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. An interim board was elected and operated until the first General Assembly of the network. It took place on 26 September 2017, during the Freedom Drive. Te new ENIL Youth Network Board was elected.
The current board members are:
Radoš Keravica (Serbia) – chair
Rebecca Farren (UK) – vice-chair
Kamil Goungor (Greece)
Beyza Unal (Turkey)
Marijeta Mojasevic (Montenegro)
The Youth Network and its board will be supported by Dilyana Deneva 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.
How can I get more involved?
The board is currently developing a new work strategy for the network. All activities and future plans will be announced on the ENIL website and on the Youth Network Facebook group.
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 email@example.com
Contact the Youth Network coordinator Diyana Deneva – firstname.lastname@example.org