Able SC CEO, Kimberly Tissot, delegate and Independent Living Expert
YEREVAN, ARMENIA (Nov. 16, 2022) – Able South Carolina (Able SC) is represented by CEO and President, Kimberly Tissot, selected to be a member of a three-member delegation of Independent Living and disability rights experts from the United States over a 10-day visit to Armenia. The delegation, led by Mobility International USA (MIUSA), is a part of the Leading for Independent Living Project, a three-year project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). With the support of the project, MIUSA’s Armenian partners, Agate Rights Defense Center for Women with Disabilities NGO (Agate) and Equal Rights Equal Opportunities NGO (EREO), opened the first two Independent Living Resource Centers (ILRCs) in Armenia. Able SC has served the ILRCs as an expert resource on Independent Living as they have become established.
In addition to Able SC’s Kimberly Tissot, the U.S. delegation includes Janet Lord, Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and Doug Toelle, Chair of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) International Subcommittee. The U.S. team has shared lessons learned from the U.S. Independent Living movement and provided consultation to support Armenia’s commitment to advancing disability rights through law and policy.
Recently, in the Armenia city of Yerevan, the U.S. team engaged in high-level meetings with the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Labor and Social Affairs, UNICEF, and USAID, and were featured in a National Forum on Independent Living. During the parliamentary meeting, the American model of Independent Living services for people with disabilities was debated. Tissot, alongside other US experts, highlighted the importance of including persons with disabilities in any pursuit of advancement of disability rights and services, explaining that a peer-led approach was the best method for ensuring that the disability community’s rights are understood, and needs are met and served. It was explained that the US independent living movement seeks leadership from within the disability community for the best possible outcomes for disability rights and well-being.
U.S. delegates will also meet with staff and consumers of the Agate ILRC in Gyumri and the EREO ILRC in Vanadzor, to discuss long-term sustainability and growth. Beyond the trip, Able SC will continue to remain committed to their Armenian counterparts, to provide ongoing support, advising, and technical assistance. This is Able SC’s fourth time serving as an expert for other countries.
ABOUT ABLE SOUTH CAROLINA
Able SC is a disability-led organization seeking transformational changes in systems, communities, and individuals. Since 1994, we’ve remained a consumer-controlled, community-based, cross-disability nonprofit that seeks to make South Carolina a national model of equity and inclusion for all people with disabilities. To learn more about Able SC’s programs and services, please visit www.able-sc.org.
Agate, a DPO based in Gyumri, has conducted disability rights, women’s leadership and advocacy programs for 12 years, directed by Karine Grigoryan, an alumna of MIUSA’s International Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) and Training of Trainers program.EREO, a DPO based in Vanadzor, has supported disability rights in the Lori region since 2014, led by EREO President, Anush Aslanyan, an alumna of MIUSA’s 2019 WILD.