Disability prevents self-sufficiency
A child in Guatemala receives immediate relief from hunger with regular meals from Feed the Children. Her village’s water supply is made clean and safe; disease is kept at bay through proper sanitation. As she grows, she learns in Feed the Children-built schools.
When she enters early adulthood, many of her friends discover self-sufficiency through work at a local factory. But she does not. Cerebral palsy limits her appeal to employers, and there are no laws protecting her from discrimination based on her disability.
The final pillar of Feed the Children’s approach to breaking the cycle of poverty — livelihoods — is out of her reach.
Disability prevents valuable participation in relief
An Army veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan wants to impart the skills he learned while deployed. He joins an international relief organization, eager to teach civil planning in emerging nations. But he finds that countries with the greatest need for his skills are the least friendly to people in wheelchairs.
This wounded warrior’s wealth of hard-won experience can’t be shared because of the simple yet insurmountable roadblock of inaccessibility.
An international necessity
Each of these situations represents a breakdown at the most crucial point of a charitable process. And each is addressed by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities currently being discussed in U.S. Senate committees.
Ratification fell short in 2012 by just five votes. Feed the Children strongly believes the Disability Convention must be ratified in the current congressional session.
The Disability Convention contains provisions modeled after the United States’ own Americans with Disabilities Act, and it will bring the ADA’s spirit of justice and equality to all nations who sign on.
America’s gold standard for the treatment of disabled people will be exported across the globe, encouraging a uniformity of opportunity for those who need assistance in realizing their full potential.
A chance for America to lead by example
What the Disability Convention does not do is impose any added regulations on American businesses or private citizens. It simply provides a framework other countries can voluntarily use to bring their standards for treatment of disabled people up to our level.
So why should the U.S. lend its full support to this convention?
Because we are leaders who should be at the forefront of ensuring that opportunities are available to those with disabilities. Ratifying the Disability Convention will strengthen our credibility as we participate in international conversations that influence global legislation.
And as Secretary of State John Kerry says, we should set an example as we urge other nations to “be more like us.”
Vital to Feed the Children’s mission
At Feed the Children, we support that which supports our mission: providing hope and resources for those without life’s essentials. This mission extends to all who need our help.
We must not allow disability to keep people from self-sufficiency.
We must not allow disability to prevent those with hearts for service from serving others.
Feed the Children urges you to join us and over 750 other organizations in supporting this vital agreement. Make your voice heard today at DisabilityTreaty.org’s Action Center.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities won’t guarantee an easy road for the world’s one billion disabled people. But it will help organizations like Feed the Children fulfill our mission — for everyone.