Escola de Gente is a large NGO headquartered in Rio de Janeiro and working across Brazil on issues of inclusion, accessibility and diversity. Through its Accessibility Promotion Agents (APA) programme, the organization works with young people with and without disabilities, particularly those living in favelas, to promote the rights of people with disabilities. The certified training gives young people the skills to identify and intervene when the rights of people with disabilities have been violated, key skills which also increase their employability. The project has been replicated in four favelas in Rio de Janeiro and has trained 252 young people between 2011 and 2017.
Young people with and without disabilities often do not feel part of the same generation, and these divisions can lead to the exclusion of people with disabilities from the job market, culture participation and wider society.
The 45-hour training programme has seven modules on inclusion and diversity ethics, rights and employment, accessible communication, physical accessibility, sign language, audio description and accessible culture. All learning materials and classes are fully accessible, so all young people can participate. The training is administered in cooperation with the Public Ministry of Labour, and all participants receive certificates when they complete the training to help with employability.
Following the training, young people become Accessibility Promotion Agents in their communities, facilitating the social, political and cultural participation of people with disabilities. Practical examples include accompanying someone who is deaf to a health centre appointment where no sign language interpreter is available, supporting someone who is blind to attend the theatre, or making suggestions to improve an office’s physical accessibility to support employees who use wheelchairs.
• Escola de Gente works with 18 organizations to deliver the APA programme.
• Escola de Gente has delivered 758 hours of training in the rights of people with disabilities.
To date, the APA programme has been replicated in four favelas; and the inclusive workshops, a key element of the training, have been held some 400 times worldwide. Escola de Gente is considering two ways of replicating the practice even further: the team could directly train companies and organizations to transfer the model, or they could systematize the material to create an accessible manual and develop partnerships with other organizations to support implementation. Escola de Gente is also hoping to secure funding to undertake a formal evaluation of the programme.