A new regional network of self-advocacy groups in Mekong River region is now established. The network was formally established at the Workshop on Self-Advocates with Intellectual Disabilities in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, Bangkok, Thailand, 4 and 5 September.
The network includes, Rose from Cambodia, Talent from Lao PDR, Future Star (formerly Unity) from Myanmar, Dao-Ruang from Thailand, and My Future from Vietnam. The Mekong river flows through these five countries in Southeast Asia. There were about 100 participants including almost 50 self-advocates. The meeting decided to elect Cambodia as the chair of the network for the coming two years.
The meeting was organized by Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD). Inclusion Japan and Inclusion International have been a partner of APCD in developing self-advocacy movement in this region and was represented by Nagase Osamu (Regional Representative and council member of II, chair of international committee of Inclusion Japan), Narazaki Mayumi, Sodeyama Keiko and Mikako Noguchi. Inclusion Japan provided the meeting with accessibility cards, developed by Inclusion Europe.
Following this workshop, on 6 September, Mekong River Peer Preview Meeting on the User Friendly Draft Incheon Strategy was organized by UNESCAP and APCD, in order to have inputs from self-advocates, family members and support persons to the draft Incheon Strategy, which is the framework for the new Asian and PacificDecade of Persons with Disabilities. Nagase served as a facilitator and a consultant for ESCAP on the production of easy-to-understand Incheon Strategy.