RI Global What’s On: December Newsletter, Day of Disabilities

14 December 2016
December What’s On: Year in Review, Up Ahead
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A disabled advocate enters the High-Level debate during the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) on 2 December.

December 2016 Newsletter: The Year in Review and Up Ahead

PwDs Not “Left Behind” at International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Although the decade since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities — one of the most widely-ratified human rights treaties in UN history — has brought sweeping changes, disabled speakers on 2 December told the General Assembly that discrimination remained pervasive for persons with disabilities (PwDs) and the global playing field uneven.On the annual International Day of People with Disabilities, many advocates stressed the need to view the rights of PwDs in the context of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledged to “leave no one behind”. Among others, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) Secretary-General Venus Ilagan called for renewed efforts to turn commitments into tangible action for the disabled, during a High-level debate on the matter.“After the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we note that there continues to be little resources allocated by some governments to address the profound social, cultural and economic disadvantages experienced by people with disabilities,” Ilagan testified in front of a packed conference room, whose guests that day included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Stevie Wonder, the internationally renowned blind musician and UN Messenger of Peace.“Persons with disabilities – one billion of us – are a resource just waiting to be tapped for our contribution in realizing the shared goal for sustainable development.”Throughout the day, the Heidi Latsky Dance Company staged a “living gallery” of 20-30 different bodies moving as reverent sculptures in the space. Similar installations took place simultaneously around the world and were also showcased at the UN. The IDPD capped off with the Accessible Cities for All ceremony, during which brought, among other things, a performance by the Special Olympics Korea Ensemble, followed by a statement and appearance by violinist Midori, a UN Messenger of Peace.

See full coverage on the website, as well as a Photo Essay

RI GLOBAL at the UN and Across the World

Sponsored RI Global, the 11th Beijing Forum on Rehabilitation took place from 2-4 December under  the theme “Innovation, Integration, Sharing and Development”.

RI Global Joins President Zhang at China Rehab Conference

“Rehabilitation International has, for ninety-six years, in the business of changing lives through our relentless efforts to promote rehabilitation as the ultimate tool for persons with disabilities,” said RI Global Secretary-General Venus Ilagan in a speech to help kick off the 11th Beijing International Forum on Rehabilitation.

Sponsored by the China Rehabilitation Research Center (CRRC) and China National Convention Center of Beijing North Star Company Limited and RI Global, the forum took place from 2-4 December at the China National Convention Center, Beijing. Under the theme “Innovation, Integration, Sharing and Development”, both RI Global President Zhang Haidi and Past President Jan Monsbakken spoke on the WHO Action plan on better health for PwDs, the Gate Project and the Incheon Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.

“The theme of the forum is not only timely but very appropriate: ‘innovation, integration, sharing and development’” said Monsbakken in a 20-minute keynote address. “They are what we need to mainstream disability in order to realize the goals for sustainable development.

“Disability should not be seen as something that impedes development. Rather, it should be considered as something that can contribute to the realization of sustainable development.” RI Global co-sponsored the conference, which brought doctors and researchers from all over the world to speak about in rehabilitation medicine not previously published.

See more about the event on the conference website.

RI Global President Zhang Haidi speaking to a delegation during Rio’s 2016 Paralympics. RI Global is reaching out to South America where more than 70 million persons with disabilities live.
RI Global Reaches Out to Latin America
Directly following her trip to the World Congress in Edinburgh, RI Global Secretary-General Venus Ilagan attended the productive Experts Group Meeting (EGM) on the status of Women and Girls with Disabilities at the UN-Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC).But more than realizing the need of addressing the empowerment of women and girls with disabilities for the UN Secretary-General’s report on the matter, she recognized RI Global’s need to engage with South America.More than 70 million persons with disabilities live (PwDs) live in Latin America, with at 12.7 percent – more women than men. All 20 countries in the region have ratified the Convention on the Rights of PwDs (CRPD), and 17 out of 20 countries have inclusive national gender plans and policies.RI Global had previously engaged with Latin America under its Global Advocacy Campaign (GAC), which enabled the disability and the legal communities in six pilot countries to repeal domestic and national laws in order to bring governments in line with the provisions of the CRPD.During her stay in Santiago, Ilagan re-established ties with some of the leaders from the GAC project, who had heard about RI Global’s continuing leadership in rehabilitation. RI Global has identified potential advocates to help the organization recruit new members in Latin America and will be exploring those options in the New Year.

