The training program encouraged people with neuro-developmental disabilities to speak up about issues that are important to them
A three-day-long 'Empower Us Self-Advocacy' training program has been held at Platinum Grand Hotel in Dhaka organized by Inclusion International, with support from local organizations Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh and SEID.
The training program started on March 12 and finished on March 14.
Self-advocacy is when people with neuro-developmental disabilities speak up for themselves about issues that are important to them and work for the inclusion of all people in the community.
Empower Us is one of Inclusion International's global programs focused on self-advocacy. Inclusion International is an international network of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.
Empower Us Trainers Judy Huett, from Australia, and Mark Mapemba, from Malawi, conducted the training as resource persons. Both of them are part of the global Empower Us team, a group of people with neuro-developmental disabilities who travel the world to train others with similar disabilities about their rights.
The main sessions of the training were: ‘what is good support?’, 'what is self-advocacy?', 'what are rights?', and ‘advocacy in action’.
16 self-advocates, including support persons from 2 organizations, learnt various aspects of self-advocacy to raise their voice in their communities during the training.
The issues that are important to self-advocates include, but are not restricted to, discrimination, exclusion, violence, and lack of job opportunities.
Through workshop activities, the self-advocates with their supporters worked together and spoke about how self-advocacy can help a person to speak up for themselves for inclusion and how using local and international laws like the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the United Nations (UN), can help in tackling the big issues.
Self-advocates said the training was very constructive and they would be taking home the things they have learnt during the three days to share with other self-advocates in their communities.