My PFP Experience

written by Ion Schidu from Moldova

My Fellowship in Boston, Massachusetts, it has been so intensive so far! Wow!

I should start by saying that Boston is an absolutely amazing city! It is one of the oldest cities in the United States, which played a key role in several events of the American Revolution; a city with phenomenal historical sightseeings and United States’ many firsts (first subway system, first public school, etc.). Also, Boston is known to be the home of the best and oldest universities and colleges in the world, such as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and many others. Boston is also a very vibrant city, with many fun things to do and events to attend to for each and every one: sports lovers, technophiles, art enthusiasts or gourmands, you name it!

Sounds intriguing, isn’t it?!

From the first days of my fellowship, Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities – my fellowship placement – has facilitated my introduction to the US standards on the rights of persons with disabilities and connected me with professionals and events relevant to my field of expertise – human rights, including disability rights. Thus, in the following days after my arrival I had the opportunity to meet activists, students and distinguished professors of human rights from the University of Massachusetts Boston and other local universities, participated in a training on inclusive education for the Disability Commission staff, attended to a conference on minority health policy at the Harvard Medical School.

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The next week continued with even more substance and intensity: I have assisted at the meeting of the Architectural Access Board (institution totally new to me) which is a collegial body that develops and enforces regulations designed to make public buildings accessible for use by persons with disabilities. On May, at the Supreme Judicial Court of for the Commonwealth I have assisted at a though-provoking hearing initiated by a person with disabilities against the Department of Housing and Community Development regarding its refuse to place people with disabilities in motels if other housing options don’t meet their needs.

At the same time, I have gladly accepted the invitation of my colleagues from the Boston Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities (Disability Commission) to facilitate a brief induction training for the staff on the UN Human rights mechanisms and their interaction with Member-States. At this moment, I am involved in delivering a succinct assessment of the different aspects of work delivered by the Disability Commission, in order to contribute to improving the human rights based approach in the work of the Disability Commission.

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When it comes to extracurricular activities, Boston has a lot to offer and I prefer to do a little of everything. I ran for a world without hunger and breast cancer, visited the Boston tattoo convention, had an inspirational tour at MIT, enjoyed the sightseeing of the Old Town and tried a few traditional national cuisines, volunteered in the support of those suffering from hunger and malnutrition in Massachusetts, met with the Boston’s underground nightlife and wandered through the oldest public park in the US. What an amazing experience!

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