Armenia, from November 12-22, 2022. The visit is a component of the Leading for Independent Living Project, a three-year activity funded by USAID and implemented by MIUSA.
MIUSA’s Armenian partners, Agate Rights Defense Center for Women with Disabilities NGO (“Agate”) and Equal Rights Equal Opportunities NGO (“EREO”), opened the first two Independent Living Resource Centers (ILRCs) in Armenia with support of this project.
Both ILRCs offer peer-led, rights-based services and resources to consumers with all types of disabilities in the Shirak and Lori regions of Armenia. The ILRCs also advocate for rights-based, disability-led policies on independent living, and offer models for future ILCs to be established in the country.
The U.S. delegation includes Janet Lord, Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School Project on Disability; Kimberly Tissot, President and CEO of Able South Carolina; and Doug Toelle, Chair of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) International Subcommittee, and is led by Lydia Shula, MIUSA Senior Manager.
The U.S. team will share lessons learned from the U.S. Independent Living movement, and provide consultation to support Armenia’s commitment to advancing disability rights through law and policy.
In Yerevan, the U.S. team will engage in high-level meetings with the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Labor and Social Affairs, UNICEF, and USAID, and will be featured in a National Forum on Independent Living. U.S. delegates will also meet with staff and consumers of the Agate ILRC in Gyumri and the EREO ILRC in Vanadzor, to discuss long term sustainability and growth.
Agate, a Disabled Persons Organization (DPO) in Gyumri, has conducted disability rights, women’s leadership and advocacy programs for 12 years. Agate is directed by Karine Grigoryan, an alum of MIUSA’s International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) and Training of Trainers program.
EREO, a DPO based in Vanadzor, has supported disability rights in Lori region since 2014. EREO is led by EREO President, Anush Aslanyan, an alum of MIUSA’s 2019 WILD.
This activity is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of MIUSA and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.