RI Global What’s On November: A Pledge of Change for Africa

23 December 2017
RI Global Newsletter, November 2017
A Pledge of Change for Africa — The Annual Conference
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Zhang Haidi, President of RI Global and chairwoman of China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) with pupils of a local primary school in Addis Ababa, during the RI Global Annual Conference. 

RI Global November 2017 Newsletter
A Pledge of Change for Africa: The Annual Conference 

More efforts urged for persons with disabilities in Africa
Representatives from 37 countries, including officials of the African Union, gathered in Addis Ababa for Rehabilitation International’s Regional Conference for Africa, calling for more efforts to include persons with disabilities in Africa’s development initiatives. RI Global President Zhang Haidi said in her opening remarks that although the international community has registered remarkable achievements regarding inclusion of persons with disabilities, “it should be the goal and mission of every one of us to help improve their living conditions and create a favorable environment for their equal, inclusive and sustainable development.”Noting that nearly 118 million people in Africa are disabled, Demelash Bekele, RI deputy vice president for Africa region, said challenges such as accessibility of services, lack of assistive devices, poor inclusive education and access to health services are preventing African persons with disabilities from moving forward with their lives. Under Zhang’s presidency, RI will increase its visibility in Africa and will work with local partners to embark in activities that will help empower Africans with disabilities, especially women and children. “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, especially women” said RI Secretary General Venus Ilagan, noting the woman within RI Global’s Leadership ranks, including President, Secretary General, VP for Asia-Pacific and Deputy VP for the MENA region. “There is no better way to show that RI practices what it preaches,” Ilagan said. Maiga Idriss Alzuoma, Chairperson of the African Disability Forum, expressed hope that collaborative efforts and working together will bring about change in the region.

The activities at the RI Global Annual Conference in Addis Ababa were many and varied, from discussions to group luncheons to visiting the disabled of Africa.
RI GLOBAL at UN/Around the World
RI Global lays out Africa agenda
During its 2017 Annual General Assembly and Regional Conference for Africa, RI Global pledged to jumpstart projects for people with disabilities in the region. With the help of the China Disabled Persons Federation (RI-China) and the Government of China, RI Global has mobilized the Africa Fund for RI Global to collaborate with other partners in the region on initiatives to build the capacities of persons with disabilities. Under RI Global’s Disability Development Fund, the organization will also undertake activities for other regions who need assistance. “A woman with a disability from a developing country herself, Haidi Zhang knows the issues which disabled persons have to face every single day of their lives and she wants to be able to help do something to better their situation,” said RI Global Secretary-General Venus Ilagan. The multi-year funding that she has mobilized to support RI’s initiatives will be complemented by the expertise of RI’s leaders who themselves, have dedicated years of their lives to help improve the lives of disabled people.RI Global SG to chair opening session of Int’l Day of Persons with Disabilities
Building on many decades of UN’s work in the field of disability, the theme for the 2017 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all, aims for persons with disabilities – as both beneficiaries and agents of change – to be included in the process towards sustainable development in such areas as disaster risk reduction, humanitarian action and urban development. The Opening of the International Day, with an appearance from new UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, will include RI Global’s Secretary-General Venus Ilagan as chair. On the schedule are panel discussions and side-events fromBuilding Future Societies for All, a talk on good practices toward shaping inclusive future cities, to performances by Korean musicians. The day will also feature an installation by the Heidi Latsky Dance company. For the schedule, see the UN DESA website.

Commemorate IDPD 2017 in your local community
Observance of the IDPD provides opportunities for all to Take Action. Highlight best practices and think about making recommendations to your local political leaders, businesses, academic institutions, cultural centers and others. Everyone is welcome to organize their own events to celebrate the IDPD to raise awareness and to promote the rights and perspectives of persons with disabilities around the world. Share with us the IDPD 2017 in your community for posting the information and link to your event on the UN Enable website. Email enable@un.org

Seung-Kyu Park, the president of KEAD, signs a memorandum of understanding with Homeplus to use disabled employees. KEASD runs five vocational training centers and a Research & Development institute for people with disabilities. 
RI GLOBAL Member Profile: 
Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled (KEAD)
Korea’s leading discount retailer Homeplus uses it. Hanuri (a subsidiary of Korean firm LG Electronics) is also a key client. And when Starbucks Korea first began its disabled barista hiring program in 2011, it sought the advice of  Korea Employment Agency for the Disabled (KEAD), hiring over 50 disabled baristas each year since. Currently, there are 163 disabled people working at Starbucks branches across South Korea – 22 of them have earned promotion to manager level.KEAD, a semi-governmental organization under the Ministry of Employment and Labor, is a key player in helping the Republic of Korea implement both the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the SDGs through tangible results for the disabled. The agency, established in 1990, develops disabled persons’ vocational abilities in order to place them in the competencies they most desire. KEAD has also made it easier for businesses to look to the disabled for employment by providing subsidies, helping establish standard workplaces for PwDs, and implementing survey and research regarding disability employment in Korea. “The true era of people’s happiness means the society where any people with disabilities who want to work can work freely and that companies employing people with disabilities will succeed,” said Seung-Kyu Park, the president of KEAD. Visit KEAD online.
 The Heidi Lasky Dance Company will perform at the 2017 International Day of Persons with Disabilities, with theme: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all
RI GLOBAL Mark Your Calendar
UNESCAP High-level Intergovernmental Meeting on the Midpoint Review of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities: ESCAP, in cooperation with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), is organizing this High-level Intergovernmental Meeting with a focus on the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real”. It will review the future policy direction for building disability-inclusive societies and to incorporate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with regard to PwDs in Asia and the Pacific. Crowne Plaza Hotel, Beijing, China, 27 November – 1 December.International Day of Persons with DisabilitiesTransformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all is the theme for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2017. The day will focus on the conditions to make transformative changes towards a disability- inclusive society – as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the CRPD. United Nations, 1 December 2017 (Observed)

