Home page » News
Wednesday, September 20, 2017   
Home page
About Us
International Exchange Alumni
How to Partner | Contact Us
Scholarships, Fellowships and Grants
International Exchange Alumni Newsletters
Alumni story
Photo gallery
Төслийн уралдаан (AEIF)
Where there is a will there is a way Disability awareness and communication: A voluntary visitor project for Mongolia
Ms. Enkhtuya never dreamed that she could ride a bike or ski in her life. Enkhtuya is a physically disabled woman who uses wheelchair and until her recent trip to the U.S. she never thought for one moment that it would be possible for a person “like me to ski. So, you can imagine my surprise when I not just saw by my own eyes, but spoke with people just like me skiing and doing all sorts of unbelievable activities at the Outdoors for All in Seattle.”

In November 2010 the U.S. State Department organized a Voluntary Visitor (VolVis) Program for 10 activists from the Mongolian disability rights NGO Wind Bird. Part of ongoing efforts by the Embassy to promote disability issues in Mongolia, this program aimed to allow the visitors, seven of them disabled, to observe how the Americans with Disabilities’ Act (ADA) works “in practice,” learn how federal and local governments support people with disabilities, and discover how people with disabilities live, work and study in the United States.

Meeting with Mr. Andrew Imparato

Riding a metro in D.C - participant D.Bat-Erdene

The Office of International Visitors in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs funded and organized the U.S. component of the visit, which included meetings and roundtables with government officials, NGOs, and service providers in Washington DC, Baltimore, Annapolis, and Seattle. The participants were particularly inspired by their meetings with Ms. Judith E. Heumann, the State Department’s Special Advisor for International Disability Rights and Mr. Kareem Dale, the Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.

All ten participants of this Volvis program are active members of the Wind Bird NGO and each is a leader in their own right, using their unique talents and experiences to promote the rights of the disabled. They include media professionals, teachers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, NGO activists, and the director of a rehabilitation center. The participants of the program all said that the experience inspired them to advocate and work for change.

Ms. Enkhtuya riding a bicycle

Riding on an accessible bus

Upon their return to Mongolia, Ambassador Addleton hosted the group for lunch at his residence so that the participants could share their thoughts and impressions from the program. When asked by the Ambassador about their impressions of the trip, the first thing they all mentioned was how the trip changed their lives and their perceptions of their own strengths, and that the greatest lesson they learned from this trip is that they no longer should let their disabilities prevent them from doing more and living life to the fullest.

The non-disabled participants of the group said that they are greatly inspired by the strength of volunteerism and community support that they experienced in the United States and most of all by the enthusiasm of their fellow group members. They now are discussing ways to promote volunteerism and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The initiator of this trip Ms. Badamkhand was inspired to organize this trip because of the English for Disabled project organized by the alumni in 2009 and 5 of the ten visitors of this VolVis Program took part in this English training. Our alumnus and the President of the Mongolian Association of State Alumni, Mr. Enkh-Amgalan greatly supported this program by helping to provide funding for the travel expenses of three participants of the program from his company Energy Resources.
© 2007-2011 MASA – Mongolian Association of State Alumni. All Rights Reserved.