The past year was filled with growth and advancement for DSI. Even in the middle of much uncertainty on a global stage during the past year (and multiple years before that), we have remained inspired by our global allies and local partners in Cambodia who continue to advocate, teach and work toward a better world for people with disabilities.
As we start 2023, we are filled with hope and possibility, we also want to reflect on and celebrate highlights from the past year.
In the summer of 2022, three DSI team members spent five weeks in Cambodia with local changemakers as part of a follow-on to our Disability Training Curriculum that we launched in the fall of 2021. We also attended and presented about DSI’s training model at the International Association of Special Education Conference in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
In the fall, DSI was selected to work with UNICEF as part of a consultancy project to work with local disability leaders and government education officials who are developing the first-ever special educator certification program in Cambodia that will prepare teachers to work with students with intellectual disabilities and those on the Autism spectrum.
Throughout the year, DSI’s Cambodian Program Coordinator, Thy, did fantastic work to stay connected with our local partners and inclusive education changemakers who are working to bring about change in their communities.
In March, DSI’s Board of Directors was able to gather in-person together for the first time in multiple years during our Board Retreat. There, DSI’s organizational leaders were able to solidify the organization’s strategic plan for the coming years. Then, in the following months, our Board welcomed new team members with new ideas and new energy for DSI’s mission.
This year also represented a new phase of our Advisory Working Group (AWG), which has played an instrumental role in rolling out the first phase of DSI’s Disability Training-of-Trainers Curriculum. The AWG continues to work on building out new training modules that our in-country partners have shared interest in learning. DSI was fortunate enough to benefit from the great work of our summer 2022 fellow, Anne, who was instrumental in propelling forward this next phase of the Disability Training Curriculum!
In September, we hosted our 2nd Annual DSI Triathlon, which was a great success! We are so grateful to all the event volunteers and participants who made an investment in DSI’s mission and our pursuit of disability rights and a more accessible and inclusive world. We hope you will join us on September 23, 2023, for this year’s DSI Tri.
In 2022, our Global Disability Directory (GDD) celebrated five years! The GDD continues to expand and connect the disability community in 113 countries. The growth and continued relevance of the GDD are made possible, in large part, because of student volunteers in Red Wing, MN (where DSI is based). This year, as in past years, we continued our strong tradition of building awareness about disability issues and uplifting youth here in the US to be the next generation of globally-minded citizens.
The DSI team wants to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has and continues to support our mission; YOU are integral to DSI’s mission and all of our successes! We wish you all the best throughout 2023.