Young Voices in Delhi organise essay writing competition

Young Voices campaigners in Delhi celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3rd December by organising an essay writing competition for people with disabilities, in partnership with the Daisy Froum of India.

Essays were submitted from states across India including Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. Congratulations to the winner of the competition, Shivan Gupta from Delhi, who wrote an essay on ‘Why visually impaired students need books in accessible media’. He was awarded with a cash prize.

Making banks more accessible in Mauritius

The Bank of Mauritius is responsible for the good functioning of all banks in the country. They recently asked for proposals from the public on how they wish the banks to operate and deliver good services. Yaaseen Edoo, leader of Young Voices in Mauritius, sent them the following proposals:

1. Ramps should be placed in all banks in Mauritius so that wheelchair users can have access to the banks.
2. ATMs should be lowered so that wheelchair users and smaller people are able to access.
3. Customer care services should be lowered to facilitate wheelchair users and smaller people to benefit from information they need.
4. Priority should be given to wheelchair users and other forms of disability in queues as is done in hospitals.

Yaaseen has received a response from the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius confirming that they have sent a letter to all banks in Mauritius outlining these proposals.

Happy International Day of the Girl Child!

Young Voices campaigner Josephine Namirimu in her graduation outfit. She is a wheelchair user.October 11th marks the International Day of the Girl Child, a day to recognise girls’ rights and the challenges that girls face around the world.

Read this great blog from Josephine Namirimu, Young Voices campaigner from Uganda, about her experiences growing up as a girl with disabilities in Uganda. You can read more blogs and stories for the International Day of the Girl Child on Leonard Cheshire Disability’s main website.

An inspiring education conference

By Nicole Mballah, Young Voices campaigner from Kenya (pictured far right, with fellow campaigners Sara, Argie and Leroy)

Four Young Voices campaigners sitting together around a table

In June I was given the wonderful opportunity to attend the Global Partnership for Education replenishment conference held in Brussels, Belgium. This was an inspirational and empowering event for me.

I had the chance to prepare a one page speech on inclusive education and present it during a panel session at the conference. As a young campaigner who advocates for the right to education for persons with disabilities I was able to share the many struggles we go through when accessing education. It is the right of every child regardless of their gender, sexuality, race, or disability to gain an education. We need the help of the community as well as the Government to ensure there are accessible structures and trained teachers for the dream of inclusive education to become a reality.

I was very happy to see a great number of people at the conference taking their time to truly understand the importance of education and give their support to ensure every child has the opportunity to learn. It was even more inspiring that we as young people were given an opportunity to speak openly about what needs to be done and represent the thousands of young people whose voices cannot be heard.

It was amazing to meet so many people who were passionate about disability issues, and to hear inspirational stories from people like Leroy Philips, Young Voices campaigner from Guyana, proving that even with his disability, he was able to gain an education and pave the way for many others. It was an experience I was always cherish.

Posted in Kenya, Young Voices News and tagged ,

The World We Want

By Mark Mathew Operiano, Young Voices campaigner, Philippines

I recently attended “WorldWeWant.de and Friends” – a workshop with 20 other youth delegates in Bonn, Germany. WorldWeWant.de is part of the current consultation on the new development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The workshop was an opportunity to meet young people from all over the world with diverse views on the post-2015 agenda, and discuss our ideas and hopes for the future. We also got to attend “Global Partnership and the Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development” in Bonn, and voice our opinions to high-level policymakers.

Following the workshop, we came up with a manifesto that will be presented to international leaders on the formulation of the new development agenda. Key points from the manifesto included:

1. Ensure equal opportunities in areas such as education, healthcare, employment and social integration are available for all, including marginalised and vulnerable communities. These groups should be involved in decision and policy-making processes including those concerned with the post-2015 development agenda.
2. Raise awareness among vulnerable groups and disadvantaged communities of their rights to ensure their full participation.
3. Remove barriers that prevent vulnerable and disadvantaged groups from participating in social and civil life, including promoting technologies that are accessible t4. o all.
4. Reach out to the hardest to reach, listen to their stories, know their aspirations. Make sure they are empowered and have the chance to reach their full potential.

WorldWeWant.de was a great avenue for young people to come together voice our perspectives on the post-2015 agenda. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to attend.