27.01.2015 Empowerment, Inclusion & Participation in Bangkok

This week in Bangkok, CBM is hosting meetings focused on disability-inclusive development (DID) and community based rehabilitation (CBR). I was kindly invited to participate and as a UN advocate, it has been an excellent learning experience and also very positive to meet more of the CBM family.

Participants hail from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East who support our advocacy, disability inclusive development and community based rehabilitation. Specifically our diverse group includes representatives from: Australia, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, the UK, the US and Vietnam.

We are coming together in this critical juncture in the post-2015 process to highlight successes, challenges and opportunities from around the world. Our experiences draw from the experiences of our 700 partners, part of alliances with organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) and other development and rights organizations.

Topics of discussion have included:

  • Environmental sustainability and climate change
  • Gender and disability
  • Inclusive health
  • Working with DPOs
  • Building local networks and alliances
  • Accessibility
  • Promoting Empowerment and practicing inclusion

We are learning lessons in a rich variety of contexts and we recognize that we have many questions and are grappling with many challenges while being enriched by the diverse experience of empowerment, inclusion and participation.

We look forward to tomorrow’s training day facilitated by CHANGE, an organization of persons with learning disabilities (also known as intellectual disabilities in some regions in the world) based in the UK who will be leading us through learning on how we can improve our practice and promote the rights and inclusion of people with learning disabilities.

I’ll end on a powerful quote from David Lewis’s important and timely presentation on climate change and the direct effects on persons with disabilities around the world.

I feel very frightened going to the toilet in the bush I don’t know who may be there. Often my friend is not available to come with me. It is one of the worst parts of my life.
a Blind woman with a disability in India