Berkeley, CA, USA–The World Institute on Disability (WID) is proud to partner with IREX and UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy in welcoming this year’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela fellows! In the past, we have hosted Mandela fellows from Liberia, Kenya, the Gambia, Uganda, and Ethiopia, and this year we are excited to host two new fellows from Nigeria and Zimbabwe. It is WID’s mission to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security, and health care for persons with disabilities in communities and nations worldwide; one of the ways we work toward this goal is by hosting international fellows with disabilities, as well as fellows who are interested in disability advocacy. Our fellows have the opportunity to learn how we promote accessibility and inclusion in the U.S., while WID is able to increase our international understanding of disability.In general, our previous fellows have been interested in entrepreneurial and advocacy efforts surrounding disability and have founded, co-founded, and contributed to important organizations like African Youth with Disabilities Network (AYDN), Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI), Positive Exposure, and Start Now. Additionally, the work they have done falls all over the disability spectrum, including advocacy for people with visual, neurological, and mobility disabilities. Temitope, one of our current fellows from Nigeria, is supervising a skill-acquisition program for children with disabilities, and he is hoping to make strides towards policy reform that will make a positive and much-needed impact. Feri, our fellow from Zimbabwe, tutors young women in her community and hopes to learn more about disability advocacy in order to make vocational training more inclusive of people with disabilities.
The immense value of the YALI program perhaps lies in mutual edification. While our fellows come here to increase their skill sets, they bring with them an invaluable international perspective which allows us at WID to make our work comprehensive. Because of this, we encourage you to attend the presentations Feri and Temitope will give on the work they are doing in their countries. The presentation will be held on Wednesday, July 13 in the Ed Roberts Campus in Osher B. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. Please, feel free to ask questions and share any information you may have that you believe may be useful to our fellows. We look forward to seeing you there!
Where: Ed Roberts Campus (3075 Adeline Street), Osher B room When: July 13, 2016 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm RSVP (appreciated but not required): Charity Peets at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-225-6400
In the spirit of Ed Roberts and our other founders, WID engages internationally with people who have disabilities to exchange best practices and support each other in advancing disability rights world-wide.
WID has had the incredible honor of working with some of the world’s most innovative young leaders in the disability rights arena. Over the years, we have accepted fellows from both the the Young African Leadership Initiative (specifically, the Mandela Washington Fellowship Civic Leadership Institute) and the Community Solutions Program.
For many of these international fellows, this is their first time to the United States. We introduce them to disability-focused activities and services that brand new to them; we tour them around our beautiful, universally designed building and introduce them to other tenants who also focus on disability rights. From Goalball and adaptive cycling to hiking and site seeing, WID involves our fellows in all the Bay Area has to offer to ensure that our fellows’ limited time here is enjoyed to the fullest. It is a pleasure and delight to work with these young leaders.
Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI)
Beginning in 2014, WID has received some of Africa’s best and brightest through Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). Each summer, WID hosts a handful of young leaders as part of YALI’s flagship program, the Mandela Washington Fellowship Civic Leadership Institute, held at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
This program is designated to empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership, training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities and support for activities in their communities; WID strives to embody these six pillars and to give each of the fellows a unique and helpful experience. WID is proudly hosts the 1% of YALI fellows who have disabilities.
Check out this video of WID’s Director of Operations Kat Zigmont speaking about YALI at the 2015 WID Annual Report.
Community Solutions Program (CSP)
In 2016, WID also opened its doors to world-class fellows from the Community Solutions Program. This program focuses on professional development for global community leaders who work on transparency and accountability, tolerance and conflict resolution, environmental issues, and women and gender issues. Fellows chosen for this fellowship spend four months in America with a nonprofit organization or government agency. They also take online courses and design follow-up projects to implement when they return to their home countries.
Past International Fellow Bios
Robert Nkwangu Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandella Washington Senior Fellow Robert is a trained professional in Social Sector Planning and Management. He holds a master’s degree in this field and a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences.
