ENIL, Independent Living News.

Editorial Update

Welcome to the April edition of ENIL,Independent Living News! 

We are delighted and encouraged that in these difficult times so many disabled people's organisations and European NGOs have shown their support to the Stop Disability Cuts Campaign and organised events on the 5th May 2014. These events will be used to highlight the disproportionate effects of the economic crisis on the lives of disabled people in Europe. In this newsletter, there is a full list of all of the events taking place across Europe if you wish to join in! The 5th May 2014 also marks the first European Independent Living Day and the Executive Director of ENIL, Jamie Bolling will make a speech to celebrate this. In her speech, Jamie will outline the premise for the Stop Disability Cuts campaign and the challenges that we face in the Independent Living Movement. One of the core messages of Jamie's speech will be the importance of voting in the European Elections as EU policy affects our national policy and can do so in a positive way if we vote in Members of the European Parliament who understand and support issues of Independent Living! The speech will be available to view on the ENIL website on the 5th May 2014. 

To support you in identifying a candidate that aligns with the Independent Living philosophy we have created an ENIL Election Toolkit which is available in this newsletter. We encourage all of our member to vote and ensure that our voices are heard and our votes counted! In this edition we also bring you an interview with MEP candidate, Helga Stevens who was the first Flemish deaf person in Belgium to receive a law degree. 

Also in this months newsletter, we bring you the latest ENIL Role Model, Paula Pietila from Finland and also introduce you to Lyudmila Borisova who tells us her story of growing up in institutions in Bulgaria. 

We hope you enjoy this newsletter and show your support for the Stop Disability Cuts Campaign on the 5th May! With your support we can send a strong message to national governments and Members of the European Parliament that the rights of all disabled people must be upheld in every member state. 

Join in: Stop Disability Cuts Campaign Events across Europe!

The Stop Disability Cuts Campaign will culminate on the 5th May 2014 with a number of events taking place across Europe. ENIL are delighted with the response from so many Centers of Independent Living and Disabled People's Organisations who have shown their support to the campaign and are organising events in their country. This is especially encouraging in these difficult times when disabled people have been hit by the economic austerity measures but it is clear from the number of people who have joined this campaign that there is a lot of drive among disabled people to ensure that the rights of all disabled people are upheld. This sends a powerful message to national Governments and Members of the European Parliament of what we as disabled people can do when we unite!

ENIL launch 2014 Election Toolkit

The ENIL Election Toolkit has been created to outline the importance of voting in the European Elections in May 2014 and to support you in how to identify voting for a candidate that aligns with the independent living philosophy. We encourage our members to be as active as possible in this campaigning period, the voice of every disabled person in Europe must be heard and counted!

Interview with MEP Candidate Helga Stevens 

Helga Stevens was the first Flemish deaf person in Belgium to receive a law degree in 1993 and to register as attorney with the Brussels Bar. She obtained her Licentiate in Law degree at the Catholic University of Leuven in 1993 and her Master of Laws degree (LL.M) at the University of California at Berkeley, USA in 1994. A full time politician since 2004 for N-VA, Helga Stevens was re-elected into the Flemish Parliament in 2009. She is also a ‘Community Senator’ (since 2007) meaning that she sits both in the Flemish Parliament and the Senate.  During the July 2010 elections for the Senate Helga scored as the 10th most popular politician in Flanders and 16th most popular politician in Belgium. She continues to have a double political mandate as ‘Community Senator’.


 Role Model: Paula Pietila 

Paula Pietilä lives in Turku, Finland. She is the vice chairperson of the local independent living center in Turku and is involved in the Finnish independent living movement since the early 1990`s. In her daily life she works as a disability coordinator at the University of Turku, with the responsibility of counselling services for disabled students and for staff members. Developing the work of an accessible university is also an important part of her job.

What is your personal experience of disability?
I have been disabled since birth. I have cerebral palsy, which affects my mobility and motoric skills. I use a walker and wheelchair and I have two personal assistants, who help me at work and at home.

Contribute to ENIL's Shadow Report on the implementation of Article 19 of the CRPD on the European Union (deadline 16/05/2014) 

The European Union ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) on 23 December 2010. It is due to submit its first official report to the CRPD Committee later this year.
To ensure that the CRPD Committee has a full picture of what progress has been made in implementing the CRPD since the EU’s ratification, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) will submit a Shadow report in September 2014

My Story: Lyudmila Borisova 

After my last visit to Sofia my lips are still cracked. Why? Because I participated in a meeting where I heard about the life stories of people confined to living in institutions. Life stories which rang a bell because I have had the same experience.

John Evans, one of the pioneers of the independent living movement was in Bulgaria for a conference on deinstitutionalization.  He used the opportunity to visit CIL Sofia’s office where a meeting with independent living followers was organized.

I’d like to share with you my life story as a disabled person who has more than enough experience with institutions;

ENIL's achievements so far in 2014!

ENIL’s project “ Proud, Strong and Visible – Promoting Choice, Control and Participation of Disabled people in Europe funded by the European Commission 2014 PROGRESS Action Grant is currently being implemented. We are continuing in our aim to facilitate the implementation of Article 19 ( Living independently and being included in the community) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities ( CRPD) by the Member States and the European Union. As we review the first quarter of 2014, we are delighted that a number of key activities of the ENIL Project have been successful carried out.

ENIL cooperates with the ERASMUS Student Network on mobility project on accessibility!

Mobility offers young people opportunities for self-development and enhances their future employability. Participation in exchange programmes is challenging for young people, as they are facing an unfamiliar environment, such as a new language and culture. It can be even more difficult for students with disabilities who may face inaccessible environments or disability-related stereotypes.
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More in this Issue

Historical systemic change in disabled people's sector in Flanders
From Belgium to the UK- another fight against Euthanasia!
New ENIL Representative elected to the FRA Advisory Panel
Stop Disability Cuts Campaign Action in Belgium 

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