Include Me TOO are a UK-based charity that has supported the inclusion, rights and empowerment of young people with disabilities and their families for over a decade, increasing young people with disabilities’ support networks and being recognised for the value they bring through their lived experiences as experts and changemakers
During the Commonwealth Week at the Place of Westminster the Global Disability Summit Children and Young People’s Report, and the Global Disability Children & Young People’s Charter were launched in partnership with International Disability Alliance, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Leonard Cheshire.
Ana Arellano Chairperson of International Disability Alliance provided the keynote speech, followed by key messages shared from the report and the charter presented by Include Me TOO Youth Ambassadors Suleman Arshad, Joesph Migila, Sarah Mwikali, Honey Jones, Paul Ntulila, Devika Malik, Jack Milne and Jonathan Andrews. Regina Mwangi a young person representing Leonard Cheshire also presented on the 2030 and counting as a citizen reporter.
Michael Horner from the Department for International Development, Layne Robinson, Commonwealth Secretariat and Helen Jones, Royal Commonwealth Society, Chris Merit, World Merit were also amongst the speakers.
The report shares the contributions that were made by children and young people with disabilities representing *23 countries of which 20 countries are Commonwealth members during the Global Disability Summit which took place in July 2018.
“I was proud to host the launch of Include ME TOO’s Global Disability Summit Children and Young People Programme Report in Parliament,” said Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Select Committee. “It is a fantastic piece of work which the International Development Committee will be considering in detail as part of our inquiry into DFID’s work on disability.
People with disabilities have been left behind for too long. If we are to meet the Global Goals it is crucial that we give voice to and empower young people with disabilities. That is why the work of Include Me TOO is so important in providing a platform for young people with disabilities from around the world to share their aspirations but also the challenges they experience in respect to their inclusion.”
There are 93 million children with disabilities who are least likely to have their voices heard and most likely left behind. The report shares their authentic voices on many issues including: ending stigma and taboos associated with disabilities; inclusive education; opportunities and choices for economic empowerment; safeguarding and ending all forms of abuse and harmful practices; gender equality and how they wish to be included and represented.
Children and young people also shared the commitments they would wish to see in a charter to support their rights, inclusion, independence, equality, dignity and dreams.
The Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter has 12 commitments which underpins the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, United Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Sustainable Development Goals.