The fight for professional inclusion for disabled people in Tunisia is something ACT – through their projects and partnerships in and around Tunisia – have been working hard for.
A recent seminar coordinated by ACT and Interact saw participants gather from Jordan, Sudan, Egypt and Tunisia to have their voices heard on the matter.
For adults with disabilities, the challenge of professional inclusion is great. Change is needed. Whether it changes in perception within local communities, in practice, or in legislation or official practices, ACT is committed to seeing transformation through its work in the Disability Sector.
On Thursday 11th October, ACT welcomed participants from Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as partners from InterAct in Cyprus to a regional seminar hosted in Tunis. Around 50 people were able to take part. ACT was honoured to receive Mme Houda Rabhi of the Ministry of Employment, and the Swedish Ambassador to Tunisia Fredrik Florén.
The theme of the weekend was “Influencing for Professional Inclusion”. It marks the final instalment in a series of conferences held yearly across the region during the three-year course of the project.
“We wanted to look at lived experiences of different partners, different people who have, in one way or another, influenced change for the benefit of professional inclusion of people with disabilities,” says project worker Anne Wiles. “We wanted to host an exchange of experiences.”
“There are lots of small-scale experiences of how, locally, people have managed to bring about change. There’s still a need for those experiences to be broadened, to happen everywhere, to be systemic.”
Committed to systemic advocacy
Through its advocacy work, ACT aims to speak up for issues of injustice. We are seeking to focus on systemic advocacy: speaking up for systemic issues of injustice.
Because it’s needed.
“The reality is that if you look at people with disabilities in Tunisia, many of them have knowledge and skills that they could use in a work setting very happily,” explains Anne.
So what next?
ACT is hopeful that this experience will also have served participants to be able to grow stronger as a network, which will enable a greater sharing of experiences and resources.
We hope that the people attending will go back to the associations they work with and galvanise action that will aim at influencing change.
ACT would like to express a deep and sincere gratitude to all who made the seminar such a success; the participants and organisers, the esteemed guests and those who helped in supporting the event’s running. We are thankful to Interact, our co-hosts and partners in this, and are excited to see what change will come from both the training and the partnership.
Ultimately, ACT is delighted to have been able to offer much needed support to some of the most vulnerable people in Tunisia through this project.
This was the first ACT conference I was a part of, and it was really well organised. It’s great: ACT gave the opportunity to all those who took part to speak for themselves and give their own words.
Thank you for having given me the chance to give my opinion and for having me be a part of this conference.
– Hedia Darwezi, first time participant and educator from Jendouba
It was a big success, the number of participants, it was well organised, the information given was very interesting. Seeking to bring about economic and professional inclusion is something all participating centres have in common […] and it is really needed in Tunisia.
I was able to speak to almost all the participants; each session with a new group, a new discussion to be had. I work with ACT as a consultant; I evaluated projets de vie (life projects) with [another ACT partner] UTAIM, micro-credit for livestock rearing and so on. I came to see the impact of the project.
It was very interesting for me to be a part of the seminar.
– Slim Magri, external person of influence from El Kef
I was very satisfied with the seminars. This was the first time I’d heard of ‘self-advocacy’, and I’m excited to be able to bring back this training to my colleagues and centre. It was helpful to be able to share a lot of different experience, sharing ideas and contacts from all different situations and backgrounds.
– Sabeh Wargui, an educator from Tunis
It was an honour to welcome so many to this seminar addressing the important issue of professional inclusion for people with special needs. I am delighted to be able to gather with so many people from different countries and different authorities, bringing different expertise and roles together but with the same passion: inclusion for all!
As ACT two of our values are Affirmation and Participation. We believe that every person is unique and important and has the right to live a dignified life. No one is too bad, too handicapped, too poor, too marginalized in society to be deprived of love and hope. We value and affirm people’s knowledge, experience and contribution to society and believe in the right to work.
– Adriaan Jagersma, General Director of ACT International