As some have noticed, I have a new change to my trip schedule. This past Monday, I got myself over to a videophone and called the travel company to change most of the time I originally scheduled for San Francisco to go instead to New Zealand. Believe it or not, some friends figured out a way I can visit a disability conference in Wellington. So, many thanks to Sharon Smith, Barbel Winter, Viv Maidaborn and CCS Disability Action for helping to make this happen. I am so amazed!
What's in New Zealand, one might ask? Well, did you know that the NZ government has a New Zealand Disability Strategy? Or that the current president of Rehabilitation International, Anne Hawker, is from New Zealand? CCS Disability Action itself includes an emphasis on providing bicultural services to Maori people with disabilities. Learn more about Maori culture at http://www.maori.org.nz/ or at Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maori.
Also, CCS Disability Action, People First and Disabled People's Assembly (DPA), all of New Zealand, were awarded the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award for $50,000 this year in recognition of and furtherance of their work on the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Read more at http://ratifynow.org/2008/04/29/new-zealand-organizations-to-use-award-for-promoting-crpd/.
So I am very excited to visit New Zealand and bring lessons learned to this blog!