The ILO held a panel discussion on the impact of the economic crisis on people with disabilities, with Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin delivering a keynote address. Ms. Matlin urged that people with disabilities be "counted in" efforts to stimulate and support economic recovery. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
Deaf since she was 18 months old, Ms. Matlin has overcome her disability on stage and screen, and currently serves as an advocate for people with disabilities and the deaf. Photo:ILO/Albouy P.
Before addressing the ILO, Ms. Matlin visited a local Primary School to meet hearing-impaired students aged 6 to 16. She told them about growing up deaf and said, "Never let anyone inhibit your dreams or let your disability dictate who you are or what you want. Follow your dreams". Photo:ILO/Albouy P.
Teachers at the school where hearing-impaired children take part in the regular curriculum with other pupils. Photo:ILO/Albouy P.
During her visit to the ILO, Ms Matlin urged that "disabled persons be 'counted in' programmes and services, including vocational and training, that help equip and prepare them for the economic upturn.". Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
Ms. Matlin stressed that people with disabilities face poverty both in developed and developing countries. She also said disabled women and girls are particularly at risk of being poor, especially in developing countries. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
Ms. Matlin initiates the "deaf-applause". In calling for a wider recognition of disabled people's rights in the world of work, she says ask yourselves: "what can I do to include people with disabilities, what can I do to break down the barriers?". Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
The audience applauds in sign language. Photo:ILO/Crozet M.
Ms. Matlin concluded her appearance with the words, "We cannot afford to let the most vulnerable members of society remain an afterthought. In the end, though some may think I live in a world of silence, silence is the last thing the world will ever hear from me.". Photo:ILO/Crozet M.