My name is Mark Mapemba. I am a self-advocate from Malawi. I work with Inclusion International as a project manager on a project all about helping people with intellectual disabilities become self-advocates.
Apegada from Angola is one of our members taking part in this project. To start developing self-advocate networks, we are training people with intellectual disabilities through our “Empower Us” programme.
Through Empower Us, we want to make sure self-advocates become strong and confident together. These groups can work together to make their voices heard.
While the self-advocates said Angola has many issues that need advocating, the training came at just the right time. They felt empowered to change many things in how they think and act to represent themselves.Mark Mapemba, Project Manager, Inclusion International
The training took place from September 12-14. The programme focuses on training self-advocates to advocate for themselves and others.
Overall, the training went well and the self-advocates looked forward to starting their advocacy work. Importantly, self-advocates facilitate the trainings to demonstrate advocacy firsthand.
After the training, I sat down and talked with some of the self-advocates. They were happy and ready to use what they learned.
While the self-advocates said Angola has many issues that need advocating, the training came at just the right time. They felt empowered to change many things in how they think and act to represent themselves.
In August, I also travelled to Zambia and saw a new self-advocate group form there with Friendly Barn Development Foundation. At both this workshop and the one in Zambia, we covered important topics:
- Making decisions and speaking up
- What self-advocacy means
- What advocacy means
- Human rights
- The United Nations
- Articles in the CRPD
- How to become an advocate
The self-advocates worked as a group and as individuals to learn all about these topics and how to apply them to their work.
I look forward to seeing the Angolan self-advocates become strong advocates for the Inclusion movement and I hope they help other self-advocates to learn.
I hope to see them working internationally with other self-advocates.