Disability & Accessibility
Children are the future of any nation. The Initiative works closely with communities, schools, local NGOs, and families to promote the rights of children with disabilities as equal members of society.
The Open Hands Initiative fosters educational exchange in the area of disability rights. We bring together youth self-advocates from the US and the developing world and invite them, their parents and educators to share their experiences and expertise together and jointly work to create cross-cultural strategies for promoting the rights of youth with disabilities.
Our first program, the "Youth Ability Summit," took place from August 1 to 3, 2010 in Damascus, Syria. The Summit was a groundbreaking endeavor, bringing together youth disability advocates from American and Syria. They worked together to create a comic book featuring the world's first cross-cultural superhero with disabilities in order to promote the empowerment and inclusion of people with disabilities. The comic book character is known as "The Silver Scorpion."
As part of these exchanges, we also worked with American and Syrian disability experts to produce a cross-cultural guidebook for implementing the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This crucial manual, "Ensuring Rights in Development," is now available to the public. The guidebook was authored jointly by Dr. Valerie Karr, Victor Pineda of the Victor Pineda Foundation, Chavia Ali, and Stephen Meyers.