RI Global: Office of Communications
Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501
Leaders from 37 Countries Attend RI Global’s Africa Conference
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 14 November — Representatives from 37 countries, including disability leaders, African Union officials and Ethiopian civil servants, gathered in Addis Ababa for Rehabilitation International’s Regional Conference for Africa to discuss how RI can assist in addressing the challenges in disability and rehabilitation in the region. Held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 14 November 2017, the event marked the first and single biggest gathering of RI Globals members and partners to exchange views and chart a way forward for a collaborative work on disability in the region.
RI President Haidi Zhang thanked leaders of the disability community for attending the conference in order to explore possibilities of working together to accomplish the shared goals and dreams for persons with disabilities. “Africa is a region that is very important to RI and I look very much forward to working with the leaders of the disability community in the region to help address some of the challenges facing persons with disabilities,” Zhang told a crowded United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Conference Center in Addis Ababa.
In her presentation of RI’s 2017-2021 Strategic Plan, RI Secretary General Venus Ilagan said that RI has shown the world its commitment to equalize opportunities for persons with disabilities, particularly women She pointed out that RI had elected a woman with a disability (WWD) for its President, as well as WWDs as officials for Asia-Pacific and the Arab region — from the Republic of Korea and Tunisia, respectively. “There is no better way to show that RI practices what it preaches,” Ilagan said.
Guided by the Strategic Plan, RI will use rehabilitation as a tool to realize the goal of helping persons with disabilities enjoy their rights on equal basis with others. RI also hopes to bring on board new members as it embarks in the journey to engage more actively in efforts for disabled people in the region. “The organization welcomes persons with disabilities and all others interested in working together to make a difference,” Ilagan said.
Maiga Idriss Alzuoma, Chairperson of the African Disability Forum, thanked RI for taking a very concrete step to help address concerns of persons with disabilities in Africa. He expressed hope that collaborative efforts and working together will bring about change that will benefit persons with disabilities in the region.
RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.