Hisayo trained Abilis Foundation staffs on Human Rights-Based Approach to Disability and Development with Rea Konttinen

Today, I had the privilege to hold a two-hour-training session on Human Rights-Based Approach to Disability and Development. Abilis Foundation (www.abilis.fi) was established in 1998 as an organization of persons with disabilities specializing in funding activities of persons with disabilities in the global South. During 2011, the Foundation had 260 on-going projects on average that were run by organisations and groups of persons with disabilities, most of them on the grassroots. Since the establishment, the Foundation has applied human rights-based approach to development and prepared its policy document on human rights-based approach. As this document is based greatly on my forthcoming book findings, namely empirical theory on human rights-based approach to disability and international cooperation, I was invited to co-organise this training session with Rea. As all the staffs have accumulated great knowledge and expertise on disability in the global South through their daily activities, the training was enriched by their own experiences and thoughts around them when they presented their opinions. All participants deepened discussions with their own examples, which was the best part of the training. When we had a group exercise to plan a human rights-based project to be funded by the Foundation, one staff raised an interesting insight. When all are too well-prepared based on human rights, then people would become passive, too. This is a very interesting opinion. When there are rooms of improvement in terms of inequality, then persons with disabilities have to become active in transforming the reality. The analogy could be applied in the global North, when welfare state of Finland takes into account fundamental human rights of persons with disabilities, for instance, disability movement becomes weaker, perhaps. The point is, that the passivity itself is not an evil. When one decides to remain passive with her/his own choice, that is totally different from the passiveness due to disabling environments and/or low capacity of the person. The same goes to participation: non-participation with one’s own choice is not the same as non-participation in the form of exclusion. The self-determination concept, however, is quite tricky. If you would like to go deeper into this discussion, please read my forthcoming book, “Disabilities, Human Rights and International Cooperation: Human Rights-Based Approach and Lived Experiences of Ugandan Women with Disabilities” to be published next month by the Centre for Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities (www.vike.fi). Thank you, Abilis staffs, for this wonderful opportunity to learn from your valuable experiences! And Rea, you are super good trainer!