To read more about the Expert Group Meeting, click here.

Euan MacDonald of popular disabled website, Euan’s Guide, just released the Best of 2016 places to go. 
After he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), in 2003, Euan MacDonald, a avid adventurer and socializer didn’t worry too much about his future, until he ultimately became wheelchair-bound ten years later. He and sister, Kiki MacDonald, often had to rely on trial and error or hours of web searching and phone calls before choosing restaurants, evening activities, even places for a coffee with friends.Frustrated and sometimes angry, Euan had a revelation: that he couldn’t be alone in his search. In that moment, the idea for Euan’s Guide, the disabled access review website and app, was born.“Euan’s Guide aims to be a friendly, honest and empowering alternative to hours of web searching and phone calls,” said MacDonald, one of the featured guests of the Rehabilitation International World Congress in October. “Most importantly we hope it will remove the ‘fear of the unknown’ when visiting a venue for the first time.”Everybody can get involved with Euan’s Guide, including disabled people, their friends and families by searching for listings and reviews of venues across the UK and beyond – or writing them. Listings include information about accessible toilets, wheelchair access, hearing loops and multiple other access features that exist at any one particular venue. Independent reviewers also share photos and experiences of restaurants, hotels, train stations, attractions and anywhere else they may have visited. In three short years, Euan’s Guide has enlisted hundreds of reviewers for thousands of reviews and just released the best of 2016.Read more about the 2016 list or about becoming involve in Euan’s Guide.

The RI Global-Shaw Trust booth at the 2016 World Congress. Lots of activities ahead for persons with disabilities in 2017.

Mark Your iCal: UN Events and Conferences

15 to 18 January 2017: UN World Data Forum, Cape Town, South Africa

1 to 10 February: 55th Commission for Social Development, UNHQ, NY

9 to 11 March: Third Symposium Franco-Latin American Research on Disability, Porto Alegre, Brazil

22 to 26 May: UNISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Cancun, Mexico 

13 to 15 June: 10th Conference of States Parties to the CRPD, UNHQ, NY

10 to 19 July: High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), UNHQ, New York

8 to 10 November: 3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf, Budapest, Hungary

Joining the social network, My Disability Matters Club, could help fight the isolation and online trolling faced by the differently abled. 


Lack of appropriate clothing can hinder PwDs
Approximately 30 million Americans living with mobility disabilities lack the appropriate clothing required for social engagements, work and exercise, keeping them from playing active roles in their society, according to a recent University of Missouri study.Kabel and Kerri McBee Black, instructors of textile and apparel management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, found that half of the respondents reported that they have declined to participate in activities or events because they did not have or were unable to wear appropriate clothing – respondents missed attending weddings, funerals, school dances, baseball games and graduation. “The lack of attractive, functional clothing can be detrimental to overall well-being if individuals are unable to present themselves according to personal standards,” Kabel Black said in an article for Applied Ergonomics.“Declining to participate in an event or refusing to interview for a new job because you don’t have appropriate clothes… can have long-lasting negative impacts on self-esteem and relationships.” The Blacks future research will focus on the intersection of universal or human-centered clothing design and health, with the suggestion that apparel manufacturers could help people navigate social barriers by providing more accessible clothing options.A new social network for PwDs
A bit of Facebook here, a dash of Twitter and Instagram there and voila, a new social network My Disability Matters Club has debuted in Australia to connect the disability community across the world.The free online resource kicked off last month as a place for people affected by disability to meet, share ideas, seek advice and find support. Founder Dale Reardon said the site was specially designed to help persons with disabilities (PwDs) overcome many of the accessibility and ease-of-use issues often face with existing social networks.

