United States Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act

July 27, 2015

Khartoum, Sudan – On July 26, the United States celebrated the 25th anniversary of passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits discrimination based on physical or mental disability in all areas of public life and promotes accessibility to jobs, schools, transportation, and places open to the general public. The world’s first comprehensive law guaranteeing equal rights to persons with disabilities, the ADA inspired the world to see disability issues through the lens of equality and opportunity, and soon after its passage, governments and international organizations around the world began enacting their own laws guaranteeing rights and access for disabled citizens. “Equal access—to the classroom, the workplace, and the transportation required to get there. Equal opportunity—to live full and independent lives the way we choose. Not dependence—but independence. That’s what the ADA was all about.” – President Barack Obama To celebrate this milestone, the United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, will provide close to $300,000 to help strengthen the capacity, effectiveness, and responsiveness of the Sudanese Cross Disability Federations (CDFs) to their members, and to create effective advocacy platforms for change in the law and in society. These activities will benefit roughly 476,000 people with disabilities in Khartoum, Kassala, Gedaref, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states. The program, “Enhancing Inclusion and Participation of People with Disability in Sudan,” will be implemented by Action on Disability and Development International (ADD) and the Sudanese CDFs, which include unions of blind, deaf, intellectual, and physical challenged people throughout Sudan. This grant is the part of a continuing effort to advance disability rights — in May 2015, the Embassy sent Sudanese advocates on a Multinational Sports Disability Advocate exchange to the United States. They shared ideas with counterparts from Brazil, Croatia, Poland, Qatar, South Korea, Tanzania, Turkmenistan, and the United States, on how to engage people with disabilities through sports and how success in athletics, with a focus on teamwork, respect and leadership, can lead to achievement in other areas of life. The Embassy also connected U.S. and Sudanese disability advocates through a June 25 webchat with the Department of State’s Special Advisor for Persons with Disabilities Judy Heumann, U.S. Paralympian and International Paralympic Committee member Ann Cody, and former Gallaudet University (for the hearing impaired) President King Jordan. They discussed the vital role of disabled citizens in society. At the Embassy’s July 1st Independence Day celebration, Chargé d’Affaires Lanier recognized the continued struggle for disability rights, praised civil society’s role in raising awareness, and commended Sudanese efforts to promote disability rights. He highlighted the work of Sudanese artists at Suha Atelier to provide people with special needs a space for creative learning and expression through art. Through videoconference workshops held at the U.S. Embassy, Sudanese teaching artists from Suha Atelier partnered with American artists at New York’s Marquis Studios to exchange techniques for using art therapy to engage people with disabilities. The Embassy showcased the students’ and teachers’ artwork at the July 1st celebration, and will exhibit it again in Khartoum and New York later this year. To learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, visit http://www.ada.gov/