The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) launched the Disability Justice Project (DJP) on February 7, 2022 in partnership with journalism educator and human rights filmmaker Judy Santos and other nationally recognized media makers. The aim of the DJP is to create a global grassroots media network that centers the voices of persons with disabilities and brings attention to the disability justice movement. This is achieved through a fellowship model where newer professionals with disabilities from the Global South are paired with professional journalists in the U.S. who act as mentors. Through this exchange, fellows learn about storytelling from some of the best in the industry while mentors learn about the global disability justice movement with the goal of incorporating this new understanding into their journalism.
The DJP is a 12-week virtual program that trains fellows on topics such as video production and rights-based reporting and provides them with the resources needed to reclaim the narrative on disability justice. In December 2021, the Project’s inaugural cohort completed their fellowship. The 2021 fellows were Oluwabukolami Omolara Badmus from Nigeria, Julie-Marie Chibekete from Malawi, Nissy Namuyomba from Uganda, Esther Suubi from Uganda, and Rose Umutesi from Rwanda. All of the fellows came from organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) that are DRF grantees. Articles, videos with captions, descriptive transcripts, and audio descriptions produced by these fellows can be found on the DJP website.
While the inaugural cohort of fellows were all women with disabilities, the goal for the next cohorts will be to also include Indigenous and LGTQI persons with disabilities.