FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Diana Samarasan, Director
Boston, MA, September 6, 2011 – On the opening day of the fourth Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Disability Rights Fund (DRF) is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant of AUD 1.2 million (USD 1.28 million) from the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). This grant provides ongoing support for grantmaking to disabled persons’ organizations (DPOs) in the Global South to advocate for their rights.
“This contribution underscores the Australian government’s ground-breaking commitment to disability inclusive development,” stated DRF’s Director Diana Samarasan, “and supports Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd’s, recent declaration that, ‘enhancing the lives of people with disabilities has been incorporated within the core development objectives of the aid portfolio.’”
Utilizing the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), DRF supports the human rights advocacy of DPOs in the Middle East, Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union and the Global South. The Disability Rights Fund is a unique organization advised by a global panel whose members come from five continents and reflect a broad cross-section of the disability community. Advisors work with donors to oversee the grantmaking process.
AusAID’s Director of Disability Inclusive Development, Rosemary Mckay, who is attending the Conference of States Parties on the CRPD stated that, “The DRF is a very important partner for AusAID as it helps us to reach small and emerging DPOs allowing them to have their voices heard, many for the first time. AusAID’s assistance has enabled the DRF to open grantmaking to countries in our region including all Pacific Island countries and Indonesia. For example, a grant of $30,000 in 2010 to the Papua New Guinea Assembly of Disabled Persons enabled them to successfully lobby for CPRD signature and to build momentum for ratification by expanding knowledge about the Convention among people with disabilities in rural areas.”
Since launch of the Fund in 2008, DRF has granted a total of $5,660,368 in grants to 151 organizations in eighteen countries. Grantees include a Ugandan organization of lawyers with disabilities, an emergent national cross-disability group in Tuvalu, an organization of the deaf in Indonesia, and a grassroots network in Bangladesh of women-led disabled persons’ organizations. For a full list of grantees and more information about DRF, see www.disabilityrightsfund.org.
Other donors to DRF include: the American Jewish World Service, the Open Society Foundations, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).