56th Commission for Social Development: The priority theme for the 2018 policy cycle is Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all, with a special discussion on disability and development. United Nations, 29 January to 7 February 2018

9th World Urban Forum:  The theme for WUF9 Cities 2030, Cities for All: Implementing the New Urban Agenda, and places the Forum’s focus on the New Urban Agenda as a tool and accelerator for achieving Agenda 2030. Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 7-13 February.

Zero Project Conference 2018: The conference will gather 500 decision makers and opinion leaders worldwide, highlight more than 50 Innovative Policies and Innovative Practices, and involve leading experts from all over the world in the discussion of the most relevant solutions for the implementation of the UN CRPD.Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria, 21-23 February. 

International Paralympic Winter Games: The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will be held for 10 days in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, the Republic of Korea – the first Olympics held in Koreas since the Seoul Paralympic Games in 1988. Pyeong Chang, Republic of Korea, 9-18 March. 

11th session of the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD: Since 2008, the States Parties to the CRPD have met at the UN in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention. The 11th session will feature, among other agenda items, an election of nine members of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY 12-14 June 2018.

RI GLOBAL News to Use

Disabled entering the workforce en masse
Results from a new national survey show that many employers have implemented practices and processes for recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining people with disabilities, resulting in an employment-to-population ratio for working-age people with disabilities increase from 27.9 percent in October 2016 to 30.5 percent in October 2017. The 2017 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey: Supervisor Perspectives  highlights not only the businesses that are inclusive, but also opportunities for maximizing workplace diversity. “For the 19th consecutive month, the proportion of people with disabilities working has continued to grow, and once again, their gains are outpacing those of people without disabilities,” according to John O’Neill, PhD, director of employment and disability research at Kessler Foundation. “…individuals with disabilities are striving to work and the processes and practices employers are using to recruit and hire people with disabilities appear to be paying off.”Iranian parliament to approve bill on rights of persons with disabilities
The Iranian Majlis – the national legislative body of Iran – is hammering out a bill on rights of persons with disabilities, designed to become law before the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The adoption of the bill could play a significant role in creating job opportunities and providing people with disabilities with pension in Iran. As of mid-November, the Majlis had allocated a budget to the tune of nearly $225 million toward training and employment of people with disabilities, as well as granting low-interest loans of nearly $3,750 to employers who will recruit and train people with disabilities. Approximately 1.3 million Iranians live with disabilities – two percent of the population – and receive services from 2,200 rehabilitation centers based throughout the country.

Myanmar ready for accessible tourism
Myanmar is now open for travel by travelers with disabilities and senior travelers, according to the Myanmar Accessible Tourism Center (MATC) which is pioneering barrier-free travel in the country. MATC recently conducted a sponsored tour program in major destinations in Myanmar in collaboration with a French wheelchair blogger, I Wheel Travel. “The press trip was intended to validate our accessible tour program and also to analyze the accessibility level of destinations, hotels and transportations from point of view of an experienced tourist in wheelchair,” said Dr. Lu Mon, founder of MATC. The blogger visited Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Ngwe Saung Beach in a carefully crafted 10-day program.
Help UN Women design the cover of its CSW62 handbook. The theme: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
RI GLOBAL Opportunities and Awards 
CSW61 Handbook Cover Contest
Calling All Designers! The UN is gearing up for the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12-23 March 2018. Thousands of representatives from governments, NGOs and women’s organizations working to advance human rights for women and girls will attend. Have your artwork prominently featured on the program by incorporating the CSW62 theme: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. Submit tocontest@ngocsw.org by 16 January 2018. Visit here for more information. Call for inputs: Accessibility Survey
The UN Inter-Departmental Task Force on Accessibility (IDTFA) is conducting a survey to collect information about barriers in terms of accessibility. If you have encountered – or if you have witnessed/heard others experience – any barriers to full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in activities at the UN Headquarters, you are asked to participate. The information gathered will assist in enhancing accessibilities of facilities and services at the UN Headquarters. The English survey is here and the French survey is here.  

UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women – Call for Proposals
The UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund) awards grants to initiatives that demonstrate that violence against women and girls can be systematically addressed, reduced and eliminated. The UN Trust Fund is currently accepting applications for multi-year grants up to USD 1 million to fund programs that address violence against women and girls with disabilities. Applications from women’s rights, women-led, and small women’s organizations will be prioritized, in recognition of them being the driving force of the ending violence against women agenda. Online applications will be available from 31 October until 5 December 2017 on the UN Trust Fund website

Enable Makeathon down to 15 competitors
Fifteen teams have been selected for the co-creation phase of the Makeathon from a pool of nearly 100 applications from across the globe. The process involved marathon interview sessions, an evaluation of the final teams on the strength of the idea and judging based on the fulfillment of a critical need for persons with disabilities. Some of the finalists include: Non Spec, a below knee prosthetic system that is dynamic, affordable, lightweight, adjustable and mass producible; Torchit, a walking cane that uses buzzing and vibrating sensations as navigation; and GameAble, gesture-recognition software that allows disabled persons to play video games.

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