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2023 Year in Review

Even as we are already well underway with program and strategic initiatives we've set out to tackle this year (and beyond), we paused to reflect and celebrate some of DSI’s recent accomplishments and progress forward.

Here are a few of the focuses and highlights of our 2023 year:

Advancing disability training for teachers and inclusive education in Cambodia

Our Training of Trainers curriculum, first piloted in 2021 in Cambodia has continued to gain momentum and show promising results. In August, we started implementing the second module of the curriculum, focused on 'Understanding and Addressing Behavior'. With the support of the US Embassy in Cambodia (new this year) our 20 Master Trainers have already cascaded the training to 165 teachers in four different provinces who directly reach 562 children with disabilities right now, as well as others including community leaders and parents.

Our team plans to train even more local teachers in the first few months of 2024 and we are also growing the direct, ongoing support we can offer those receiving our training as they work to apply their new knowledge and skills. For many trainees, this is their first exposure to some of the foundational concepts (like behavioral psychology) and we know that their growth as professionals results in more inclusion and educational opportunities for Cambodian children with disabilities!

This year we have also worked to revamp our Advisory Working Group (our team of US-based skilled volunteers) to continue developing more modules we know are needed. In 2024, we plan to roll out the third module focused on communication. Our Cambodia Program Coordinator, Mr. Nhip Thy received a global recognition award for his lifelong dedication to this field and we are so honored to have his expertise benefiting DSI’s mission. We also continue to have four committed partners in Cambodia, collaborating in this program work with us and truly leading the progress nationwide! Our partners are:

Connecting communities and changemakers to strengthen shared goals

Our Global Disability Directory continues to grow and be used by various individuals and groups globally. Student volunteers continue to assist with ongoing maintenance but most of the growth over the past year has been led by new organizations finding us! As of December 2023, our directory had 115 countries and 492 organizational active profiles. This resource also allows us and others to assist and empower those seeking help (who often reach out to us). We believe in continuing to leverage technology advancement for good in creative ways like this.

This past year, we also continued nurturing and expanding local connections that are critical to our collaborations and program growth abilities. We held the 3rd DSI Triathlon & Inclusive 4K in September and several small awareness-raising and fundraising events. We also started partnership initiatives with East Tennessee State University and the LEND program with the goal of furthering technical support for our partners and training work in Cambodia.

Trailblazing together with shared passion and purpose

We continue to have an amazing leadership team behind this mission, including two staff members and a passionate working board with diverse backgrounds and skillsets working diligently to help govern DSI. This team embodies the inclusive and equitable world we envision for all people living with disabilities. Our board (which operates remotely from different locations in the US) met in-person in Minnesota and laid the groundwork for a viable, effective, and aggressive strategic plan for the next two years. We can’t wait to share more as that unfolds.

On behalf of our DSI team, thank you to everyone who has and continues to make all we are able to do possible. Keep advocating, supporting, and empowering!


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