RI August 2012 Newsletter

August 31, 2012

For RI EC, RIF AND RI Members
Dates & venues for the upcoming RI meetings .................................. 3
Upcoming Meetings and Events ......................................................... 3
CRPD Ratification Update ................................................................... 4
Membership News ............................................................................. 6
Other News ........................................................................................ 8
Resource Update .............................................................................. 10
Resource Material ............................................................................ 11
Inspiration ....................................................................................... 12

Dates & venues for the upcoming RI meetings

09/24/2012 – 09/27/2012
RI Arab Region
Conference (for further
information please see
Doha, Qatar

10/27/2012 (whole day) RI-Executive Committee
Incheon, South Korea

10/28/2012 (morning) EC Meeting Incheon, South Korea

10/28/2012 (afternoon) Commission Meetings Incheon, South Korea

10/29/2012 (whole day)
General Assembly
RI’s 90th Anniversary
Incheon, South Korea

10/30/2012-11/02/2012 22nd RI World Congress Incheon, South Korea

For more information please visit the Congress website

Upcoming Meetings and Events

2012, September 12 – 14 Fifth session of the Conference of
States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA
. The
theme of the fifth session is “Making the CRPD count for Women and
Children”. The following are the sub-themes of the Conference:
“Technology and Accessibility”, “Children with Disabilities” and
“Women with Disabilities”. For detailed information please visit:

2012, September 24 – 27 RI - Arab Region’s 5th International
Conference themed "Together for a better life for all... Including
Persons with Disabilities in Development" in Doha, Qatar
. The
conference is under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikha Hissa Bint Hamad Bin
Khalifah Al Thani, President of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. For
more information please contact: nrdc@destination.com.lb or call Tel:
(+961) 3 206633

2012, October 21 – 24 International Foster Care Organization
Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The IFCO2012SOFIA conference is for
everybody involved in the development of quality foster care. For further
information please go to: http://ifco-sofia2012.com/

2012, October 30 – 31 3rd Arts Activated Conference in Sydney,
Arts Activated brings together national and international
leaders, artists and arts workers with and without disability,
presenting to the broader Arts & Disability sector Australiawide.
For further information please visit: http://www.aarts.net.au/artsactivated-2012/

2012, November 23 – 25 First South East Asia Conference on
Accessible Tourism (SECAT 2012) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
theme is “Accessible Tourism Promotes Regional Development”. It is an
event that would result in proactive and concrete action in promoting
Accessible Tourism, and the establishment of an Accessible Tourism Network
in South-East Asia. Mr. Joseph Kwan is representing RI’s International
Commission on Technology and Accessibility at this event. He is one of
the speakers and advisor of the organizing committee of the conference. For
more information please visit: http://www.seacat.beautifulgate.org

CRPD Ratification Update

Latest Developments
• Ghana ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol on
31 July2012
• Liberia ratified the Convention on 26 July 2012
• Benin ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol on
5 July2012

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
153 signatories
119 ratifications

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with
90 signatories
72 ratifications

For more Information please visit following website:

The 3rd Session of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing
was held in New York from 21st-23rd August where violence and abuse
against Older People
was extensively discussed. Panelists covered the
broad range of violence against older people and underscored the
fragmentation of international law that might apply to some situations.
Examples of violence included situations in the home and long-term care, as
well as in public streets and from communities. Cases of rape, theft, murder,
beatings, maiming and neglect were offered. Cited as other examples of
abuse are experimentation and medical treatment without consent, forcing
older people to leave their own homes, discrimination and financial issues
such as coercion and undue influencing. In the dialogue, many member
states see this as an immediate problem, with the need for urgent action.
States have a positive obligation to protect their citizens, but without clearer
standards, they cannot meet this obligation. RI Secretary General, Venus
, attended the meeting.

A European Commission policy paper has encouraged European
Union member states to work harder at helping disabled students to
gain university placements and good degrees
, with data showing that
their life chances improve considerably with higher education. The report,
Education and Disability/Special Needs – Policies and practices in
education, training and employment for students with disabilities and
special educational needs in the EU,
was compiled by a France-based
network of experts in the social sciences of education and training, NESSE. It
emphasized on UK data which show that 75% of disabled adult men with
degrees were in work, while 38% of those without any qualifications were
employed and 62% of qualified school-dropouts had jobs. By contrast, the
figures for able-bodied adult males were 93%, 85% and 91% respectively.
The report concluded that “disabled people with low or no
qualifications are less likely to be in employment than disabled
people with higher level qualifications…[and] disabled people with
low or no qualifications are also disadvantaged compared with nondisabled
people with low or no qualifications”. As a result, the paper
says the European Commission should encourage EU countries to be more
proactive in ensuring disabled people succeed in higher education and
“receive the necessary support to gain educational qualifications, since this is
likely to improve their labor market position”. To read the full report please
go to: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/761&

