Hello. I’m Marina Voudouri. I’m Greek and I live in Italy. Before that I lived in Greece, in Cyprus and in the UK where I did my Master’s degree in Special Education. I left my parents’ home when I was 18 and moved to study at English Language & Literature University. At that time I had a mild disability which has developed through the years. This however hasn’t decreased my independent living. My wheelchair, various adaptations to my car and home, personal assistance and friends have helped me to keep on having a very active social life. I fight every day against the risk to be obliged to move to an institution in the future and I think it is highly essential to influence European and national policies in order to close down all institutions and let people live in their homes.
I’m in the ENIL Italia Board. I’m also an activist in a political movement of citizens, Beppe Grillo’s 5-Star Movement. Italy’s growing economic problems, together with private interests and political corruption that are interested in “investing” money on institutions, haven’t permitted to make important steps forward in the IL matter in the past few years contrary to the country’s tradition to be avant-garde in disability rights matters, and the Italian parliament is currently discussing a law proposal that encourages disabled people to either fully depend on their families or move to “small-sized” institutions. We are determined to prevent this proposal from becoming an Italian law and to use even international Courts in order to stop this tendency against de-institutionalisation. Such campaigns and promotion of IL for all kinds of disabilities are the ones that I want to put forward together with ENIL.