Myanmar and Thai Self-Advocates Active in BRIDGE training in Bangkok, Thailand

Inclusive CRPD IDA Training

From 29 September to 7 October 2015, the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) organized the BRIDGE training on the CRPD for Southeast Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.   Participants were from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia as well as from China, India and Pakistan. Nagase Osamu, Asia Pacific Regional Representative of Inclusion International, served as one of co-facilitators and made a presentation on education.

Inclusion International, as a member of IDA, nominated 4 women with intellectual disabilities to this training. The four are Ms. Payanart Sukjaroen and Ms. Phacharin Sujaritwatanasak, self-advocates of Daoru Ang group from Thailand, and Ms. Saw Myintzu and Ms. The Sue Moe, self-advocates of Future Star group from Myanmar. They took part in the training through interpretation into national languages of Myanmar and Thailand.

The first self-advocacy group in Thailand, Dao Ruang was born in 2009, strongly supported by the Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) with Inclusion International and Inclusion Japan as partners. In 2010, the first-self advocacy group in Myanmar, Future Star (originally named Unity) was born, supported by APCD and by self-advocates from Japan and Thailand (*).

Participants with intellectual disabilities from these two groups contributed much to the training while they learnt a lot by working with people with diverse disabilities, including those with physical and psyochosocial disabilities as well as those who were deaf and blind. This training broke a new ground by including persons with intellectual disabilities in the CRPD training. For many participants, this was the first experience to work with people with intellectual disabilities.

One of the highlights of the training was when asked if they were too tired, self-advocates responded that

“We are tired but we want to learn more by taking part and sharing with others”

as well as when they felt secure and confident enough to share their personal feelings with other participants.

The second module of the BRIDGE  Southeast Asia training will take place in Bangkok in March 2016.