£730.00raised of £10,000.00 goal goal
We envision a world where disabled students have the same access to education as non-disabled students. We are working to make universities truly accountable to their disabled students and to disability law
Disabled Students UK has quickly become the largest disabled student-led organisation in the UK. We are made up of almost 500 current and former disabled students from 60 different universities. Due to this and our evidence-based approach, we have been repeatedly approached by decision-makers for consultation. We use disabled-led expertise to create structures of accountability in regards to accessibility in Higher Education. We do this through empowering disabled students, spreading disabled students’ insights into accessibility and informing policy.
From rather humble beginnings, through the dedication, commitment and collaborative practices of our community, we have already had an impact on the sector. A few of our key achievements over the last 18 months have included:
- Our report on the impact of the pandemic being mentioned in parliament. An update of which is due to come out in winter 2021;
- We were recognised in the Disability Power 100 list as one of the most influential disabled individuals and organisations in Britain;
- Leading training for Student Union Staff on Tackling Disability Issues and supporting Disabled Students
We are seeking to expand our reach and facilitate real accountability within the sector and ensure that we are able to use the experience of our community to inform policy in the area.
What your money can help us deliver?
In our last two years of operation, we have been working without any funding and have been delivering our services and work unpaid. We would like to change this and we would like to use the money raised from this campaign to improve and develop what we can offer to our volunteers and community as well as to our partners, stakeholders and industry leaders.
- £200 - Help us deliver a healing event, such as Artivisim for our community;
- £600 - 8 hours of captioning to make our events and co-working sessions with our community more accessible and inclusive;
My name is Mette and I am an autistic and chronically ill MSc student studying Cognitive Neuroscience. I am also the Chief Executive and Founding Director of Disabled Students UK (DSUK). The idea to create DSUK came to me after the inaccessibility of my last course forced me to leave that university. It became clear that I was not the only one experiencing inaccessibility and so I led a group of disabled students in the work to create a report on the situation. The report quickly became widely spread – eliciting recognition from disabled students at a variety of universities.
When we as disability activists realised that our experiences were shared, we also realised that we were stronger together – so in February of 2020 I called the first meeting of DSUK. That we have grown so quickly and experienced such success demonstrates the enormous strength of community. We are now the biggest disabled student-led organisation in the UK.
Before DSUK existed there was little communication between disabled students on a national level. Due to both the financial and time costs associated with being disabled both at university and in society as a whole Disabled Students are often extremely resource-limited.
To bring disabled students together required a new approach. Instead of taking the political route of knowing the right people in the right factions DSUK stayed out of the in-fighting and focused on sharing our experiences and delivering results. As disabled students saw our output they started gathering, inspired by the potential of being able to use their limited time and energy toward making a difference.
As all of our volunteers, including our three Directors, are disabled, we had to be innovative in our organisational approach. Too often disabled student activists crumble under expectations that they should be able to function the same way as non-disabled activists: “Disabled Student Officers” at universities often burn out before the end of their term. In addition, the pandemic has disproportionately affected disabled students. At DSUK we emphasise accessibility, collaboration and clear communication around limitations. We ask volunteers to write down important access requirements when they join us and have created a Community Culture document which has been much appreciated and is being continuously expanded by new volunteers.
- Mark Glasgow
- Campaign Owner
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