Global Disability Summit, June 2019
This week, following its success in London last year, the second Global Disability Summit will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The summit seeks to strengthen the commitment of Latin America and the world to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities and guarantee their rights, freedoms and human dignity.
At last year’s summit, The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission committed £300,000 to support outreach activities and to encourage scholarships for people with disabilities and in subject areas related to the rights of people with disabilities. To fulfill its commitment, the CSC has undertaken a yearlong Disability Project comprised of a range of different activities.
The CSC looked at every stage Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows go through and tried to identify any areas a disabled scholar might require additional support. Starting with our recruitment practices, this year we have undertaken a full audit of the CSC website, application system and software packages to ensure they are fully accessible. This means that the website can be read easily by a screen reader with all images containing alt text. Partnered with Disabled Peoples Organisations, including Leonard Cheshire, the CSC is working towards increasing the number of applications received from disabled students or those who want to study disability related issues.
The CSC aims to have this work complete before the applications for 2020/2021 open in autumn.
The CSC want to ensure that all Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows are offered the right source of guidance and support. The CSC has recently reviewed all documentation that scholars come into contact with to make sure it encourages disclosure. A review has been carried out on how the CSC administers additional financial support for disabled students to ensure they have the right amount of money to cover any additional expense their condition may lead to.
The CSC website also has a page dedicated to student wellbeing which provides a diverse range of information and resources to help scholars and fellows prepare for their arrival to the UK, ensuring a smooth transition for them as well as getting the right support during their scholarship.
As part of CSC’s commitment to access and support, all CSC staff and Commission have undertaken a day of training around disability confidence. Facilitated by Disability Rights UK, the training has helped ensure issues related to disability is approached with confidence. The CSC has also developed a Disability Framework Document, paving the way for CSC Policy and work this year has a lasting impact on both our Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows as well as the organisation as a whole.
The CSC will like to show support to this year’s Global Disability Summit and look forward to seeing the incredible impact it will have across the Commonwealth.