On September 3rd and 4th, the team at YES and I.LEAD celebrated I.LEAD’s first birthday. It has been a year since the conference, and there has been so much that’s happened during this time.
We have begun collaborating with central government agencies, most notably Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and the Office of Disability Issues, to start gaining traction on some of the work we set out a year ago.
We have an I.LEAD group in Palmerston North that advocates for youth with disabilities in the mid-central region, with plans to establish more I.LEAD groups in other regions.
Our movement has been named in a number of government documents, namely the ‘Working Matters’ Disability Employment Action Plan and the Youth Action Plan, where the work we do will shape how these documents, and our government, better cater to and advocate for youth with disabilities in Aotearoa.
In the span of a year, we have started to change perceptions, started prying open perspectives, mindsets and opportunities, and effectively given power and voice back to youth with disabilities in an unprecedented way; and this is only the beginning.
We are looking forward to working alongside Minster of Disability Issues, Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Director of the Office of Disability Issues, Brian Coffey, Disability Rights Commissioner, Paula Tesoriero, and other government representatives to push the I.LEAD movement further. Together we aim to amplify the voice of youth with disabilities and giving them opportunity to realise their dreams, aspirations and ultimately live thriving lives.
We would like to also thank YES CEO, Sonia Thursby, for giving us the space and means to make all this possible. Here’s to a year of I.LEAD, and to many more on the way.