“Discussing disability issues on existing social networks can also cause things like bullying and trolling,” he recently told GAATEs, Global Accessibility News. “Despite over one billion people worldwide living with disability, many do not have access to the information and resources they need that could make their lives better. Many do not feel a sense of community.” The online community is also connected to the My Disability Matters News service, helping people quickly and easily stay up to date with the latest information and events.

World Policy Analysis Center distributes disability data 
To commemorate IDPD and to assess countries’ efforts to address the rights of persons with disabilities, the World Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) has released a one-stop shopping center for all disability-related information. Putting fundamental rights of persons with disabilities on the maps features downloadable data, publications, interactive maps as well as other resources to help activists and advocates navigate the world of disability.

Additionally, WORLD released four factsheets that explore whether countries protect the fundamental rights of people with disabilities in their constitutions or if they had laws and policies in place to support inclusiveness.

WORLD, located at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, gathers and transforms massive quantities of legal and policy data into the accessible, user-friendly information and analyzes this data to identify effective policies and laws. Through partnerships with organizations around the globe, WORLD aims to translate its global policy data into community- and country-level improvements.

Holiday Gift Guide for the differently abled
Often in the Facebook posts of UNYQ, a a design company for amputees, practical wisdom and creative solutions are shared from one person to another. The company, which produces everything from braces to custom prosthetic covers, listened to their advice and put together a holiday gift guide for your favorite differently abled person, or just one in need.
Skin Care:
Neutrogena Body Oil:  reduces redness along liners
Cold-Pressed Organic Coconut Oil:  heals skin
Trader Joe’s Jojoba Oil: clears up irritations by morning.
Tegaderm Second Skin:  help with blisters and breakdowns

Wooden Test Tube Holder: good for placing prosthetic liners air circulation
Cool Crutches:  feature an anatomical handgrip and big rubber caps; express “your personality, not your disability”
T Allen Wrench: especially useful for DIY adjustments
Shoe Horns Galore:  kept in every bag to get shoes back on
Bike Hex Wrench: best for DIY for alignment adjustments especially for sports
Plumber’s Tape: plumber tape on a plastic pin eases squeaking
Pashley Tricycle: Pashley tricycles open up the delights of the world of cycling whilst providing unparalleled safety and stability.

Thick Leggings:  thick leggings at TJ Maxx are harder for my leg to eat through
Velcro: used it on the bottom of my foot to keep on any kind of dressy flats, or sandals
Reinforcement Patches: Iron on reinforcement patches stop sockets from rubbing away at the material
Sneakers with laces: good sneakers, such as Chuck Tayors, make PwDs feel stylish and sturdy

Winners of the EASPD and EUSE Employment for All awards will receive them at the World Conference on Employment for All – a Global Perspective in June 2017.


EASPD Employment for All award 
EASPD and the European Union of Supported Employment (EUSE) believe that all efforts in creating an effective system of employment of people with disabilities contributes to the change of social reality. If you believe your social services/support provider or your business contributes to the efforts of the European institutions for inclusion of PwDs, submit an application to EASPD and EUSE for the Employment for All Award. Download the form from the website and send it to tsvetelina.ivanova@easpd.eu before 31 January 2017. The Awards will be presented at the World Conference on Employment for All – a Global Perspective, taking place in Belfast from 15-16 June 2017. For more information, see the website.Youth in international development and foreign affairs internships
The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) is calling on applicants to its annual internship program, which focuses on U.S. youth with disabilities from across the country who intend to pursue careers in international development or foreign affairs. The summer 2017 internship program will bring a group of talented graduate students, recent graduates, and rising juniors and seniors with disabilities to Washington, D.C., for nine weeks to work at an international organization. USICD will cover the cost of accessible housing during the program, reimburse travel expenses to and from D.C. and provide a limited stipend. To  learn more about the Youth in International Development and Foreign Affairs internship program, eligibility criteria, and the application process, please visit the website. The application deadline is January 10, 2017
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