Your USICD Donation Will Help People with Disabilities in the Caribbean Affected by Hurricanes
Dear USICD Members & Friends,
On 19-20 August, I attended the 2017 Biennial Regional Disabled Peoples' International North America Caribbean (DPI NAC) meeting in Antigua. At the meeting, I was elected as the organization's Vice President. The next day, I traveled with the local Disabled Peoples' Organization, the Antigua & Barbuda Association of Persons with Disabilities (ABAPD) to visit islanders with disabilities. What I found was disturbing.
One gentleman had been lying in his bed for over 15 years and living in a shed that was falling apart with holes in the roof. With the help of volunteers, ABAPD was building him a new home but had run out of funds to complete it. Another individual experienced a stroke and was living in something much worse and used a cane that was falling apart. A young girl, Jamamarie, was about to turn 14 the next day and had not been to school in years because she lacked a wheelchair. She was crawling on her hands and knees and showed signs of infection. I promptly bought her a basic wheelchair and a cane for the other gentleman.
Yes, this is the reality in Antigua and Barbuda. A popular tourist spot for cruise ships and others who love to enjoy Calypso music, Caribbean food, and some of the best beaches in the world -- where people with disabilities are living in appalling conditions and being hidden away from tourists. ABAPD is resourceful and is working hard to change these circumstances for their peers with disabilities. But the lack of funds is holding them back.
Today, I write to you because I am deeply concerned about our brethren in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma has devastated Barbuda where approximately 60 people with disabilities reside. We are still waiting to hear from members of our sister DPI organization in the other islands and concerned that they are now rendered homeless due to flooding and hurricane damage and have lost anything of value, such as their mobility devices.
In Barbuda, over 90% of the buildings have been destroyed and two more storms are brewing in the Atlantic.
As the Vice President and regional council member of DPI NAC, USICD feels a strong responsibility to do something to help. So I write to you today to ask for your help in raising funds to assist the Disabled Peoples' Organizations in the region that have been hard hit by Hurricane Irma.
Please consider donating to USICD today! Your donations will be sent to DPI NAC and distributed to the region's disabled peoples organizations to help them purchase equipment and other medically necessary items. Please use the designation "Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts" when making your donation.
Don't forget to share this message with your friends and colleagues!
Disabled Peoples' International North America Caribbean
USICD Attends 2017 DPI-NAC Regional Biennial Meeting
Participants of the 2017 Disabled Peoples' International North America Caribbean (DPI NAC) Biennial Meeting
USICD's Executive Director, Isabel Hodge, traveled to St. John's Antigua to attend the Disabled Peoples' International North America Caribbean (DPI-NAC) Biennial Regional meeting that was held on 19-20 August.
At the meeting, Isabel was elected to serve as the Vice President of DPI NAC. There are 16 member countries of DPI NAC; 12 of the 16 countries have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). At the meeting, each country provided a report on their activities since the last DPI NAC meeting held in 2015. Many reported similiar challenges: high unemployment, the need for wheelchairs and other mobility devices, accessible housing, etc. Television coverage from the event can be found on the ABS Television/Radio Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/abstvradio/
Before Isabel traveled back to the USA, she met with individuals with disabilities and representatives from the Antigua and Barbuda's Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Ministry of Health Affairs. She attended the review of the country's first Disabilities and Equal Opportunities draft Bill and provided suggestions for improvement.
Isabel Hodge receives a thank you gift from Antigua and Barbuda's Ministry of Legal Affairs.
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The Afghanistan Disability Rights Conference: From Policy to Programming was a follow-up to the first National Conference on Disablity Rights convened by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential palace in October, 2016. Under President Ghani, the Afghan government has made disability rights a national priority.
The conference, which included USICD Board members, Stephanie Ortoleva and Judy Heumann, focused on practical approaches for making inclusive education, inclusive public healthcare, and vocational training and employment opportunities a reality for Afghan citizens living with disabilities.
Afghanistan's Ambassador Dr. Hamdullah Mohib welcomed participants. Also during the first day of the event, prominent Afghan and international disability rights advocates spoke on panels and responded to questions from the audience. On the second day of the conference, USICD was honored to host the Afghan delegates for a Knowledge Sharing Workshop where they had the opportunity to speak with American experts from U.S. disability organizations.
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Thank you so much.