I have just returned from the World Humanitarian Summit where I was representing AbleChildAfrica. I had the privilege to meet young disabled activists from all over the world, and hear their inspirational stories about what they were doing to progress the rights of persons with disabilities in their own countries as well as internationally. Ivan was an amazing campaigner from Russia who could not communicate verbally, and has, at only 16 years old, developed his own communication software which is open source and can be used on an iPad. Diego was a young disability rights activist from Washington D.C. and spoke at a disability side event about how problems concerning Person with Disabilities should be raised more in general and be made more mainstream. This is just a snapshot of the truly amazing group of people that I got to meet, which to me personally, was the highlight of the summit.
It was a great honour to meet Sarah Brown and Gordon Brown and discuss with them the work that AbleChildAfrica are doing. I was also able to represent Sarah Brown’s campaign A World at School as a Global Youth Ambassador, and help to advocate their new fund for education in emergencies called Education Cannot Wait that was being launched at the Summit. At a time when only 1.4% of humanitarian aid is spent on education, countries from around the world were urged to pledge money. It was also a great platform to raise the challenges that disabled children specifically face, and how more needs to done to collect the data and evidence around disabled children in crisis.
Another highlight was the Special Session on “Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action” which was opened by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, highlighting the significance the Charter for Inclusion of Persons with Disability in Humanitarian Action.
I agree with Bank Ki- Moon, in that we are at the beginning of the journey, but there is still much work to be done on including persons with disabilities, who still remain some of the most marginalised people in the world. I was fortunate enough to get to meet him at the beginning of the session, which was sweetened further when he repeated his remarks specifically about disabled people at the closing ceremony of the entire summit.
Anthony Ford-Shubrook, Youth Ambassador