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is marking this year's
Day of the African Child with a call to families, communities and
governments in the continent to protect children with disabilities from
discrimination, violence and neglect. The agency also stressed the need to
provide these children with access to all the services they need to grow up
healthy and live up to their potential. The theme for this year's observance is
“The rights of children with disabilities: The duty to protect, respect,
promote and fulfill.”
According to UNICEF, data suggests that between 5
and 10 per cent of all children in Africa grow up with disabilities
. The
main causes of disability include genetic disorders, complications during
birth, diseases such as measles and meningitis, inadequate prenatal and
neonatal health care services and inadequate diet leading to stunting. So far,
25 out of 55 African countries have not yet ratified the Convention on
the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
To read the full report please go

Membership News

– We’d love to hear from you…

Please share with us project summaries/reports, articles and announcements
on events which your organization is planning to hold or has conducted, and
other information which you may want to share with colleagues in the RI
network, our partners and to the rest of the world. Send these to us at this
email address: newsletter@riglobal.org and we will make sure that these
get included in future issues of the RI Newsletter.

Important message from the RI Secretariat

Dear RI members,
All the information about your organizations is now updated on our
website http://www.riglobal.org in the membership section. Please go
to the website and check, if the posted information is still correct. If
you want any changes made, now or in the future, please contact me
at the Secretariat at iris@riglobal.org. Only if the information is always
up to date we can make sure to provide you with all the important
news. Thank you for your cooperation.

Iris Reiss, RI Rehabilitation Expert

Report of RI Europe Activities

RI Europe keeps close partnership with various stakeholders in
on the European level. The “European Society of Physical
and Rehabilitation Medicine” (ESPRM)
is among those organizations,
whose members meet every two years for a European Congress. The 2012
congress in Thessaloniki (Greece) in May offered a joint-session of RI /
ESPRM and provided a discussion of future perspectives in rehabilitation in
Europe and collaboration among ESPRM and RI Europe. Jan Monsbakken
(President Elect of RI) and Dr. Friedrich Mehrhoff (Vice-Chair, Work and
Employment Commission) attended the session. The RI member in Greece
, represented by Dr. Christalena Kattami, and Friedrich Mehrhoff
gave lectures and promoted the profile of RI as a unique multi-stakeholder,
inter-disciplinary and cross-objective federation in rehabilitation. They
underscored the importance of collaboration on a political level to strengthen
rehabilitation in accordance with Art. 26 of the UNCRPD and collaboration on
several other issues resulting from the implementation of the
recommendations of the World Report on Disability – a joint collaboration of
WHO/World Bank that was launched in 2011. The cooperation among RI
Europe/ESPRM corresponds to the same partnership between RI global and
ISPRM (the international organization of physicians in rehabilitation) both
based on a written “memorandum of understanding”. The congresses of both
organizations is being planned and promoted in close relationship. ISPRM in
Berlin 2015 and RI World Congress in 2016 are hopefully among the success
stories on the advantages of collaboration to maximize use of limited
resources in a changing world to better serve each of the organizations’
members in the coming years.

China will strengthen vocational training for its disabled
population and help them find jobs through a variety of rehabilitation
The announcement issued by RI member organization China
Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF)
and two ministries, requires
relevant government agencies to subsidize training programs and offer
free information and employment services for the disabled
. Local
administrators are urged to formulate mid- and long-term plans as well as
annual training plans for the disabled, based on local economic
developments. Official statistics show that China has 85 million people with
some form of disability. A government action plan released in June 2012
stated that China will help 13 million disabled people receive rehabilitation
services through the implementation of key rehabilitation programs. The
National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015), published by the
State Council Information Office, pledges efforts to help the disabled,
improve relevant social security and services and protect their rights and
interests. The action plan assures that the state will stabilize and expand
employment for the disabled by providing employment services and
vocational training for those who seek employment, with the goal of creating
800,000 new jobs for the disabled by 2015. Over the past five years, China
has created jobs for about 1.8 million disabled urbanites and ensured the
livelihoods of over 6.1 million rural impoverished people with disabilities,
according to CDPF Vice Chairman Wang Xinxian.

