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3 September 2018

The Disability Networking Zone at the International AIDS Conference

The International AIDS Conference took place in the Netherlands July 23-27, and Light for the World, as DCDD member, was one of the co-organizers of the Disability Networking Zone. We were happy to welcome Lambert Grijns, SRHR and AIDS Ambassador at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who shared the Dutch Ministry’s response to the need for inclusive AIDS interventions. Lambert Grijns was welcomed in sign language by our volunteer Lisa Hinderks from the Dutch Deaf Youth Association.

The Disability Networking Zone also provided a room to play the Inclusion Game, recently developed by Light for the World as a tool to learn about barriers that persons with disabilities face in accessing  healthcare.  We were very enthusiastic in playing this game together with Family AIDS Caring Trust from Zimbabwe who promised to take lessons back home and making their services inclusive to men and women with disabilities.  Above all, we were very lucky having with us our partner Francois Xavier Karangwa – Executive Director of the Umbrella Organization of Persons with Disabilities in Fight against HIV in Rwanda. Francois and Zinayida Olshanska, programme manager at Light for the World, gave a presentation on the link between sexual and reproductive health and HIV, and how it specifically affects women with disabilities in Rwanda. The presentation attracted a diverse public and spurred interesting discussions around barriers that persons with disabilities face when accessing SRH and HIV services, and the lack of information on HIV prevention services among persons with disabilities in Rwanda.  Francois and Zinayida also shared good practices from Light for the World programme Every Life Matters that aims at developing lessons on inclusive SRH and HIV services.

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