Throughout 2018, META members worked actively to advance the promotion of rights and inclusive development, strengthening their leadership role with the conviction that «without action, there will be no rights.»
The following is a review of the key moments of the year:
Intergenerational Dialogues: META talks with activists from the Latin American Blind Union (ULAC)
The “intergenerational dialogues” emerged in 2017 to reflect on the challenges, difficulties and achievements on the road to a more inclusive world. On more than one occasion, members of the META youth group met to talk to veteran activists, to generate an exchange of experiences between different generations.
In January 2018, during the Regional Assembly of the Latin American Blind Union, META youth talked with leaders of the organization, expert activists from the Disability Rights Movement.
Participation in the 8th Summit of the Americas
After months of work searching for spaces for political advocacy, Brígida Lanzilloto, from META Argentina, participated in the Civil Society Forum of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru. The theme of this important continent-wide event was «Democratic Governance against Corruption».
She also traveled as part of the 12th Regional Coalition for the Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities. Shebrought with her different recommendations and observations for governments on the most relevant points at a regional level on the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls with disabilities. She also participated in the dialogue between civil society actors and government representatives, and took part in the General Assembly.
See video: https://youtu.be/-CaUVRqd8ws
Online training meetings for young people
In 2018, META conducted a series of webinars as part of its online training for young activists with and without disabilities. International specialists provided training on topics of interest to young people.
The first webinar, called «No one should be left behind», was given by Dr. Elizabeth Lockwood, representative of the Christian Blind Mission International, and focused on the SDGs and Agenda 2030.
The second webinar was on Gender and Disability, and was given by Argentine activist Mercedes Monjaime, a representative of the Profamilia Colombia organization.
The third webinar was given by DafnePlou, a feminist social communicator from APC (Association for Progressive Communications), who discussedonline activism in the media and social networks for youth rights.
The protagonists of the fourth and last webinar of the year were young META members from different countries, who shared the actions they carried out over the past year and discussed their plans for 2019.
The online meetings were well attended by young people from many countries, such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.
National Meeting of META Uruguay: «Conquering the Inclusive»
From June 1 to 3 a national youth meeting was held in Montevideo, where young people with and without disabilities from 11 departments of the country participated, to continue expanding networks, share tools and strategies for participation, and plan joint actions. The young people of META want to «conquer the inclusive!»
During the three-day event, they carried out different learning and discussion activities revolving around three main themes: inclusive education, sexual and reproductive rights, and access to culture, recreation and sports. They were accompanied by authorities from various national institutions, who expressed an interest in working together and committed themselves to META’s work.
See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x27olcBQ6Dg&t=91s
META Participation in Summer School on Disability and Human Rights in Galway, Ireland
The 10th International Disability Law Summer School organized by the Institute for Lifecourse and Societyat the National University of Ireland,Galway, was held from June 18 to 22.
The event brought together more than 200 activists and academics from around the world to think together and share experiences on the intersection between human rights and disability, as a tool for social change. With the support of theNational University of Ireland, Galway and the Open Society Foundations, Natalia Farías, Sergio Meresman and Agustina Fazio were invited to present META’s experience. Natalia, an activist with META Uruguay since its inception, brought the voice of young people to this event of international importance, transmitting her own experience of participation and development.
In addition, during the week there was an exhibition and prizes for posters showing some of the projects of the participating activists. Natalia, Sergio and Agustina presented a billboard of the Decímelo a Mí project, which included Augmented Reality technology and had a strong impact on participants. META’s work impressed the international community, as an outstanding example of activism and empowerment of young people in pursuit of their rights.
National Meeting of META Argentina in Córdoba
In July, META Argentina held a National Meeting, in which young people with and without disabilities from all over the country participated. Together, they reflected on the most important issues regarding access to rights for young people with disabilities.
The meeting also had the support of different organizations interested in working together with META.
See video: https://youtu.be/sPrgmD9AlhI?list=PLNHKcx0kTwwr3WNgzHHJvvOUNNq4yJZEQ
Participation in the Youth Now! Camp organized by UNFPA
From July 31 to August 4 in Lima, 50 young people from Latin America and the Caribbean who stand out for their leadership and participation in their respective countries met in a camp organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The aim was to strengthen their capacities in the areas ofpolitical advocacy and alliance building, within the framework of the implementation of the Montevideo Consensus.
Two young people were selected to represent META: Daniela Gordon from META Costa Rica, and Tomás Cabrera from META Uruguay, who in the end was unable to attend due to health reasons. During the Camp, topics such as adultcentrism, investment in Adolescence and Youth, Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Gender Equality, Rights at Risk, Socio-Political Incidence, International and Shared Agendas, Communication and Cyberactivism were discussed. As a representative of META, and as the only young person with a disability to participate, Dani Gordon brought the voice of young people with disabilities. In addition to the Camp, she participated in the Civil Society Forum and the Third Session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In August, a group of young women from META carried out the «Recognize Us» project, with the support of the Montevideo city government’s Fortalecidas fund. Three meetings were held between young women with and without disabilities and from different organizations, who reflected together on different aspects related to gender and disability, in order to foment the participation and empowerment of women.
The theme «How do you see yourself? How do you see things? How do you see us?» guided the sharing and creation of artistic products and the drafting of a brief final declaration.
Regional Forum on «Ensuring Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Situations of High Vulnerability»
Within the framework of the Regional Conference on Population and Development, this Forum was held with the presence of 38 Latin American and Caribbean States. META was represented by Daniela Gordon from Costa Rica. Despite the large number of young people participating in the forum, the META representative was the only invited participant with a disability.
During the Forum, Daniela gave a presentation in the panel on «Barriers to the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights of adolescents living with disabilities and LGBTI people», which had a strong impact on the audience, who were made aware of the lack of mention of people with disabilities in the Consensus of Montevideo.
See video: https://youtu.be/itnbfQTGGME
META grows in the Dominican Republic
During 2018, META members in the Dominican Republic met frequently to expand their network, learn about their needs and motivations, and learn from the experiences of other countries. Within this framework, they held meetings to share via Skype with Meta members Matías Ferreira (Argentina) and Carlos Barrantes (Costa Rica).
Workshops with young deaf people in Uruguay
In July, GermánTourón, Cecilia Prieto and Claudia Hirigoyen held Sex Education workshops in Uruguayan Sign Language at a school for the deaf in Maldonado, Uruguay. There were also instances of exchange and learning with families and teachers from the center.
Very interesting experiences and questions arose, such as «Who do we talk to about this if our family doesn’t speak Sign Language?” It was a very positive experience for the young deaf people, their families and other workshop participants.
Meeting of the Regional Network for Inclusive Education in Argentina
Nalhea Ferrés, a member of META Uruguay, and Jesshie Toledo, coordinator of the Mandela Network Project, participated in the Meeting of the Regional Network for Inclusive Education in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
They presented the work carried out within the framework of the Mandela Project, promoted by iiDi, UNICEF, and the Council for Initial and Primary Education (CEIP) in Uruguay, to promote Inclusive Education. In addition to sharing their experiences, they reflected on the prospects for Inclusive Education in Latin America, among other strategies and policies of the Regional Network.
Presentation of the UNFPA Global Study on Youth with Disabilities
A new global study coordinated by UNFPA investigated how gender-based violence affects young people with disabilities and how they live out their sexual and reproductive rights. The publication «Young Persons with Disabilities: Global Study on Ending Gender-based Violence and Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights» was launched at the headquarters of Argentina’s National Disability Agency in September.
Present at the launch were several members of META Argentina, and Natalia Farías from Uruguay, who participated in one of the panels where presentations were made. In the afternoon, META coordinated other activities, such as workshop proposals where participants were invited to think in groups about themes for future work, priorities within the field of gender-based violence and SRRs, and intervention strategies.
Second International Symposium on Inclusive Education in Buenos Aires
In October, young people from META Uruguay and META Argentina worked together taking action for Inclusive Education.
In Buenos Aires, they participated in the Second International Symposium on Inclusive Education, where they made a presentation based on their own experiences in formal education and on their work as workshop members of the Mandela Network of inclusive schools and day care centers project in Uruguay.
Mandela Network of Inclusive Schools and Day Care Centers
The Mandela Network project is promoted by the iiDi, CEIP and UNICEF to promote Inclusive Education in Uruguay. Since 2017, members of META Uruguay have been involved in the work of this project, visiting schools in the Network to take part in workshops with children.
For the second consecutive year, a Children’s Congress was held in October, attended by children representing all the schools in the Network. Also present were the leaders of the workshops who worked in the schools throughout the year. At the Congress, more than 220 children from 17 of the country’s departments met to reflect together on inclusion. Their teachers and family representatives also met together. In the afternoon, the children held a plenary session to vote on their proposals and to draw up a Proclamation on Inclusive Education.
International Seminar on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, HIV and Persons with Disabilities
This Seminar took place in November in Rio de Janeiro, where the iiDi participated as organizer together with CEDAPS. Lucas Mangini and Ceci Prieto participated in representation of the META Youth Group.
During the event, they were part of a youth workshop in which a series of messages were drawn up for families, schools, governments and young people in general. In addition, a Declaration on the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Young People with Disabilities was adopted. META Brazil is expected to be created in 2019, as many young participants in the Seminar were interested in joining the Network.
Meeting of young people from Pro-familia Colombia
META youth were invited by Profamilia to Bogotá, Colombia, to participate in their National Youth Meeting. The group consisted of Meta participants from Costa Rica, Uruguay and Argentina. For three days, they worked alongside young Colombians who are leaders on sexual and reproductive rights issues.
In addition, young women who belong to META took part in a workshop where they talked about their lives, goals and current projects. META Colombia is expected to be created in 2019, with the joint support of the iiDi and Profamilia.
First Regional Youth Dialogue in Chile
Sofia Fernandez from META Uruguay was selected by UNICEF Uruguay to participate in the First Regional Dialogue «On the Road to Equality: 30 years since the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child”. In Santiago de Chile, she was the only young woman with a disability out of a group of more than 90 young people from all over Latin America who gathered to work together, sharetheir experiences and set forth proposals about their rights.
Previously, the young participants had exchanged opinions on the social networks on different topics: Participation, Education, Violence, Gender and Identity. Once in Chile, they worked on a Declaration, which they then presented to the authorities in ECLAC. From META, Sofia brought the disability perspective to the five topics under discussion, which was very well received and was reflected in the final declaration.In addition, Sofia was invited to give a presentation on youth participation during one of the panels in ECLAC.
Creation of the META group in Nicaragua
CoMETA Nic is the name adopted by META in Nicaragua. A group of young people with and without disabilities, formed through an initiative of the organization Los Pipitos, is working on the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of young people with disabilities. The group’s aim is to collaborate with the different actions that will be carried out within the framework of the Los Pipitos project.
In November, they held a training on Sexual and Reproductive Rights and on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, led by Sergio Meresman, and also participated in the last webinar organized by META. For 2019 they plan to continue their training and generate exchanges with other META groups in the Central American region.
Creation of the Luis Hernan Cambronero Youth Empowerment and Participation Fund
Starting in 2019, the Inter American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development (iiDi), with the support of the Ford Foundation, launched this fund for young activists of the META Network, to support innovation initiatives, training and participation in regional events. The Fund honors the memory of Luis Hernan Cambronero, a founding member of META and a young activist for the rights of people with disabilities in Costa Rica, who died in 2017. This initiative offers seed funds and small grants to finance youth initiatives that contribute to the work of the Meta network for human rights and inclusive development.