Self-advocacy of People with Intellectual Disabilities in India
Over the weekend I was contacted by PARIVAAR, a federation of over 150 Parents Associations and NGOs in 27 States of India working for people with Mental Retardation, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Disabilities. Parivaar is a grass - root level organization with 70 urban, 42 semi-urban and 38 rural parents associations (http://www.udaan.org/parivaar/parivaar.html).
They invited me to a meeting on self-advocacy to be held in Hyederabad-Secunderabad between 29 June and 1 July. I was very much impressed to see the materials and concept note of the meeting.
Self-advocacy of people with intellectual disability is a new but dynamically growing phenomenon. In my own country, Hungary, self-advocacy groups have just been formed and they learn how to become actors in the broader advocacy arena.
Prejudices hold that people with intellectual disability are incapable of understanding their interests and advocate for it. Self-advocacy provides capacity building and capability development to enable people with disabilities to become their own advocates. Nobody else can know better what the person wants and needs than the person him/herself. Proper support can enable the growth of self-advocacy movement which has also been started in India. Parivaar has been playing a pioneering role in this exciting new advocacy in India, which is in accord with the spirit, purpose and objectives of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Self-advocacy is integral to the proper implementation of CRPD.
I shall participate in their self-advocacy meeting and consult with the initiators of self-advocacy initiatives on 30 June and 1 July.