ENIL, Independent Living News.

Editorial Update

Welcome to the September issue of ENIL, Independent Living News! Firstly, we would really like to say a special thank you to all the Freedom Drivers who traveled to Strasbourg and for making this year's Freedom Drive such a unique event! 

The theme of this year's Freedom Drive was Ten Year's Closer to Freedom? and how far we have come in the last ten years was one of the questions we set out to answer in Strasbourg. There were many Independent Living pioneers in attendance who told us of the changes that have taken place since we first marched the streets of Strasbourg to the European Parliament ten years ago. One of the key developments has been the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ( UN CRPD). As stated by Judith Heumann in her speech during the Freedom Drive conference the UN CRPD shows a commitment to removing barriers but it is up to us to continue to campaign and ensure that these barriers are removed for all disabled people all across Europe. We must take the momentum and inspiration we have gained from the Freedom Drive and not allow the current economic crisis or political climate to stop us in our tracks from progressing the Independent Living Movement in every European country.

One of the key features of this year's Freedom Drive was the ENIL Youth Network members who held a session on Rejuvenating the Independent Living Movement. Their enthusiasm and energy ignited a renewed commitment and passion for the Independent Living Movement among many people and showed that the Independent Living Movement will continue to grow into the future. In this edition of the newsletter, we bring you an article about the Strasbourg Freedom Drive through the eyes of the young people who were in attendance for the first time. 

Most of all we hope that all Freedom Drivers enjoyed and were inspired by their experience in Strasbourg and gained greater insights into the lives of their fellow Europeans and will continue to join us a we campaign for equal rights for every disabled person in Europe. 

In this month's edition of the newsletter, we induct one of the pioneers of the Independent Living Movement into the ENIL Hall of Fame, Judith Heumann. We also introduce you to our latest Role Model, Jakob Rosin from Estonia and bring you the latest developments from Norway. Also it is now possible to watch the ENIL-STIL side event on Independent Living at the UN High Level meeting which was held on the 23rd September 2013 online.

We hope this edition of our newsletter brings you hope and inspiration! 

Hall of Fame: Judith Heumann 

ENIL is delighted to induct Judith E. "Judy" Heumann into the ENIL Hall of Fame. Thanks to some of her initiatives, activities and devotion many disabled people are able to prosper from Independent Living.

Judith E. "Judy" Heumann, (born 1947) is an American disability rights activist. She is internationally recognized as a leader of the disability community. Heumann has been a lifelong civil rights advocate for disabled people. 

The Strasbourg Freedom Drive - through the eyes of the first time Freedom drivers!

This year was the Strasbourg Freedom Drive’s 10th anniversary. It was the 6th Freedom Drive and it is still alive! The drive empowers people and makes a difference in their lives!

"This was my first Freedom Drive and I am sure that I never will forgot the time which I spent in Strasbourg. I have gained useful experience and new contacts from across Europe" says Gatis Caunitis. The Freedom Drive is like a key and it depends on every single participant as to how many doors will be opened with the key. But what makes this key so powerful?

Role Model: Jakob Rosin 

ENIL’s intern Mari Siilsalu met Jakob during a four day project in Estonia. Both of them were volunteering at this event. “We had 30 volunteers, but one guy was different. He made all people around him laugh very loud. So I could always hear where he was. Later I got to find out that his name is Jakob.” In this interview Mari talks with Jakob about his life story and how Independent Living became an important part of his life.

Could you tell me little about your background?
I was born theoretically visually impaired but having less than 0.1 of sight I am practically blind. 

 Mari Siilsalu tells us about her time as an intern with ENIL so far!

My name is Mari Siilsalu. I have been working for ENIL as an intern and as the ENIL coordinator of Estonia for about one and a half months. I enjoy the work as I feel I can be a bridge between Estonia and ENIL and I am at the same time learning many new things.

I made my first step into advocacy work a few years ago. When I no longer could control any muscles under my neck I learned how much Independent Living could actually mean. 

 Cuts and harsher conditions for disabled people in Norway?

With inspiration gained from the Strasbourg Freedom Drive Vibeke Maroy Melström, President of the European Network on Independent Living called for a renewal and stronger Independent Living movement and for a louder voice against the cuts to be heard in Europe.In her speech at the Strasbourg Freedom Drive Vibeke said “I come from Norway, a country that has so far avoided the economic downturn experienced by many European countries.

The UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto: Reclaiming our Futures

On the 4th of September as part of Disabled people against Cuts (DPAC’s) 7 days of action : reclaiming our futures, we launched the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto at the houses of Parliament as part of our UK Freedom Drive. It was facilitated by DPAC, Inclusion London, Equal Lives Norfolk (formerly Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People) and ALLFIE ( The Alliance for Inclusive Education) All user led active disability groups at the forefront of fighting the Westminster Government’s  attacks on disabled people and disabled peoples’ rights

Watch the ENIL-STIL Side Event on Independent Living

In cooperation with STIL and the Swedish delegation to the UN, ENIL is organised a side-event on progress in realising the right to Independent Living in Europe at the UN High Level Meeting on Disability and Development on the 23rd September 2013.

The side-event looked at the implementation of Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Living independently and being included in the community) in Europe and globally, more specifically at how to advance the right to Independent Living in developing countries, and how it can be promoted in the post-2015 development framework.
ENIL website
Forward to a Friend
Join ENIL Now!
Find us on Facebook!

More in this Issue

 10th Anniversary of the Freedom Drive 

Advertise in ENIL's Independent Living News!

Please click here to read ENIL's advertising policy.

Independent Living News!

Independent Living news! is ENIL's monthly email newsletter. As a grass roots organisation, ENIL wants to hear from you. Email Independent Living News! with your articles, promotions and photographs

ENIL is supported by: