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APEIM Association of Parents of handicapped children in Mauritius
  • Lotissement Belzim - Trianon Maurice
  • 467-1711
  • Irene Alessandri

Testimony of a self-advocate's mother, Inclusion International, APEIM, Mauritius

  • Inclusion : Accessibility
  • Africa : Maurice
  • Testimony

From Irene Alessandri the Dec 12, 2012

Trainer for the Inclusion international network, Fadia Farah travels the world with her daughter Mia. Mia suffered Down Syndrome, but it does prevent her from being a young healthy woman and a convincing spokesman for the cause of persons with disabilities, at the global level. Mia sits on the Committee of the International Federation, and participated in the discussions in New York for the elaboration of the International Convention on rights of persons with disabilities. Meeting with Fahey, a very proud Mother.

"Stop talking about the place of persons with disabilities"

-Can you explain your mission?

-I am a member of Inclusion International, an organization consisting of parents of children with intellectual delay and for self-advocates, i.e. persons with disabilities themselves leading their own advocacy. We hope that each continent has self-advocacy, which are heard during the discussions at the global level. So we train people with disabilities in different countries so that they will be heard at the local level, and then further. I think it's time we stop talking instead of people with disabilities, but rather that it pushes them to give the best of themselves, where this training organized in Mauritius.

-What role did your daughter Mia in the discussions on the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities?

-In the beginning, there was a self-advocate on the panel and six years later, they were six, including Mia. When they contacted me that Mia is involved, I was scared, I didn't myself the language of the United Nations, but finally everything went well. Today, with Inclusion at the international level, we work in particular on the role of the family, on the importance of inclusive education and the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community. These are issues that hold us dear.

-Can your daughter travel alone to attend conferences?

-No, this is not possible so far.

-Is there not a risk that persons with intellectual delay will be fooled by the language of politicians when they will make their plea?

-Actually, but if changes have taken place in several countries, it is because people like Mia spoke, their words are strong. But of course, self-advocates need support, resource persons, including lawyers. It's like when you buy a home, you will take the advice of an engineering of an Appraiser, a notary... In life, it is a right to media.

-All developmentally can become self-advocates?

-Yes, but this does not mean that all will necessarily be able to speak in front of the public, for example. We will work with them, but let's not make the decisions in their place. And everyone can participate in this decision, to the emergence of ideas, of tracks for the advocacy...

-What was the purpose of the workshop and will return in Mauritius?

-In three days, we laid the foundation of a synergy between 14 Inclusion Maurice member associations and especially the bases of a synergy between their beneficiaries. The leaders of the NGOs were accustomed to meet, to work together, but not those with disabilities of various associations.

The basis is that these persons with disabilities accept as they are and have confidence in their power to make a difference. Together, they will be able to shoot down mountains! We have already drawn strong ideas for Mauritian advocacy, including their desire to work, to be paid justly... implying that they need quality training. Learning, access to education, it is their cry of the heart! Advocacy, they must move forward on their side and if they need me, I'll be back. But first, they must move forward, because with regard to the funding, I will not return to the same workshop in Mauritius, would not correct!

-What are the dreams of the Mauritian self-advocates career?

-They aspire to become a masseur, Cook, musician, singer... I felt that there was in them much trouble to be illiterate and do not have further study to gain access to a profession that interests...

-Finally, what is the situation of persons with disabilities in the Lebanon?

-It is not good. We have problems with homes closed, who abuse people with disabilities. On the other hand, as the population in Mauritius is solidarity, there is this spirit of "large family", which is that in the event of death of the parents, most persons with disabilities find a roof for a loved one who will take over from the parents.

Canonical language : French
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