The Global Disability Summit event, sponsored by the Charity Include Me Too, the Commonwealth Children & Young People Disability Network and the Group Network of Young Persons with Disabilities, brought together young people from across the world to discuss their ideals, the challenges faced and what more needs to be done to support children and young people with a range of disabilities.
Discussing the experience of addressing the Summit, Seth said: “it’s exciting that young people from all over the world want to make a change.”
Attendees from India, the Caribbean, Australia, Pakistan, Tanzania and Kenya all gave extremely insightful speeches, touching on subjects including inclusivity and participation in civil and civic society, as well as mobilising the power of young people in advocacy and policy.
Speaking on the topic of young people with disabilities’ right to be heard, Seth said: “I have been asked to talk to you today about the importance of children with disabilities, our right to be heard and included in decisions that affect our future. Is it important? Yes, absolutely, definitely, because it is our future.
“We must not be an invisible minority who are not seen and not heard. Why should someone else tell us what we can or cannot do? We are the ones who know what is important to us. We have an incredibly powerful voice and must be more visible and have more opportunities to speak on bigger platforms such as this.
“It came as a surprise to me to hear that after existing for 22 years I am the first disabled person to take a seat in the Welsh Senedd or Youth Parliament. I hope to be able to use my voice to represent all children with disabilities, raise their profile and show that our potential is not limited by our disabilities.”
Maria Timon Samra, Chief Executive of Tŷ Hafan added: “This morning’s event, and Seth’s speech, highlights just how important his role as a Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament is in furthering discussions around the inclusion of young people – particularly those with disabilities – in our democratic processes. It is vital they have their voices heard, not only in Wales – but across the UK and beyond.
“All of us at Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice are so proud to be working with Seth and supporting him on his mission to raise awareness, make positive changes for himself and other children with disabilities. Having had the privilege of meeting him, I can attest that he is truly an inspiration.”
As Seth continues on his journey as a Welsh Youth Parliamentarian, he sets an example to us all and highlights the need for greater representation of people with disabilities in our democratic institutions. It is clear that we need more people like Seth to be involved in decision making processes, both here in Wales and across the UK, to tackle many of these ongoing and long-standing issues.