A ground-breaking group of three British young disabled people have been given the green light to head to the Philippines, having been awarded a grant worth more than £200,000 from the British Academy Youth Futures Programme. The money will be used to empower young disabled people from the Philippines to undertake research, and to use the research evidence to influence policy.
Supported by Professor Anita Franklin, Professor of Childhood Studies, University of Portsmouth - the RIP:STARS. (Research into Policy: Skilled Team with Ambition, Rights and Strength) team will travel to the Philippines this month (25th August). They will work with disabled young people in the capital Manila, exploring how to be research leaders who can influence policy around disability rights and inclusive education. The young disabled people will also benefit from working in partnership with prominent international disability activists – Zara Todd (UK) and Abner Manlapaz (Life Haven Centre for Independent Living, Philippines).
Professor Franklin visited partners from the Life Haven Centre for Independent Living in Manila, a disabled person-led organisation in June. There, in the first stage of the project, the team developed the infrastructure for the planned research training to take place when the RIP:STARS team arrive later this month. The project will test the RIP:STARS disabled young researcher-led model (developed by Professor Franklin and Zara Todd in the UK) in an international context.
Abner Manlapaz, President of Life Haven Centre for Independent Living in Manila, said: “We were all so excited when this project had been accepted. This will be the first time we will be working with young people with disabilities. In the past, we were wondering how we could involve them more in the work that we do. Now, we will be able to do that with the support of the RIP:STARS, Zara and Anita.”
We were all so excited when this project had been accepted. This will be the first time we will be working with young people with disabilities. In the past, we were wondering how we could involve them more in the work that we do. Now, we will be able to do that with the support of the RIP:STARS, Zara and Anita
Abner Manlapaz, President of Life Haven Centre for Independent Living in Manila
Professor Franklin says: "The last two years have been challenging but the RIP:STARS have kept the momentum going and can't wait to meet the young people in Manila. Ultimately this project will be young disabled person led - it's about supporting young disabled people to undertake research and to use the evidence to influence decision-making. Young disabled people are often invisible in local, national and international decision-making arenas, creating this network across nations and empowering the young people will enable them to challenge policies to meet the needs and rights of disabled youth.
“The RIP:STARS are amazing. They have undertaken influential research on access to education, and have dedicated the last five years to trying to improve the lives of disabled youth in the UK. After having achieved so much in the UK, they will now act as mentors for young disabled people facing similar challenges in the Philippines. Using the generous grant from the British Academy they will be able to help make sure that young people there feel empowered to use their voice. The team is raring to go."
Jordan, one of the RIP:STARS says: "It has been an honour and privilege to have the opportunity to become a young researcher and to see the effects of our work, and the opportunities the RIP:STARS project has given us. I look forward to going to the Philippines and working alongside disabled young people in Manila so that they too can become researchers, use their voice and be heard. We want to see the RIP:STARS work expand worldwide."
Eva, RIP:STAR says: "I am looking forward to experiencing a different culture and working alongside disabled young people in the Philippines. As a RIPSTAR I learnt about my rights as a disabled young person, many disabled children and young people across the world do not learn about their rights. With our new friends in the Philippines, we want to show that disabled young people can lead research, and then use the evidence and their own voices to challenge discrimination".