Leadership support for the next generation of disability rights activists.
Daniel is part of our ‘Young Leaders‘ programme to develop the leadership skills of young disability activists in the countries where we work. Here he shares some of his story.
“I realised that I had hearing loss at the age of 14. I didn’t know until one of my teachers realised my difficulties in responding to his questions in class. My life with a hearing impairment started with a lot of bullying and losing friends. My life was totally different from before.
In the place where I grew up, people didn’t use the word disability. They had a lot of negative and false beliefs about it. People didn’t understand that a disability can affect anyone at any time, just like an illness, yet it is treated very differently.
“As a hearing-impaired individual communication and people’s negative attitude are the main barriers, I face. My communication has improved through learning sign language, but the trouble is that not everyone knows sign language so the barrier to communication remains the most challenging one.
“I joined the Young Leaders programme with ADD Tanzania in 2021. My first training was about safeguarding – something which I had no idea of. It was the best feeling to learn something that means I can ensure my own and others’ safety during work time. I have also been involved in different activities within ADD and other organisations of people with disabilities such as capacity building, advocacy and lobbying, mapping data and engagements.
“My favourite part of the programme is working with other people with disabilities.
“Sharing experiences and learning on how they are making positive change through their organisations.
“Some of this work is really exciting. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about women and young people with disabilities. It has been challenging to take on tasks I have never done before, but the team is always available to provide support.
I am proud to be a part of the ADD International family. This work is very important because all of us belong to society, and we should give back to society to protect and build the present and next generation. It is a blessing seeing people with disabilities’ lives change because of what you have done.
“This work has changed the way I see my disability. I have come to understand that once a person with disability is valued and given a chance to show what they know and can learn, they can really make a difference to others who have been given up on just because they have a disability.
“This work has also changed how family and friends see and treat me.
“Gaining new knowledge has been the part I’ve loved the most. I have learnt so much, things powerful enough to fill a mind with all that a leader needs to know. I feel leadership blocks building inside me. I have been exposed to powerful knowledge, experience, observation and practice. We have done visits to other international organisations to learn how they implement their work and engage disabled youth and share our ideas.
“As a growing future leader, this programme gives me clear and strong experience in doing advocacy work, a chance to create connections with key decision makers and stakeholders.
“I would like to thank the people who fund this work, they have touched an important area of young people with disabilities who needed support to achieve. My future goal is to be a great advocate for people with disabilities, I am going to fight for us to have a good quality of life. As a disabled individual, I feel happiness and courage to take on this work.”
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