He is a specialist in social development and socioeconomic empowerment and has worked with local and international organizations, focusing on children, youth, and people with disabilities, including Handicap International, Leonard Cheshire Disability International, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda, Uganda Society for Disabled Children, Uganda National Association of the Deaf, African Youth Panel, UNFPA, and the African Union.
He has traveled widely, presenting papers and advocating for an all-inclusive society. His passion is to ensure that people with disabilities are given equal opportunities at all levels in society.
As a WID Senior Fellow, Robert founded “The Capable Works Disability Initiative,” a social enterprise to economically empower people with disabilities and advocate for their socioeconomic rights.
Robert is Deaf and a sign language user but can lip read.
Alieu Jatieh Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellow Alieu has over 8 years of experience working with blind and partially sighted people in the Gambia. He is the founder of Start Now, an organization with the mission to train and empower blind and partially sighted high school graduates with computer skills as a preparation for higher education and employment. He also works as a teacher at the School for the Blind where he teaches keyboarding to blind children. Alieu holds a Higher Teacher’s Certificate from the Gambia College School of Education, specializing in General Science and Agriculture and Acquired Leadership Training on Project Management from Kanthari in India, as well as Blind Technique Skills from Louisiana Centre for the Blind (U.S.). Upon completion of the fellowship at WID, Alieu plans to expand his organization as a regional hub to empower blind adults on ICT and to campaign against societal prejudices and discrimination toward visually impaired people.
Mauot Anyang Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellow
Since 2011, Mauot Louis alier Anyang has been a disability rights advocate and secretary of education for the South Sudan Association of the Visually Impaired where he supervises a music-and-drama group known as Hidden Ability Melody. His role is to advocate and lobby for persons with disabilities, especially access to education for the blind. He also mentors students and initiates and supervises the implementation of policies and guidelines developed by the association. He is a co-founder of the South Sudan Union of Persons with Disabilities.
Mauot possesses skills in administration, legal issues, and the media, which he acquired as a third-year law student and through work experience. Upon returning from the Fellowship, he intends to use the skills he has acquired to reform his organization, to contribute to promoting education of the blind, and to establish a magazine, as well as student advocacy groups in secondary schools across South Sudan.
Roshan Samarawickrama is the Program Director of the charity ECSAT (Equality-based Community Support and Training) in Sri Lanka. In 2005, he joined the newly formed charity and has spearheaded its work to integrate people with disabilities and marginalized people into the community. His work is recognized locally where a lack of education and support from government agencies for people with disabilities is a deep-rooted cultural issue.
Roshan has a BA in Psychology and his other qualifications include counseling experience, an MA in Business Studies, a Diploma in Special Education, and he is currently enrolled in a MSSc. Sociology program. As a fellow at WID, he aims to learn as much as possible about the best practices in the USA for people with disabilities. He plans to take back and use these new ideas in practices at ECSAT.
Roshan is planning to enlist a dog on the ECSAT team.
Amrita Gyawali Community Solutions Program (CSP) Fellow Amrita is a disability rights advocate, endeavoring for a change in Nepal. She has more than five years of experience working on disability and accessibility issues. She is passionate about advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in relation to physical and attitudinal barriers through social media campaigns, awareness drives, and advocacy. She is one of the co-founders of Sakshyam Foundation, which aims to create equal opportunity and independence for people with disabilities through formal and non-formal education and life skills.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology. She is now looking forward to pursuing her master’s degree in her respective field of work.
As a fellow at WID, Amrita hopes to learn about employment and economic empowerment programs, social media advocacy, and social inclusion practices to implement in her home country.
Amrita likes traveling, learning new things, and adrenaline activities.
Words From Our Fellows
WID has had the incredible honor of working with some of the world’s most innovative young leaders in the disability rights arena. This section highlights our fellows from 2015 onward. To hear about the experience in the fellows’ own words, continue reading.
2018 Long-Term CSP Fellow from Nepal
During her time at WID, Amrita worked with WID staff to make 2 PSAs. Watch both below!