Families Taking Action for Inclusion

Inclusion International was started by families. Families and people with intellectual disabilities are the heart of our movement. In June 2018 our members agreed to develop a family leadership programme that supports and strengthens advocacy for inclusion.

Families Taking Action for Inclusion

PURPOSE: to build global solidarity and connect a global movement for inclusion. We harness the strength of our global movement.

OUR ROLE: to strengthen a vibrant foundation for family leadership engagement around the world and to mobilize collectively for social change.

OUR AIM is to work in partnership with Inclusion International’s global network to:

  • unite families who share common values of inclusion and who want to secure an inclusive life which respects the human rights of our family members with an intellectual disability.
  • provide a forum that harnesses families’ collective wisdom and leadership to effect social change.

These efforts nurture:

  • Family leadership
  • Connections among families around the world
  • Knowledge of human rights, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,
  • Visions of what is possible for an inclusive life.
  • Mentorship and mutual support
  • Capacity of Inclusion International’s network to meet the needs of families

HOW WE DO IT: We will join forces with families around the world to inspire them in building pathways to inclusion that are reflective of and responsive to their goals and interests. This may include:

  • Platforms for families to share their story and hear other family stories. Story-telling is a powerful tool for showing inclusion and what is possible.
  • Web-based spaces for families to exchange their expertise and knowledge and share solutions.
  • Initiatives that help in building family leadership for inclusion
  • Opportunities for sharing resources, advocacy strategies and inclusive solutions.

Three Pillars of Inclusion International’s Global Family Movement for Inclusion

  1. Fosters solidarity:

  • Rooted in love
  • Bound by our common aspiration for a meaningful and inclusive life
  1. Strengthens the power of families to build inclusive lives:

  • A vision for an inclusive life
  • Committed to Human Rights
  • Families as Critical Thinkers
  1. Enables social change through collective leadership and action:

  • Systems change and breaking down barriers
  • Harness the power of families
  • Mobilize communities

Virtual Summit

On December 8, 2020, Inclusion International hosted a virtual Global Family Summit. The 2-hour Summit ran twice to cover multiple time zones and translation into Spanish and Arabic was provided. 200 participants from 40 countries registered to participate in the Summits.

The purpose of the Summit was to help strengthen our global family movement for inclusion and the goal was to:

  • Connect as a global movement of families
  • Excite and inspire each other about building inclusive lives
  • Learn from each other
  • Mobilize collectively for change

Summit participants had an opportunity to hear from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Professor Gerard Quinn. Special Rapporteur Quinn recognized families as a foundational stone to nurture and empower persons with disabilities to lead full lives of inclusion. He spoke of the influences that narrow or open the choices families have and the impact informal care roles have on families, mothers in particular. His comments validated the experiences of families and affirmed the valued role of families in securing human rights and advancing inclusion for their family member with intellectual disability.

Watch Prof. Quinn’s Presentation

Through small group discussion families identified the future they want for their family member with disability, the changes needed at a community/country level, and the support families need to take action for inclusion. Participants emphasized the importance for families having an opportunity to connect, network and share. Small group discussions highlighted that across countries and contexts there are a lot of similarities and priorities for families. However, it also highlighted that even within a country experiences can be different and that progress in the family movement has sometimes been a result of the particular skill (ie technology, policy, experience etc) from a particular family leader. Efforts are needed to ensure effective growth of the movement is not solely reliant on a few family leaders. Families reflected their keen desire to live typical lives and noted the pressure of always having to think into the future and be hyper vigilant in ways that other families do not.

Next Steps

The Summit was one part of our efforts to strengthen and build family leadership around the world.

Coming out of the Summit, Inclusion International has launched a Facebook group, www.facebook.com/groups/FTAFI, to create a space for families to connect, network and share.

Moving forward, Inclusion International will be building web-based platforms to facilitate opportunities for connecting, networking and sharing. Additionally, II will be exploring ways to support our members to understand and meet the needs of families. This may include workshops or training efforts. For more information contact families@nullinclusion-international.org.