Disabled Young People from across the Globe gathered at the First ever ‘Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event’ during CHOGM in London

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity celebrated their 10th Anniversary this year during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 held in London. During the CHOGM Summit the charity organised the first ever  Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable Event as part of the‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ joint project led by Include Me TOO with the Commonwealth Youth Council to increase the inclusion, rights and participation for disabled children and young people from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) represents 1.2 billion young people from across 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The roundtable event took place at the House of Lords as an official side event for the Commonwealth Forums Summit 2018 and hosted by The Hon Baroness Uddin and The Hon Lord Holmes.

‘It was a privilege to host the first ever Commonwealth Disabled Youth Event on behalf of CHOMG, given that 60 percent of the Commonwealth population is under the age of 30 years. Include Me TOO were instrumental in bringing together youth delegates from different parts of the world to the House of Lords as the event marked a step in the right direction for disabled youth to have a seat around the table and discuss issues that matter to them.’  said The Hon Baroness Uddin 

‘I was delighted to attend the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event in Parliament this week.  The presentations given by the young people from across the Commonwealth were excellent and packed with insight.  They provided great hope for the future.’ said the Hon Lord Chris Holmes

Disabled young people representing Uganda,Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Botswana, Bangladesh and United Kingdom presented in topics which mattered to them and their peers, highlighting key issues impacting on disabled young people from their respective Commonwealth member countries. The focus was upon the Global Sustainable Development Goals ensuing disabled persons are not left behind. The presentations covered:

  • inclusive and fair quality education which promotes lifelong learning opportunities for disabled persons
  • addressing additional disadvantages disabled girls and women experience in particular when working towards their inclusion in the Gender Equality agenda
  • disabled persons and employment, improving access, support and negative attitudes in the workplace
  • highlighting key barriers and challenges disabled children and young people experience in Commonwealth communities regarding their rights, participation and inclusion
  • the importance of planning and implementing an inclusive accessible society, inc suitable toileting and changing places, inclusive playgrounds, sport and leisure facilities, public services.

‘It was a real privilege to hear directly from young people across the Commonwealth on the challenges and issues they face as young people with disabilities. I was inspired and moved by their personal journeys and the work they are now doing to seek justice and equality in their home countries. There were lots of important lessons and reflections to take forward to the DFID-hosted Global Disability Summit in July this year’ said Richard Boden (Deputy Team Leader and Summit Policy Lead, Disability Inclusion Team – Department for International Development)

‘The Commonwealth roundtable event, presented young people as change makers who have a clear understanding of the issues which impact them and their peers and solutions to increase disability inclusion, rights and participation for all. We are looking forward to working with disabled youth from across the Commonwealth strengthening their voices and impact on local and global issues including the Global Goals to be achieved by 2030 as well as the Disability Summit taking place this July 2018 in London with DFID. We will be working with our young ambassadors, disabled young activists and partners to establish the Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable as a key component for future CHOMG’s summits.   said Parmi Dheensa – Include Me TOO Executive Director

During Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting they agreed on several issues regarding disability rights and inclusion:

  • Full social, economic and political participation of all including disabled persons recognising it is essential for democracy and sustainable development
  • Quality education and learning guided by the principle to leave no one behind, they agreed to support marginalised groups, which includes children with disabilities to progress through secondary education and training through appropriate policies, advocacy and strategic partnerships.
  • Address the stigma around disability in all its forms ensuring no one is left behind
  • Encouraging all member countries to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Include Me TOO look forward to continuing working with disabled young people from across the Commonwealth to ensure their voices are heard and the issues which affect them are present on the agendas and discussions encouraging progressive action for disability inclusion and implementation of disabled persons rights.

First ever ‘Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable event’ taking place in London with Disabled young people from the Commonwealth

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity celebrate their 10th Anniversary this year, the charity also developed the first ever National Charter of Rights for Disabled Children and Young People 10 years ago. The Charter received support by many national charities, government departments, government ministers and Prime Ministers signing up as signatories and providing statements of support for the charter in 2008.

Include Me TOO an award winning charity has led on disabled children and young people, and their families, from a diverse range of backgrounds participation and inclusion for over a decade, with innovative and creative approaches. The charity is committed in promoting and supporting social justice, equality, inclusion and the rights of disabled children and young people.

This year London is hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)2018 and the Commonwealth Forums Summit is one of the forums being held during the week commencing April 16th 2018. During the summit the first ever Commonwealth Disabled Youth Roundtable Event has been organised by the charity as part of the‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ joint project led by Include Me TOO with the Commonwealth Youth Council to increase the inclusion, rights and participation for disabled children and young people from the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) represents 1.2 billion young people from across 53 countries of the Commonwealth.

The roundtable event is taking place at the House of Lords, on Monday 16th April 2018 as an official side event for the Commonwealth Forums Summit 2018and hosted by The Hon Baroness Uddin and The Hon Lord Holmes.

