RI Global From the Field: World Congress Day 2, Pos’abilities of Independent Living

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RI Global: Office of Communications

Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501

Following a first night of meet-and-greets, including the launch of Pos’ability Magazine’s Global List, the RI World Congress returned for Day 2, which focused on exploring policy and practical approaches to promote independent living for people with disabilities and impairments. The night before, however, the Edinburgh Convention Centre was abuzz with a VIP reception during which Katherine Deal, editor of the Pos’ability magazine, celebrated the achievements of 50 of the most accomplished people living with disabilities from across the world, including RI Global’s new President, Zhang Haidi.

“We recognize that all lists such as this are ultimately subjective, but we also believe the Global List are incredible role models who are to be celebrated for their fantastic achievements. We believe also that this would still be case if they were not disabled,” she told a packed house. The list features famous disabled people, including actor Michael J. Fox, entrepreneurs, such as Srikanth Bolla, who founded Bollant Industries which employs disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly consumer packaging, as well as social crusaders, like Neema Namadamu, a Polio survivor who founded Maman Shujaa Media Centre to empower women in the Congo.


The next morning, the first plenary on ageing and rehabilitation, moderated by RI Global’s own Joseph Kwok, featured Lord Geoffrey Filkin from the UK’s Centre for Ageing Better and Dame Anne Begg a former Scottish Member of Parliament, whose genetic Gaucher’s disease has kept her confined to a wheelchair, discussed three key dimensions of a good later life: health, financial security and social connections. They also contemplated the ways in strong social connections helped some people to overcome poor health or a lack of financial security.

For the final plenary of the day, Dr. Tom Shakespeare, chair of the central research committee for Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL), argued for effective partnerships between academics and activists to further make the case for self-operated care schemes.


The day closed with a performance by Tilley Milburn, a singer and singwriter supported by Heart ‘n Soul, an award-winning creative arts company that provides people who have learning disabilities, opportunities to discover, develop and share their talents as widely as possible. Tilley performed stand-up comedy and tunes with her best friend Del, a beautiful pink stuffed pig who has been her best friend since she discovered him in a Kent card store years back.


On day three of the World Congress, speakers will address the sport and disability movement, as well as reveal new partnerships. Stay tuned at www.riworldcongress.com.


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.

Join us at the 2016 RI Global World Congress: riworldcongress.com