In collaboration with several community organizations, UC UCEDD recently had the honor to host a disability advocate from Pakistan. Yasir Hyatt Khan was accepted to an international exchange program through the American Council to learn more about employment programs for people with disabilities in the United States.
Yasir spent approximately three weeks with leaders of Project Search, an employability skills training and internship program for individuals with disabilities. Project Search, which originated in Cincinnati Childrenâ€™s Hospital Medical Center, has been expanded to dozens of training sites across the world. Yasir will observe and study the innovative career development and employer education to propose his own employment program for people with disabilities in Pakistan.
During a brief break in his study of Project Search, Yasir joined UCEDD for three days of jam-packed activities on-site and in the community. Within the UCEDD, Yasir met with Amy Clawson, Family Support Coordinator, Brady Sellett, UCEDD self-advocate, and Kara Ayers, Advocacy Coordinator. Emily Johnson, former LEND trainee, met with Yasir to discuss global efforts to improve conditions for people with disabilities.
UCEDD also facilitated Yasirâ€™s visits to other organizations in the Greater Cincinnati to experience the regionâ€™s work to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Yasir joined another international advocate from Tajikistan to learn about the person-centered focus of the Starfire Council. He returned to this inclusive organization later in the week for a Connections Gathering, regularly scheduled events that bring people with disabilities and community members together for an evening of shared dialogue. Advocates from Hamilton County Developmental Disability Servicesalso hosted Yasir for a discussion on the experience of living with a disability in Cincinnati and Ohio. Yasir concluded his week with a visit to Cincinnatiâ€™s Center for Independent Living Options(CILO). He participated in a weekly writers group for individuals with disabilities and a special event to discuss CILOâ€™s strategic planning process.
UCEDD is deeply appreciative of the collaborative efforts extended by so many organizations to make Yasirâ€™s visit so remarkable. Yasir shared an incredible wealth of knowledge on the shared and unique experience of living with a disability in Pakistan. We plan to keep in touch and continue this meaningful connection with an international partner in our shared vision.