The Marianas Chapter of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance and the Pacific Disability Forum held a workshop last Saturday at the Kanoa Resort to promote awareness of disability issues and create a regional network for the Pacific.
Speakers for the Disability Awareness Workshop held were PDF chief executive officer Setareki Macanawai and Pohnpei Consumer Organization and FSM National Disabled Person Organization president Nelbert Perez.
With the CNMI yet to become a member of PDF, Macanawai said he is encouraging the Commonwealth to have representatives in the forum.
“They’ll get to know not just what’s happening on disability in the U.S. but internationally. The training, the conferences we are organizing, they are part of the family and the big advantage is that the CNMI and Guam is in the Pacific and we can connect to each other and learn from each other,” Macanawai said.
PDF was formed in 2004 after the disability community expressed a need for a regional body to represent persons with disabilities and encourage cooperation on disability related concerns in the Pacific region.
“It’s more of disability awareness and more focus on the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was never discussed in many workshops here,” USP4GG Marianas Chapter chair Dr. Celia Lamkin said.
Other topics discussed were disability initiatives at international and regional levels, models of disability, human rights of persons with disabilities, establishing an organization for people with disabilities and disability inclusive development.
Lamkin said the workshop is a step to network and connect with other groups who are also advocates of the disabled community.
“We want to be go beyond the local to the regional and international level so that we can all be connected,” Lamkin said.
Some of those present were members of the CNMI Council on Developmental Disabilities, Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc., Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority, CNMI Transitional Living Center, and Northern Marianas College.