‘I’m a passionate supporter of improving life chances and opportunities for disabled people to live the life they want to lead. I know many other Queens Young Leaders, Commonwealth Youth Award nominees, and Associate Fellows of the Royal Commonwealth Society, agree with me – with disability being the issue most prioritised by Queens Young Leaders when last surveyed. There is real passion among young people to make a positive change, and the institutions of the Commonwealth must channel that passion into real action.’ said Jonathan Andrews – Queens Leader and Young Ambassador (Include Me TOO)

There will be presentations by disabled young people representing the Commonwealth discussing the Global Sustainable Developmet Goals (SDG’s) including disabled young Ambassadors, Lucy Watts, Jonathan Andrews, Saliha Rashid, Paul Ntulila, Vibhu Sharma and Honey Jones representing Include Me TOO. Young people will be sharing their views and perspectives from their countries regarding issues affecting disabled young people and increasing representation and involvement of disabled young people in the Commonwealth.

We are delighted to have the support of the Commonwealth Youth Forum and the Commonwealth Youth Council as we host a momentous roundtable event strengthening the application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and building upon the National Charter of Rights for Disabled Children and Young People we produced with young disabled people which gathered many signatories from government and NGO’s a decade ago. Being the first Commonwealth Disabled Youth roundtable and providing them with an international platform to share their views and be heard is certainly a positive move for progress, inclusion and participation. We are looking forward to the event with all our partners and building upon the aim of this occasion with the Commonwealth.’   said Parmi Dheensa – Include Me TOO Executive

For further information please contact us via Email: dot@includemetoo.org.uk

Contact number: 01902 399888/01902 711604    

Disabled Champions come together to support National Summit in Birmingham for Disability Inclusion and Rights

World Health Innovation Summit, Include Me TOO and Birmingham City University have come together to build and strengthen a national platform for Disability Inclusion and Rights with a host of disabled champions. The national summit event is taking place on Saturday 18th November 2017, 10am to 4pm at Birmingham City University.

In the UK we have over 12 million disabled people of which over 800,000 are children under the age of 16 years.

This event marks the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 10th anniversary and the 60th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration. The event will provide an insight to the numerous areas overlooked impacting on the lives of disabled people, sharing expertise, learning and inspiring to achieve the future we aim to achieve a Disability, Inclusive, and Safe Society for All.

Amongst our speakers are disability advocates and personalities Kamran Malik CEO Disability Rights UK, actress Sam Renke, journalist Mik Scarlet, award winning campaigner and presenter Adam Pearson and TEDx speaker and World Champion Para triathlon (swim, bike and run) Steve Judge.

‘The national summit will be providing a platform to review the challenges and the progress made over the last 10 years since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We aim to share ideas, create solutions and opportunities for building a Disability Inclusive Society. We are delighted to have such a diverse range of speakers sharing their knowledge, experiences and achievements. Furthermore they are supporting the event as they recognise to make real progress for disability rights and inclusion and the many issues the disabled community experience throughout their lifetimes a collective effort is crucial. This event is a start of a much needed conversation as we all have a role in creating a world where our diverse disabled community can truly have a sense of belonging and are valued’.
Parmi Dheensa Include Me TOO

‘In societies which function well, every single member of that society both contributes to and benefits from the collective energy and productivity created by everyone working together for the common good. Including everyone isn’t just the right thing to do, it actively strengthens and builds a sense of community and well-being throughout society. One in 15 of us are disabled, and often don’t feel properly included. We short- change all of us when we exclude even one person. Help us change that, come to WHIS Birmingham and help us start essential conversations to ensure that nobody gets left behind.’
Gareth Presch and Yvonne Newbold, World Health Innovation Summit

‘I’m proud to be an elected student officer who campaigns on behalf of students with disabilities, to ensure they get the best possible student experience, whilst they are studying at Birmingham City University.  Myself and my colleagues within BCUSU and the University, work hard to ensure Birmingham City University is a fully inclusive place to study’
Amanda McCabe, Disabled Students Officer for Birmingham City University’s Student Union (BCUSU)

The event topics will be covering:

  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRDP) what the reality is in UK
  • Inclusive technology supporting Independent Living, Support and Access
  • Building stronger foundations for Disability Inclusion through Media
  • Safeguarding and ending violence, and all forms of abuse against disabled children and adults   
  • How can we ensure we have disability inclusive implementation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Increasing opportunities and choices to disabled persons inclusion and contribution towards sustainable economic growth and access to employment
  • Building a disability inclusive, safe and accessible society with inclusive transport and public spaces

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Issued by Include Me TOO, Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4AN
For further information please contact us via email:im2@includemetoo.org.uk or visit the event page on our website.
Contact number: 01902 399888/01902 711604

A call to Government for a SEND Equality Review

A call to government for a SEND Equality review following a decade of failings to disabled children & families from diverse community backgrounds.

Charity is calling for the government to review the last 10 years of equality duties failings in SEND delivery to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Disabled Children Young People and their families.

BAME disabled children, young people and their families continue to be underrepresented in services uptake, participation and representative bodies. Furthermore have limited support to accessible information and advice.

