This year, the Independent Living organization in Norway – ULOBA celebrates 25 years. Their Pride March, organized every year in June, has brought together hundreds of Independent Living followers, making the event stronger than ever. The slogan “Proud, Strong, Visible” and the red T-shirts echoed through and coloured the Oslo streets on Saturday, 18th June.
A total of 3,000 disabled persons in Norway have personal assistance budgets (or BPA). Brought together by ULOBA, they marched with families, friends and supporters, with the message “Assistance is the Solution”!
Personal assistance allows people to live ordinary lives in families with education, employment and recreation. Cuts to support services and benefits in Norway are putting all this into jeopardy and are negatively affecting people’s lives. ULOBA advocates against the cuts, as well as the growing trend of institutionalisation in Norway. The number of persons living in group homes is steadily growing – a fact that ULOBA is concerned about and is making efforts to prevent.
The ULOBA Pride Prize Award, handed out each year to a person or organization who has done exceptional work to improve the lives of disabled people in Norway, went this year to Berit Vegheim for her work on disability hate crime.
On the occasion of the Pride March, ULOBA created a film about the importance of personal assistance, with images from the march. Several ULOBA members are interviewed and give powerful testimonies of changes and cuts taking place in Norway today.
Photo: The ULOBA March with protesting people in the street.