The campaigning passion of parents
Last month I had the opportunity of running advocacy workshops for the Open Society Foundations in Georgia and Ukraine. My aim was to support parents who wanted to advocate for changes to support children better with conditions like autism. The campaigning passion of these parents was inspiring.
For me this was a very different assignment. In the past most of my international work has been for local, national or international organisations. Yet this time I was faced with a room full of individual parents. In the main they did not represent organisations but all of them had had to fight for the rights of their children. They now wanted to advocate to help other children.
I was daunted faced by such an audience as to whether I would be able to offer them anything helpful at all. Yet their appetite to learn and then to apply my simple advocacy tools was inspiring. Their passion and their lived experience linked with these advocacy tools was just so powerful.
And I have worked with people to develop their elevator pitches around the world. Yet I have rarely come across such passionate and engaging pitches yet also focussed on particular policy or practice changes. The campaigning passion of these parents showed me yet again the power of lived experience.