During July 2016 House of Lords roundtable event Include Me TOO led on with Baroness Uddin a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability and All Party Parliamentary Group on Autism; Lord Chris Holmes, Chair of the Disability Committee at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and an Ambassador of Include Me TOO and partner organisation Equalities National Council, asking to readdress the balance of equality, race and disability.

The roundtable discussions highlighted concerns of SEND reform and delivery failing the Equality Duties in regards to the multiple characteristics BAME disabled children, young people and their families are protected under including the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities.

‘Whilst as diverse communities we need to increase disability awareness, acceptance, change attitudes and increase community support we also need to strengthen our voices in ensuring disabled children and their families are receiving support from services and having their needs met. Our main concerns and our involvement in this article was to highlight that substantial resources have been available over the last decade to improve services and support to disabled children and their families yet there are only a few pockets of practice which are seen as making progress regarding the needs of the BAME disabled children, young people and families. When resources are allocated to the BAME sector these are tokenistic small resources that are yet again to consult on how to improve BAME engagement and access, this is a waste of resources which could be allocated to strengthen the BAME sector who already are supporting these families and communities.

The bias culture needs to change and after a decade of meetings, advising on steering groups, highlighting the importance of equality and diversity with government officials and their strategic partners sadly there has been no progress to address the inequalities a generation of BAME disabled children, young people and their families have experienced and as a result the government and their partners in delivery have failed them. The barriers to diverse representation and contribution by having a ‘seat around the table’ are consistently made impossible surely this is an area which needs to be challenged as the strategic representatives and delivery partners for SEND do not represent the BAME sector of disabled persons, families and communities’. Parmi Dheensa (Include Me TOO Executive Director)

Include Me TOO are calling for a review to readdress the balance as a first step towards progress:

• Equality duties considered in decisions made by the DfE in regards to SEND policy, implementation and service delivery.

• Review of contracts and equality impact/outcome assessments of SEND programmes delivered since 2006 highlighting areas to meet ‘hard to reach’ communities.

• Review of the last 10 years of BAME representation in government level strategic decision making processes, advisory panels and delivery partners in the implementation of SEND

• Identify resources allocated specifically to reduce the inequalities of BAME disabled children, young people and their families to provide them with an equal chance.

• Review the last ten years national programmes such as Aiming High for Disabled Children, Parents and Carers participation, Early Support, Preparing for Adulthood, Short Breaks, SEND reform, Independent Supporters etc…

• Highlight lessons learnt and produce a disability equality and diversity strategy providing clear outcomes and tools to measure the needs of BAME disabled children, young people, young adults and their families are considered and supported.
Include Me TOO are further concerned that without real action and collaboration to readdress the balance within the existing mechanisms the barriers to the inclusion, participation, support and rights of BAME disabled children, young people and their families will continue.

For further details please do contact us on im2@includemetoo.org.uk Contact number 01902 711604 Mobile contact number 07940367753

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/08/midlands-mother-autistic-son-ingrained-minority-ethnic-prejudice

Include Me TOO and Commonwealth Youth Council

Strengthening The Participation and Inclusion of Disabled Young People Internationally.

Include Me TOO, a national (United Kingdom-based) charity, joined hands with the Commonwealth Youth Council, an international youth-led NGO, to advance mutual objectives.

Include Me TOO an award winning charity has led on disabled children and young people, and their families, from a diverse range of backgrounds participation and inclusion for over a decade, with innovative and creative approaches. The charity is committed in promoting and supporting social justice, equality, inclusion and the rights of disabled children and young people.

The Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC), as mandated by the Commonwealth Heads of Government as the official voice of the 1.2+ billion young people of the Commonwealth, have embarked on an 18-month campaign to promote the interests of youth with disabilities. Their priority areas are empowerment of young people with disabilities, both economically and as community leaders; recognition of the work of young PWDs; data collection about young PWDs. The CYC is supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat that recently launched the Global Youth Development Index and a clear call was made for age-disaggregated data. The CYC is going further to make a call for age, gender and disability disaggregated data so that no one feels invisible to evidence-based policy. Overall, the campaign seeks to change perceptions.

Both organisations are coming together to strengthen the participation, inclusion and rights of disabled young people internationally with Commonwealth member states. The partnership’s project titled ‘Commonwealth Include Me 2’ will also be promoting disability awareness and understanding aiming to increase the positive attitudes and acceptance as well as developing a platform for diverse representation of disabled role models. Another key areas of the project is increasing the involvement of disabled young people in the planning and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) 2030’s agenda.

Over the next year there are a host of activities to expect from this partnership supporting this year’s Commonwealth theme, a ‘peace-building’ Commonwealth, Include Me TOO and Commonwealth Youth Council will be hosting

  • Two Twitter chats on the 14th and 17th March 2017 at 1PM GMT (Commonwealth week) to discuss ‘Ending violence and abuse against women and girls with disabilities’ and ‘Disability inclusion, rights, participation what matters’.
  • A Roundtable discussion where are we currently in supporting disabled children and young people’s rights in the Commonwealth.
  • Video campaign gathering stories of disabled young people globally their aspirations and goals.