12 Jan No Assumptions, Please!
Anyone can be a disability advocate so let us all hold hands
Hello and Happy New Year!! Welcome back to the ‘No Assumptions, Please’ blog. In today’s post I shall be sharing with you some of my experiences from an advocacy course I recently did and some interesting information.
I never thought that I would be into advocacy until 2019, when through an Erasmus+ placement in London I worked in an inclusive theatre called Chickenshed where I volunteered for three weeks in the performances for children. The whole reason why I loved it there was because the theatre catered for everyone from different ethnic groups, skin colours and abilities.
I later joined the Level 2 Theatre group in Opening Doors and in one session we were told by our group leader to go home and write a reflection on the session and to bring it in for the next session. The following day I was at home so I picked up a pen, opened a note book and put the pen to paper and just began to write. I had no idea what I was going to write but I wrote it from the heart and I titled it ‘The Definition of Normal’ which you can see at: https://angelabettoni.net/sample-writing/ This is where I found that spark for advocacy. I posted this on Facebook on 21st March World Down’s Syndrome Day and I kind of decided that I wanted to do something more with that spark. In the same year I was invited to be a speaker on a panel for World International Disability Day and I also took part in the Opening Doors workshop, which you can see at: https://www.facebook.com/186965594674169/videos/428237164518154
I’m a member of the Children’s Consultative Group at the President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society. For the 2020 World Disability Day they asked us to take part in a video for raising awareness of different abilities, and me and two others volunteered to record a message: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=825675368254943 . I assumed that everyone would do it but in the end it resulted with only those of us who have a disability took part in it, as if we can only advocate for disability rights but in actual fact anyone can advocate for disabilities even if you have it or not.
This year I joined an online course in advocacy with an UK organisation called Include Me Too https://includemetoo.org.uk/ where I attended sessions in learning how to advocate for people with disabilities or how people with disabilities can become self-advocates. The other people who were there with me in these classes were from all over the world like England, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, Kenya and Australia . Each one of them had really remarkable stories which I really enjoyed and learnt a lot. We would speak about different kinds of advocacy there is and different kinds of platforms to use when it comes too advocating. At the end of January they will be hosting masterclasses where anyone can attend https://includemetoo.org.uk/ideas-programme-ccydn/ so feel free to join.
Here is the information I mentioned before that can be useful for advocacy:
Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter: https://includemetoo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2-page-A4-Global-Disability-Children-and-Young-Peoples-Charter.pdf
An easy-to-read version of this is also available at: https://includemetoo.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Easy-Read-Version-Global-Disability-Children-and-Young-Peoples-Charter.pdf
For World Down’s Syndrome Day, March 21, 2021 I’m trying to do a project where 10 young people, some with Down’s Syndrome and some without, will do an inclusive video for YouTube or Facebook where they all sing parts of a song I’ve chosen. I hope that I can find enough people who are interested !
Today’s take home message for you is to show that we are all in this together and not be afraid to show the world what we are made of.