Disability Sensitization Workshop Series
IYAP seeks to promote peace by focusing on the rights of ALL youth. As a part of our commitment to work with young people from all backgrounds and experiences, IYAP is reaching out to young people with disabilities to include them in its activities and networks in a more systematic way. With the support of IYAP’s Advisory Committee which also includes people with disabilities, the new Ability Forum aims to become an ongoing network of people with disabilities and their representative organizations, the private sector, government officials, disability activists, and youth who are interested in mobilizing to promote people with disabilities’ participation and inclusion in society.
A founding principle of the Ability Forum is that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else and that those rights can be pursued best when people with disabilities and their representative organizations work with and through mainstream civil society movements at local and national levels. IYAP is uniquely positioned to provide a motivating environment to help young people with disabilities achieve this goal. Young people with disabilities, like all young people, need to interact with and learn from their peers; yet they are often sheltered from participating in public and social life by their families or totally excluded by discriminatory attitudes and physical barriers prevalent in society
The Ability Forum can provide a platform for young people with disabilities to express their views and raise their public profile with confidence, working with other young people. Together they can sensitize the government, civil society stakeholders, and the public to understand disability with “empathy” and not “sympathy” and to gain greater recognition for their rights in Sri Lankan society and among political decision-makers.
The Ability Forum is the first IYAP initiative on policy advocacy. A range of Sri Lankan and international NGOs have been calling for a more powerful representation of and by people with disabilities. This project was conducted in partnership with the World Vision Sri Lanka. IYAP was requested by the World Vision Sri Lanka to support its efforts at raising awareness of disability within Children’s Societies and IYAP’s increased focus on disability is a response to this call.