CDPF notice on the passing of Chairperson Rachel Kachaje

The Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Disabled People’s Forum, which represent Disabled people in 45 Commonwealth Countries with 71 Disabled Peoples Organisations, mourned the death of their Chair Rachel Kachaje from Malawi. A special commemorative Newsletter will be produced and circulated on Rachel and her achievemts.
At the Executive today the Vice-Chair Sarah Muthoni Kamau , United Disabled Persons Kenya was elected as Acting Chair.
The vacant position of Acting Vice Chair was filled by the election of Dr Sruti Mohapatra of Swabhiman, Odisha, Eastern India.
On being elected Sarah Kamau made the following speech.

“Let me take this opportunity to thank members of the Executive Committee for electing me to the position of Ag. Chair, CDPF.

This honour comes with challenges that I seek to find ways of overcoming consultatively with the committee as a whole and with an open mind.

I am happy to acknowledge the support I have received from you during my tenure as Vice Chair. I recall some of the tasks that we have deliberated and successfully implemented for example during the recent COVID 19 pandemic response, by getting governments to support inclusion of disabled people.

As Ag. Chair, my vision is to see CDPF achieve the following outcomes:
• To support the work that DPOs and their umbrella bodies nationally, regionally and internationally are doing in order to achieve human rights for decent life for disable people.
• To support implementation of the Constitution and development of CDPF’s strategic plan that will enable achievement of outputs within the Declaration made in New York in 2019. This also will be done consultatively so that nothing and no one will be left out.
• To support the execution the Declaration made during the re-launch of CDPF in New York in 2019 and will be open to new ideas on how to engage with bilateral and multilateral donors, governments, development partners to fund CDPF who in turn will empower Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs).
• Bring disabled people, regardless of type of impairment, gender, age, race, indigenous & geographical background, religion, political affiliation from all countries of the Commonwealth, together with a view to having one voice to advocate for promotion and equalization of opportunities for all disabled people.
• Engage and influence the structures and organs of the Commonwealth and especially the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
• Engage with commonwealth countries and emphasize on the need to ratify, adopt, domesticate and implement UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other legally binding treaties in all Commonwealth Countries to address the continuing inequalities and exclusion disabled people face throughout the Commonwealth.
• To bring more DPOs and their representative organizations and enhance their capacities to fight for their rights at the local up to international levels.
• To mobilize funds through networks, linkages, to support CDPF mandate and projects.

Finally, I look forward to your support and working together in order to actualize this vision.
I thank you once again for the opportunity to serve as Acting Chair”.

The Executive also agreed the Annual Report of the CDPF for July 18 to July 2020 which demonstrates the effective and wide range of work the CDPF has achieved.

In addition a further programme of Regional Meetings and global meeting were agreed on deliberating on the priorities for disabled people after the devasating impact the Covid-19 has had on our rights and educational, economic and social position in pursuit of the full achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It was also greed to work with the Commonwealth Secretariat to prepare for CHOGM in June 2021 in Rwanda by developing a briefing for policy development around the six focus areas of CHOGM- Innovation focussing on improving Access and Assistive Devices, Health focusing on Mental Health and Covid 19, Trade focusing on improving Livelihoods and Employment, Environment focusing on the impact of humanitarian situations and Respect for Law focusing on eliminating Stigma and Discrimination for disabled people across the Commonwealth. The briefing to be followed by a virtual meeting between Commonwealth High Commissioners and the CDPF in early December. In the new year these topics and the position of disabled Girls and Women, the need for practical measures enhancing Inclusive Education and measures to tackle Racism towards Minority Ethnic Groups across the Commonwealth will be developed into Training Webinars. Emphasis was laid on finding ways of improving internet connectivity and the availability of computers and other internet connection devices.

Richard Rieser General Secretary 1st October 2020