Can digital technology provide a safe space for youth with disabilities?

10 August 2018

Youth with disabilities from around the world are collaborating for change in their countries. 

Ian Banda volunteers with us as a citizen reporter and is an advocate for youth with disabilities in Zambia. 

Ian writes how digital technology provides a safe space for youth with disabilities. 

Ian BandaYouth with disabilities require safe spaces to increase their participation and inclusion in society.  Youth with disabilities face a widespread lack of safe spaces, from roads and housing, to public spaces, basic urban services such as sanitation and water, to health, education, transportation, and emergency response programmes. 

Barriers to information and technology, and cultural attitudes like negative stereotyping and stigma, also contribute to the exclusion and marginalisation of persons with disabilities in society. Safe spaces are important to eradicate these barriers so youth with disabilities can enjoy equal rights. 

Digital technology can provide safe spaces for disabled people. It helps people move around and communicate in an inaccessible world. Barriers in information and communication, including accessibility, can be aided by digital technology. It can promote issues of accessibility and the participation of youth with disabilities in developmental activities. 

Digital technology allows youth to contribute to their society and a country without being disadvantaged or marginalised. Digital technology enables youth with disabilities to proactively advocate for their rights and express their challenges in developmental issues. 

As part of Leonard Cheshire’s 2030 and Counting project, I am using digital technology to create a safe space advocating for the rights of children and youth with disabilities. I use social media platforms like Facebook, and messenger apps like WhatsApp to advocate for our human rights. 

Creating a safe space with these technologies can help youth with disabilities to work together for change in their countries and will ensure they are not left behind in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The theme of this year’s International Youth Day is Safe Spaces for Youth.

2030 and Counting is our global initiative to put youth with disabilities at the centre of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advocacy, by using their mobile phones.

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