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U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program Visits ECNV

U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program Visits ECNV
by: Alexa Mavroidis
 

     On June 13th, a group of disability rights leaders from various African countries visited ECNV through a U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) project.  They came to ECNV to learn about the history of the Independent Living movement and to bring ideas back to their countries about how best to advocate for and provide support to people with disabilities.
     ECNV welcomed our visitors and gave them a presentation about the history of our Center and of the Independent Living movement in the US as a whole. We also informed them about how our organization is structured and how it is functioned and funded. Our visitors informed us about some of the concerns they have about the rights of people with disabilities in their own countries and about some of the projects their groups engage in to provide resources or to help people with disabilities find things like accessible housing or employment.
      As a member of ECNV’s staff myself, I feel deeply honored that we are able to welcome visitors from other countries and very lucky to be able to offer them thoughts and ideas from both the history of the Independent Living movement and the way I as an ECNV peer mentor assist consumers today. I talked particularly about some of ECNV’s work to assist people living in settings like nursing homes to transition back into the community, and the challenges many face in doing this. ECNV has been very fortunate over the years to partner with local jurisdictions to provide rental assistance and housing information to consumers in some of the jurisdictions we serve.
     I hope very much that this exchange of ideas helps disability organizations and individuals with disabilities around the world. I am deeply grateful to the State Department for projects like this that enable us to share our expertise and ideas with disability rights advocates from around the world.