Include Me TOO UK
Commonwealth Point of Light 186. Parmi Dheensa
Parmi Dheensa, representing the United Kingdom, is an award-winning social innovator and humanitarian, disability and Human Rights Activist, who advocates with and empowers underrepresented communities and unheard voices, and shares lived experiences with her youngest son, a disabled and adventurous changemaker whose journey keeps Parmi driven and focused in working towards achieving disability rights and inclusion.
Parmi is the founder of ‘Include Me TOO’ charity based in the UK, working with disabled children, young people and their families from a diverse range of backgrounds, developing a range of services, resources, training at local, national and international levels covering areas of intersectionality, participatory approaches, inclusive practice, policies, and safeguarding.
Parmi has become recognised internationally as a leader in the field, presenting and leading on Disability Equality, Race and Inclusion at both the House of Commons and House of Lords. She has presented at the United Nations Geneva Social Forum review of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 10th Anniversary on the inequalities experienced by disabled children, young people and adults from racialised communities, whose unmet needs and rights are not being upheld or supported. She has also presented and supported disabled young people to present on the issues that matter to them at the United Nations New York Headquarters in 2019.
Parmi has further spearheaded multiple international initiatives supporting disabled children and young people’s rights, their inclusion, participation and visibility in the disability movement and their role as advocates and change makers. Through her leadership and drive, Parmi is increasing access and creating spaces for and with disabled children and young people, resulting in the first disabled youth-led roundtable during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in 2018. She also formed the disabled youth delegation and disabled children and youth programme during the Global Disability Summit London 2018 which produced the Global Disability Children and Young People’s Charter and Report, engaging with disabled children and young people from 23 countries. Parmi has established the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network in 2019 (CCYDN) with disabled youth which is officially afflicted with the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the first Commonwealth Youth Network which includes children. She is also piloting online IDEAS Masterclasses Series supporting young people with disabilities to increase and build their skills and confidence as Disability Rights Representatives, Changemakers and Advocates, which has seen participation from 125 young people representing 33 countries.
“Receiving the Commonwealth Points of Light Award is truly an honour. This award is received on behalf of the combined efforts and recognition of the disabled children, young people their families, disability rights advocates and allies working with us in solidarity with a shared vision for global disability inclusion.
“There are many key actors and contributors who have been part of the journey which I am privileged to be part of, in the Commonwealth disability, children, youth rights movement. I am particularly honoured to know and work alongside the incredible disabled children and young people, self-advocates who are the Commonwealth Children and Youth Disability Network; as they are taking their places, increasing their visibility, reach and recognition as key architects for their inclusive and better futures.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage and share your privileges and spaces with those who are underrepresented, supporting efforts by working in solidarity. Be part of the much needed revolutionary change, make spaces at the influential tables, as our disabled communities are diverse with diverse experiences and perspectives that need to be heard and represented. Include and acknowledge disabled children and young people as right holders, as to achieve disability rights and inclusion everyone needs to be included.”