Over 800 delegates from around the world gathered in London on July 24, 2018, for The Global Disability Summit. Among them was Dr. Caroline Harper, the CEO of Sightsavers, an international charity whose mission is to prevent avoidable blindness and promote the rights of people with disabilities. As a Commander of the Order of The British Empire, Dr. Harper was suitably influential in bringing Sightsavers’ agenda to the table at the event. Before the summit, Sightsavers proclaimed, through its Put Us in the Picture campaign, that it is interested in commitments from all the attendees and that these be inclusive for the disabled. Also, the organization called for transparency and accountability moving forward from the participating entities to these commitments.
The world’s disabled population faces many challenges daily, such as fundamental human rights, opportunities for employment and education. While these challenges have existed for decades, progress toward implementing agreements made through the U. N’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has been sluggish. Confidence was expressed, however, through an open letter signed by 36 international development organizations from the UK, that the summit would meet its goals, which are addressing four key issues: focusing global actions toward dignity and respect for the disabled, inclusive education, economic empowerment, and technology plus innovation.
Our colleague Kate followed a surgical outreach team as they were tracking down and treating the final cases of blinding #trachoma in northern Ghana. In the photo is Fusi, ophthalmic nurse. LINK IN BIO: http://po.st/trachoma-final-days. 📷 Ruth McDowell. #sightsavers #sight #sightloss #vision #blindness #visionloss #beatNTDs #NoMoreNTDs #ghana #africa #westafrica #discoverportrait #portraitphotography #portraitpage #peopleinframe #smiling
The summit was by all accounts a resounding success, resulting in numerous pledges and commitments from worldwide governments and organizations, including legislative, financial and policy change initiatives occurring in the Global Disability Summit Charter for Change. This charter included over 170 individual commitments supported by over 300 signatories and pledges them to pursue equality for disabled individuals in their respective countries. This outcome is consistent with Sightsavers’ mission to advocate for inclusiveness for people with disabilities. Dr. Harper was pleased and remarked, “It’s fantastic to see the global development community coming together to recognize the importance of leaving no one behind in efforts to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals and improve the lives of people in the world’s poorest countries.” Tessa Murphy, Sightsavers’ manager for the Put Us in the Picture initiative, summed up eloquently, “Today, we are one large step closer to making a disability-inclusive world a reality.”