Other News


  • The US government has joined Merck for Mothers, Every Mother

Counts, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a
new initiative to reduce maternal mortality. The announcement took place
at a global health conference on Friday, 1 June sponsored by the
Norwegian government, entitled "A World in Transition: Charting a New
Path in Global Health
." US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
announced the US government would commit $75 million to the "Saving
Mothers, Giving Life" partnership.  Norway pledged another roughly $80 million to the initiative. In her keynote speech, Secretary Clinton underscored the need to look to maternal health as a barometer for measuring the strength of healthcare systems around the world. "When a woman in labor experiences complications, it takes a strong system to keep her alive," she said. "It not only takes skilled doctors, midwives, and nurses, it takes reliable transportation, well-equipped clinics and hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Where these elements are in place, more often than not women will survive childbirth. When they aren't, more often than not they die or suffer life-changing, traumatic injuries." Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre, hosted the conference where Mrs. Clinton was keynote speaker. There was also a panel discussion over various aspects of sustainability with Tamar Manuelyan Atinc, Vice President, World Bank; Haja Zainab Bangura, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Sierra Leone and Professor K. Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India.
To read the transcript of the US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's
keynote speech please go to:


  • When a farmer or rancher is injured on the job, there's an 11

percent chance that an amputation will occur. That's two and a half
times more likely than in any other industry. Most of these amputations
involve fingers or toes. But the artificial hands, arms, legs, feet and
other prostheses used by agricultural workers with a major limb
amputation don't seem to be durable, affordable or adaptable enough
for their lifestyles
, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.
Published online in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive
Technology, this is the first study to provide detailed information on the
limitations facing farmers and ranchers with prosthetics. Results of this
ongoing research could benefit people with amputations who work in other
physically demanding professions such as the military, construction, forestry,
commercial fishing, mining and manufacturing.

The study found that the common problems farmers and ranchers face
revolve around these themes:

Durability: Lack of durability and utility was the major theme
identified by this study.
Safety: Farmers reported many falls and secondary injuries due to
use of their prosthesis.
Environment: Weather, dirt and rough terrain can be tough on
prostheses, leading them to break more easily.
Adaptation: Many farmers said they chose to use prosthesis as an
adaption to address the challenges of farming after an amputation.
But, modern-day prosthesis is not a complete replacement for an
intact limb.
Cost: Prostheses are expensive, and farmers and the prosthetics who
work with them reported that medical insurance coverage for the
devices is often inadequate.
Education: Prosthetics are not typically trained on the needs and
lifestyles of farmers and ranchers and may prescribe inappropriate
prosthese choices.

To read the complete studies please go to:


  • A team of University of California, Berkeley, scientists in

collaboration with researchers at the University of Munich and
University of Washington, in Seattle, has discovered a chemical that
temporarily restores some vision to blind mice, and is working on
an improved compound that may someday allow people with
degenerative blindness to see again.
The approach could
eventually help those with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that
is most commonly inherited form of blindness, as well as age-related
mascular degeneration, the most common cause of acquired blindness
in the developed world. For further information please visit:


Resource Update

International Foster Care Organization (IFCO) is seeking to recruit a suitably qualified and experienced individual to assume the position of Development Director. The Development Director will manage IFCO’s operations going forward and work with IFCO’s Board of Trustees to establish an operational unit to provide administrative support. The post will be part-time (3 days per week - negotiable) for the first year at least. Closing date for applications: 3rd September 2012. For further information about this opportunity, please see: http://www.ifco.info/node/1053

Hague Conference’s Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Program seeks a Consultant to support Haiti’s Implementation of Hague Convention. The consultancy, to begin in autumn 2012, will provide support to the Institut Du Bien-Etre Social et de Recherches (IBERS) with the Reform of the International Adoption System in Haiti. The consultant will work under the daily supervision of the General Director of IBESR and general direction and responsibility of the Permanent Bureau. He/She will promote a coordinated approach in his/her work with management and staff of IBESR, as well as with the partners of IBESR and the Permanent Bureau (e.g. UNICEF and relevant international NGOs). The Consultant will also be responsible for consulting with both the Central Authorities of States of origin and receiving States interested in supporting the improvement of the Haitian intercountry adoption system. For further information please go to:

Handicap International is recruiting a Technical Coordinator for Beijing, China. Handicap International has been working in China for more than 14 years. The objective is to improve the socio-economic inclusion of people with disabilities, especially in rural areas, through pilot projects run in close cooperation with governmental partners, civil society and associations of people with disabilities. Deadline for applications is September 2nd 2012. For further information please
visit: www.handicap-international.be.


Resource Material

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) released its "Framework for the Law as it Affects Older Adults". The Framework enables policy-makers, legislators, courts, advocates, community organizations and others to understand and evaluate the effects of law, policies and practices on older adults, and provides a foundation for law reform efforts in the area. The Framework and Final Report are available online and are recommended reading for those working with, and developing policy and programs for older people not only in Canada but across the globe. You can access both reports by clicking: http://www.lco-cdo.org/older-adults-finalreport.pdf

"The Human Rights Approach to Social Protection", written by Magdalena Sepúlveda (UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights) and Carly Nyst, published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland is a new publication designed to fill a vacuum in the global literature on social protection.

