Developing legal curriculum and leading interactive workshops to support self-advocacy
Chosen Power (People First Hong Kong) is a self-help organization founded in 1995. It is the first self-advocacy and self-help organization run by persons with different learning abilities in Asia. In 2004, the Hong Kong Company Registry informed Chosen Power that persons with intellectual disabilities could not be appointed as directors under Hong Kong Company Law, so the organization amended its Constitution and expanded its membership to persons with other learning abilities. On July 1, 2006, Chosen Power registered as a non-profit organization and registered as a company limited under Hong Kong Company Law in January 2008. Fifteen executive members with different learning abilities govern the organization. It advocates for “Liberty for All”, “Self-Advocacy and Independence” and “Inclusive Community with Respect to all walks of life.” The organization now has over 100 members of different learning abilities and recently established its parents’ network in order to gain direct access to talk to the Government (because the Hong Kong government only provides consultative meetings with parents but not people with disabilities.)
Background of the Clinical Partnership
This partnership is part of Chosen Power’s long-term community education and advocacy strategy.
The partnership began in the first term of the 2014-15 academic year. HKU law students worked with Chosen Power to update and operationalize a “Know Your Rights” manual series for persons with disabilities in Hong Kong.
Based on the manual series, Chosen Power and HKU law students continued to work together to develop interactive legal curriculum and lead regular training sessions for people with disabilities in Hong Kong. The first series of interactive training sessions took place in the second term of the 2014-15 academic year. Three LLM students at HKU developed an interactive legal curriculum and led a series of 4 interactive training sessions on voting rights for 30 members of Chosen Power.
The training curriculum is based on the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its implementation in the HK context. Every year since 2014 HKU and Chosen Power have continued to collaborate by designing and implementing legal workshops.
The aim of this clinical project is to support and expand Chosen Power’s members’ critical-thinking skills and legal knowledge in order to strengthen their advocacy efforts.
- The right to live in the community: recognizing and reporting abuse;
- Living in the community and employment rights: financial management, fair wages; and
- Supported decision-making.
As LLM students in the Human Rights in Practice Clinic, Jennifer Cheung Yi Man, Huang Yizhi, and Jessica Cheung Tsz Yan, designed and led a series of 4 interactive workshops focused on the political participation and voting rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Chosen Power members engaged in activities which strengthened their legal knowledge and supported their ability to exercise their rights. This simple yet effective game demonstrated how otherwise abstract legal concepts could be distilled into practical and actionable knowledge.
Students in the Human Rights in Practice Clinic share their experience and reflections on working with Chosen Power.