The Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University has been selected to participate in a U.S. Department of State sponsored Professional Fellows EMPOWER Program, administered by Mobility International USA.
The exchange program aims to expand the capacity of organizations in the United States and abroad to promote inclusive communities and advance the rights of persons with disabilities around the world.
DDI will send a representative from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5, 2013, to Tajikistan to participate in a preliminary exchange visit to build the foundation for a collaborative project.
In October, DDI will host representatives from two Tajikistan-based organizations to address disability law and policy advocacy and access to services for persons with autism and other disabilities. These organizations include IRODA, which is an organization that promotes disability rights and equality through the raising of awareness about the needs of children with disabilities; and Equal Opportunities which is a non-governmental organization that protects the rights and interests of vulnerable populations and groups.
Participants will work alongside American counterparts and gain first-hand experience as to how issues in their field are addressed in the United States. The participants will also build an understanding of American culture through site visits and community-based events.
To conclude the U.S. program, participants will gather in Washington, D.C., to take part in a closing conference with all Empower Partnership participants.
Jerry Wolffe is the advocate at large/writer in residence at Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at (586) 263-8950.