The book is divided into three main sections:

  • An analysis of the relationship between poverty, human rights and social protection
  • A framework for the human rights-based approach to social protection
  • Conclusion: the future of social protection

To download the free PDF please go to:

Kurzweil Educational Systems®, a division of Cambium Learning Technologies, announced on July 9 the release of the Kurzweil 3000® – firefly app for the iPad. The Kurzweil 3000 - firefly iPad app provides mobile access to digital content and powerful literacy tools to enable individuals with cognitive ability, but not the literacy skills, to achieve their academic and personal goals. Kurzweil 3000 is a text-to-speech based technology solution that enables struggling readers to learn at grade level. Research has shown the program to be particularly appropriate for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, those who require reading intervention, students struggling with reading comprehension, and English Language Learners (ELL). iPad app benefits for students and teachers:

  • Mobile access to instructional materials
  • Free to Kurzweil 3000 customers, the iPad app is simple to install and use
  • Modern and engaging user interface
  • Accessible to many students with physical disabilities

The firefly iPad app is free and can be downloaded from the iTunes App
Store by searching the education category using “firefly Kurzweil”. To learn
more go to www.kurzweiledu.com/fireflyapp.

The Sponge Project is a new SMS (text) information service for
disabled people in South Africa.
If you need rehabilitation or other
disability services or need to find out what is available in your area, SMS
(text) your name, town, disability and the info you need to 072-172 2623.
The service is free to the community and response can be had within 12
or less. For further information please go to:

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Department of Defense's
National Center for Telehealth and Technology has developed a free
smartphone app
to help people with PTSD better manage their symptoms.
The app is called the PTSD Coach and is currently available for download
from iTunes and Android Market.


“You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are abled by the abilities you have” - Oscar Pistorius.

The 2012 London Olympic Games has been a banner year for athletes with disabilities. The 26-year old South African double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is one of them. He is known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs" and was the first double-amputee to run an Olympic race. Oscar Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs and when he was 11 months old his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. Nevertheless he played rugby, water polo and tennis. After a serious rugby knee injury in June 2003, he was introduced to running in January 2004 and became a Paralympics legend running with J-shaped carbon-fibre prosthetics called the "Cheetah Flex-Foot". He won the 100, 200 and 400m in both 2004 and 2008 and now he is an Olympian, too. Oscar Pistorius was named to the South African Olympic team on July 4th 2012 for the 400 meters and the 4 × 400 meters relay races, the culmination of a mission that goes back at least to 2008. Track and field’s international governing body, the IAAF, barred him from running against able-bodied competition early that year, presenting research by a 10-man team of scientists which argued that his light-weight prostheses actually gave him a competitive advantage. The decision was overturned in May 2008 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that there was no credible evidence to indicate Oscar Pistorius benefited from the blades that are his lower legs and feet. The idea that a man who is a double amputee has a leg up on the competition seems ridiculous. Even if his blades are lighter and require less
energy to move once he hits full speed, what about the fact that he doesn’t
have the same feel for the track, that his blades require supreme balance,
that he has to stand up faster than other runners for stability reasons and is
more subject to wind resistance? And what about his comparatively slow
starts, the result of not being able push off with his blades the way he could
with regular feet? In the 400 meters race at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he
took second place in the first heat of five runners, finishing with a time of
45.44 seconds (his best time of the season so far) to advance to the semifinals
He ran in the second semi-final, where he finished eighth with a time of
46.54 seconds. In the first semifinal of the 4 × 400 meters relay race on 9
August, the second runner of the South African team, Ofentse Mogawane, fell
and withdrew before reaching Oscar Pistorius, who was to have run the third
leg. South Africa was passed into the final on appeal to the IAAF, due to
interference from the Kenyan athlete who downed Mogawane. The South
African relay team eventually finished eighth out of a field of nine in the final
on 10 August. However, it established a season's best time for the team of
3 minutes 3.46 seconds, with Oscar Pistorius running the final leg in
45.9 seconds. Though he failed to get any medal, he inspired competitors
and fans. He was chosen to carry the South African flag in the closing
ceremony on August 12 and will feature prominently in the upcoming
Paralympics. He is the hero of the 2012 London Olympic Games for so many
and a great role model for the whole world.

We hope you enjoyed reading this issue of the RI Monthly Newsletter. Tell us
about your activities and other stories so we can share it with RI members
and the world.

Anne Hawker, RI President

Venus Ilagan, Secretary General

Thank you for supporting RI Global and let’s make change happen together