Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rights, rights, rights

Martina Ming

My first week of my internship has been a wonderful experience already.  Let's begin with my journey getting to work.  Each day, I leave my apt at South Hall and wheel up 21street (and when I say up, I literally mean up), get onto 20th eventually and head approximately 20 blocks to my internship.  The wheel takes about 40 minutes each day.  Who knew that a summer internship could be such a good work out? My arms are becoming beauties already...

This week, I was warmly greeted by staff members at Disability Rights International.  Each person was so willing to come talk to me, answer my questions, and show me the ropes.  I was given many materials to become even more familiar with the organization's mission and past works.  From reading the articles and book as well as watching the videos, I have learned so much already about universal mistreatment, or rather abuses, of disabled individuals around the world, especially within institutions.  I didn't realize the abuses people with disabilities in other countries have to live with such as being strapped down for hours and even months because of self-destructive behaviors, tied to a crib and left in darkness and silence, forced to endure aversive shock treatment, hosed down in groups of both genders, etc.  They are stripped of their dignity and denied their basic human rights.  It's such a tragedy.  All the articles I've read and videos I've seen are horrific.  You can check out some of them here.  This organization works through the UN and usage of media to pressure governments into shutting down institutions, and providing community based programs to integrate people with disabilities (mental and physical) into society. They have also helped in drafting laws in our country and international countries to defend the right of those with disabilities.

I'll be researching documents pertaining to current rights of women and girls with disabilities in specific countries.  Right now, I am finishing up a project to research available grants to fund this particular project.  It's been such a new experience for me to read through donor websites and focus on what their objects are, to see if they would match our organization's mission.  There are so many wonderful organizations out there that defend human rights, especially women rights.  I was so touched by the stories I read by those who have suffered through traumatic experiences, have overcome the challenges, and are now working to inspire others and prevent those same mistreatment from happening to others.  There are many great works out there and I hope that they and I succeed in creating environments in which the equality of women is a normalcy in society.  This will be a crucial milestone for the world.


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