Richard Mbugua from Young Voices Kenya and Ruth Javati from Young Voices in Papua New Guinea had the once in a lifetime opportunity to represent youth with disabilities at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) Meeting Youth Forum in Australia in October. With the 163 other youth delegates, they produced a communiqué that was circulated at CHOGM and was presented to the Commonwealth Secretariat.
‘The whole event… was really fantastic and well organised’, Richard said. ‘It gave us all an opportunity to experience what brilliant young minds can achieve and also made a great step in building a better future for youths in the commonwealth. It showed that if youth are given a chance they can rise to the occasion and become great leaders.’
The Young Voices members’ participation followed two years of lobbying by the Leonard Cheshire Disability International Policy and Campaigns team. Leonard Cheshire Disability has also been included in the steering group finalising the Commonwealth Strategic Plan on Young People to ensure that youth with disabilities are included.
Ruth added, ‘it was exciting to know that both disabled and non-disabled youths can come together as one and give our recommendations to the Commonwealth Heads of Government who, if they act upon them, will enable us to live a satisfied life.