Children and young people with disabilities across the world share key messages regarding their inclusion, rights and representation as Now Is the TIME.
Include Me TOO are a UK-based charity that has supported the inclusion, rights and empowerment of young people with disabilities and their families for over a decade, increasing young people with disabilities’ support networks and being recognised for the value they bring through their lived experiences as experts and changemakers
During the Commonwealth Week on Tuesday 12th March at the Place of Westminster the Global Disability Summit Children and Young People’s Report, and the Global Disability Children & Young People’s Charter were launched in partnership with International Disability Alliance, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Leonard Cheshire.
Ana Arellano Chairperson of International Disability Alliance provided the keynote speech, followed by key messages shared from the report and the charter presented by Include Me TOO Youth Ambassadors Suleman Arshad, Joesph Migila, Sarah Mwikali, Honey Jones, Paul Ntulila, Devika Malik, Jack Milne and Jonathan Andrews. Regina Mwangi a young person representing Leonard Cheshire also presented on the 2030 and counting as a citizen reporter.
Michael Horner from the Department for International Development, Layne Robinson, Commonwealth Secretariat and Helen Jones, Royal Commonwealth Society, Chris Merit, World Merit were also amongst the speakers.
The report shares the contributions that were made by children and young people with disabilities representing *23 countries of which 20 countries are Commonwealth members during the Global Disability Summit which took place in July 2018.
‘I was proud to host the launch of Include ME TOO’s Global Disability Summit Children and Young People Programme Report in Parliament. It is a fantastic piece of work which the International Development Committee will be considering in detail as part of our inquiry into DFID’s work on disability.
People with disabilities have been left behind for too long. If we are to meet the Global Goals it is crucial that we give voice to and empower young people with disabilities. That is why the work of Include Me TOO is so important in providing a platform for young people with disabilities from around the world to share their aspirations but also the challenges they experience in respect to their inclusion.’
Stephen Twigg MP Chair of the International Development Select Committee
Minister of State for International Development, Lord Bates said:
‘Young people and children with disabilities often struggle to be heard. It is great that Include Me TOO is giving them a platform and it is important that we listen.
“I am proud last year’s Global Disability Summit played such an important part in producing today’s report and its key messages will be carefully considered in our work going forward.’
There are 93 million children with disabilities who are least likely to have their voices heard and most likely left behind. The report shares their authentic voices on many issues including: ending stigma and taboos associated with disabilities; inclusive education; opportunities and choices for economic empowerment; safeguarding and ending all forms of abuse and harmful practices; gender equality and how they wish to be included and represented.
Children and young people also shared the commitments they would wish to see in a charter to support their rights, inclusion, independence, equality, dignity and dreams.
The Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter has 12 commitments which underpins the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.
‘We are proud to have had the opportunity to support the Global Disability Summit ensuring that the voices of children and young people were included. This has been captured in the report and the key messages they shared for their Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter, which will certainly strengthen the Global Disability Summit themes delivery in regards to impacting positively on the lives of children and young people with disabilities.
Furthermore we are looking forward to continuing the development and increasing support for the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Society and working alongside the Commonwealth Secretariat to achieve inclusion, rights and representation of children and young people disabilities increasing reach and engagement across the Commonwealth to ensure their voices are heard, improve access and inclusion so they may reach their full potential and have their contributions, achievements recognised and valued.’
Parmi Dheensa (Include Me TOO Founder and Executive Director)
Commonwealth Children & Youth Disability Network (CCYDN), supported by Include Me TOO in partnership with the Royal Commonwealth Society was launched at the event marking the Commonwealth Week. The CCYDN is disabled young people’s led and aims to strengthening rights, inclusion, participation and representation; increasing access and opportunities for disabled children and young people, to share their narratives, their achievements, reaching their potential and providing access to mentors, resources and an inclusive tomorrow.
‘The Commonwealth Secretariat, through its Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) will continue to support the Commonwealth Children & Youth Disability Network as a practical response to the Heads of Government mandate to ‘address the stigma around disability in all its forms and
manifestations, ensuring that no one is left behind’. By working with young people with disabilities who are promoting their right to included and to participate in decision making at all levels, we come closer to fulfilling the vision of a society where our young people lead the change they want to see in a fairer, more prosperous and inclusive society for all. The CYP will work with the all the relevant partners and agencies to give voice and space to children & young people with disabilities to lead their own agenda in the Commonwealth. #NowIsTheTime.’
Layne Robinson, Head of Social Policy Development, Commonwealth Secretariat.
‘The Royal Commonwealth Society has a strong record of working in support of diversity and inclusion and the empowerment of young people in the Commonwealth. We are excited to be supporting the voice of Commonwealth young people with disabilities through the youth-led Commonwealth Children & Youth Disability Network, and to be working with Include Me TOO and the Commonwealth Secretariat.’
Helen Jones MBE, Head of Programmes and Youth, RCS
Global Disability Summit children and young people participated represented the following *23 countries – Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Philippines, Canada, Mozambique, Rwanda, Czech Republic, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, Maldives.
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018, the first ever Commonwealth Disability Youth Roundtable Event was organised and led by Include Me TOO. Young people with disabilities representing Uganda, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Botswana, Bangladesh and United Kingdom presented topics which mattered to them and their peers. They highlighting the key issues impacting on young people with disabilities in their respective Commonwealth member countries.
It was vital to continue the discussions held during the Commonwealth Disability Youth Round table on issues of inclusive education, tackling stigma and discrimination, gender equality, employment and technology and innovation, strengthening the involvement, inclusion and voices of children and young people during the Global Disability Summit (GDS). Include Me TOO led on the children and young people’s programme continuing with their youth-led approach via a youth-led roundtable, workshop, social media discussions, and presentations in plenaries throughout the Global Disability Summit. The Global Disability Summit was co-hosted by the UK government alongside the Government of Kenya and the International Disability Alliance (IDA) in London July 2018.
* Include Me TOO promotes the social model approach to disability and we usually use terminology such as ‘disabled young people’ and ‘disabled children’. However, during the Global Disability Summit 2018 where children and young people were consulted and participated, we used international language. This means within the Global Disability Summit Children and Young People’s Report and the Global Disability Children and Youth People’s Charter we have used the terminology ‘children and young people with disabilities’
Issued by Include Me TOO, Newhampton Arts Centre, Dunkley Street, Wolverhampton WV1 4AN
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