By Elena Dal Bó, Inclusion International’s Regional Representative of the Americas The Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean
During two and a half days 10 self-advocates from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico shared and learnt about self-advocacy from Empower Us Action Team members, Luis Gabriel Villareal and Jaime Cruz Juscamaita. Ailis Hardy, Inclusion International’s Self-Advocacy Coordinator, coordinated the event.
CONFE Director, Taide Buenfil, opened the event with Elena Dal Bó and Luis Gabriel Villareal.
On September 5th the discussions focused on what self-advocacy is in practice, what good support really means, and what defines citizenship.
On September 6th activities looked at what our rights are and what advocacy looks like in action.
On the second evening the group enjoyed a tour of the historic center of the city, and a traditional meal in a downtown restaurant.
On September 7th, we explored how to build an effective network to expand and optimize self-advocacy in the Americas.
Javier Quijano Orvañanos, CONFE President, closed the event.
By the end of the third day, commitments were made and responsibilities assigned to start moving forward with the development of a network of self-advocates in Latin America, conscious of the goals, efforts and challenges of the task.
During the three days participants were enthusiastic and involved in discussions.
My own perception is that this event was highly effective, trainers really managed to get people involved, everybody spoke with their own voices and support people learned more about good support.
Finally, everybody expressed an understanding that the only way to advocate effectively was to work as a global network of self-advocates and families sharing challenges and strategies all around the Americas.