Expanding and Enhancing the Legal Knowledge of a Cross-Disability Network in Vietnam

A group of people with and without disabilities pose for a photo in front of a large workshop banner in a conference room
RightsNow! TOT participants, trainers, interpreters and government representatives
Disability rights leaders collaborate on regional trainings for citizens with disabilities across the country on their rights established under national laws and the CRPD

MIUSA’s in-country partner, Action to the Community Development Center (ACDC), convened 30 leaders with and without disabilities in Hanoi in May/June 2018 for an intensive five-day Training of Trainers (TOT), conducted by a RightsNow! training team of U.S and Vietnamese experts. 

The timing of the TOT was opportune, as Vietnam is currently in the process of harmonizing the National Vietnam Law for Persons with Disabilities (VLPWD) with the CRPD.  Disability rights leaders were provided a comprehensive review of the VLPWD, increasing their knowledge of disability rights under the law, and strengthening constructive engagement between disability leaders and government ministries.

As a result of outreach to diverse disability communities, participants of the TOT included representatives from new organizations on the rights of autistic people and those with psychosocial disabilities. A two-day pre-TOT workshop was offered to ensure full participation of Deaf leaders whereby Deaf TOT participants agreed upon common sign vocabulary for legal concepts across differing sign languages used in the North, Central Highlands and Southern regions of Vietnam.  

Over the course of the five-day TOT, participants discussed components of the VLPWD with Vietnamese legal experts, four national Ministries, the Department of Vocational Training, and the National Committee on Disability. Participants also engaged with the U.S. training team on issues of disability discrimination, and comparing the ADA and VLPWD. Key sessions covered:

  • Rights-based approach embodied in the ADA, and the legal strategy of separating rights from benefits
  • Leveraging the CRPD and Sustainable Development Goals
  • Building cross-disability networks
  • Preparing for effective cross-disability inclusive trainings

The U.S./Vietnamese training team included:

  • Susan Henderson, Executive Director at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
  • Michael Schwartz, Ph.D., J.D., Associate Professor of Law at Syracuse University College of Law, and founding member of Tangata Group
  • Lydia Shula, Program Manager at Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
  • Nguyen Thi Lan Anh, Director, ACDC
  • Luong Minh Tam, Project Coordinator, ACDC
  • Phan Ngoc Viet, Communications Officer, ACDC
  • Nguyen Hien Phuong, Deputy Department of Labour Law, Economic Law Faculty, Hanoi Law University
  • Tran Minh Hai,  Founder and Director, Tuong Lai Center
  • Nguyen Tuan Linh, President, Mobilization Board of Vietnam Deaf Association

Following the TOT, disability leaders conducted nine regional trainings, reaching approximately 270 people with and without disabilities in provinces such as Can Tho, Quang Nam, Vung Tha, Nghe An and Thai Nguyen. Modeled after the TOT, each training included a one-day pre-training for Deaf participants, provided information about the ADA and rights-based approach to disability rights, and invited government representatives to engage with participants on particular sections of the VLPWD under their authority.

The RightsNow! project has also trained disability rights constituents in Armenia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and Guatemala, and has developed an online resource center with information available in Vietnamese, Spanish and Armenian. Learn more by visiting the Global Disability Rights Now! website.