My name is Mark Mapemba, I am from Malawi - Central Africa and I am here representing the International Disability Alliance, a network of 14 organisations of persons with disabilities. I am also a member of a local DPO in Malawi, and a Member of Inclusion Africa and Inclusion International.
I am here speaking to you as an Intellectual disability Self Advocate. I believe that Self advocacy is important because we communicate with our communities, and indeed the world. We communicate our needs and wants, without involving third parties. We believe this brings more impact to our listeners as they get the information first hand. Self Advocacy alone works, but if it is combined with DPOs, it brings more impact. DPOs are doing excellent work, without them people with disabilities would not be able to represent themselves.
This leads me to the most important subject. The INCLUSION OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN SOCIETY. It is now proven that the Inclusion of persons with disabilities in society provides equal opportunities and brings about acceptance and confidence to persons with disabilities. DISABILITY IS NOT INABILITY!
This also means passing laws that fully include us and that do not marginalise us because of our disabilities. We need education for all. Our inclusion in society is the first step to addressing poverty. Include DPOs in all stages of planning, developing and carrying out policies and programmes is the only way to ensure inclusion.
So I would like to ask a question: why do we not have a DPO panelist today for this important discussion? And how do we work together in the future to make sure DPOs are included in all discussions and decision-making processes that impact our lives? This is the heart of CRPD ARTICLE 4.3. We want a seat at the table!
NOTHING ABOUT US, WITHOUT US! God Bless you all. Thank you.