On the 24th the first ever Global Disability Summit was held in London. It was hosted by the UK Department for International Development (UK DFID), along with the International Disability Alliance and the Government of Kenya. Find out more here: http://www.internationaldisabilityalliance.org/summit
Down Syndrome International (DSi) was invited to make a statement at the Summit about employment and work for people with Down syndrome. DSi asked for ideas from its Committee of National Representatives With Down Syndrome. The Committee is made up of people with Down syndrome from 27 countries. Then it combined all their answers together to make a statement.
The statement was then presented to and approved by over 70 people with Down syndrome from around the world at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow.
Here is the statement that was read by Emeric Jeanjean, a self-advocate with Down syndrome:
This is a statement from people with Down syndrome from around the world.
Getting a job can be hard if you have Down syndrome.
Often we are paid less and sometimes treated badly.
This needs to change.
We want you to know that we are ready to work.
We can do the same jobs as everyone else.
We work hard and should be treated the same as everyone else.
Having a chance to work and be treated equally is our right.
So what do we need?
We need a good education, just like everyone else.
We need training to get ready for work.
We need support to find the right job.
We need to be given a chance by employers.
We need to be treated right at work.
Let us help your business succeed.
Let us help our countries succeed.
Respect our human rights.
We just need an opportunity.
Sheri Brynard (South Africa)
“Work gives me a reason to get up in the morning, dress nicely and mean something. My days are never wasted”
Ashish Joshi (Nepal)
“You cannot discriminate people on the basis of their disability. If given the opportunity they can also prove themselves as any other.”
Eileen Dunne (Ireland)
“I have two jobs and work and get paid. I work in Tesco and at a hair salon. I want to be independent.”
Jaime Cruz Juscamaita (Peru)
“It is our right to have supports to get a good job. We have the right to be paid the same and not be segregated because of Down Syndrome.”
Shahadat Akbar Otonu (Bangladesh)
“I think we should be paid the same as everyone. Because, we can do the work perfectly like other if we have the same work.”
Favour Onyisi Jideonwor (Nigeria)
“Having my own money helps me live how I want.”
George Okudi (Uganda)
“The government should have a bigger part to play because it is the one which should encourage all companies or organisations to employ us.”
Andile Alexis Dube (Zimbabwe)
“I can work! I want equal pay.”