Increasing the involvement of young people in the Independent Living movement has been designated as one of ENIL’s priorities for 2011 – 2013. To this end, ENIL is in the process of establishing its Youth Network and is actively involving young people in all of its activities, as well as giving them an opportunity to address policy makers and represent the organisation at important events. The youngest participant in ENIL’s Freedom Drive 2011, a biennial lobbying and networking event held in Strasbourg, was Alex, a 16-year old girl from Bulgaria, affiliated with the Centre for Independent Living Sofia.
ENIL works to encourage and support the involvement of young disabled people in advocating for human rights in their countries and at the European level. For this reason, in October 2012 ENIL organised a study session for young people (in cooperation with the Council of Europe) which aimed to give participants the necessary skills to work with other young disabled people in their countries. After the study session, ENIL sought to involve as many of the participants in its Youth Network, and provided the necessary support for their work at the local and national level.
ENIL youth network formalisation and introduction of interim board
Following the Freedom Drive (29th September – 1st October), the ENIL Youth Network now formally exists within ENIL.
Why have we done this?
This means that the Youth Network can now start to look for more opportunities in the youth field in Europe and that we are developing our organisational structures so that more people can get involved and so that we can do more things as a network. Its aim is to provide a platform for young disabled people to engage with youth and disability work at European level.
The Youth Network was established in October 2012 following the first ENIL study session. Since then it has existed informally through a Facebook group, which now has over 300 members for over 20 countries.
Formalising the network and the founding board
On 29th September, those present at the Freedom Drive, agreed that the Youth Network should formally exist and adopted a draft constitution on how the network should work. A team of six interim board members and one coordinator was selected.
The interim board members are:
Aleksandra Surla (28) from Slovenia
Gatis Caunitis (27) from Latvia – (vice chair)
Miro Griffiths (26) from the United Kingdom
Radoš Keravica (29) from Serbia
Zara Todd (30) from the United Kingdom – (chair)
The Youth Network and its board will be supported by Dilyana Deneva (28) from Bulgaria – who is employed by ENIL as the Youth Network coordinator.
The Youth Network remains part of ENIL but has its own decision-making structures.
What next and how can I get more involved?
The board will work until the next Freedom Drive in 2017, to develop the network and its structures with the aim that in 2017 full elections can take place and a full work programme can be developed.
The ENIL Youth Network has six task groups to work on the priority areas selected by the network members. These task groups are open to any member of the Network who is between 18 and 35 years of age, living in Europe and identify as a disabled person.
The six task groups are:
- strategy and fundraising for the network
- Independent Living
- sexuality and relationships
- IFM-SEI/ENIL collaboration
Terms of references for the task groups can be found here.
For signing up in any of the task groups and for further information, send an email to Dilyana Deneva at email@example.com
How to get in touch with the ENIL Youth Network
Join the Facebook group
Become officially a member of the ENIL Youth Network by following this link and state in the form that you wish to be a member of the youth network.
Follow us on Twitter
Email the board at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact the Youth Network coordinator Diyana Deneva – email@example.com