We are getting close to the second European Independent Living Day – 5 May 2015 – a date that all of us should note down in our calendars.
Since last year, the situation of disabled people living in EU has not improved. We are still facing cuts and significant barriers to independent living and social inclusion. That is why it is essential to foster unity amongst us disabled people, so that we can inspire one another and together work to change the systems governing our lives and therewith our life conditions.
The European Independent Living Day – May 5th, gives us the opportunity to fight for the recognition of human rights and to raise awareness on Independent Living. It is an important step towards accessibility of mainstream services, the right to make our own choices and decisions, and the opportunity to live as equal citizens.
The campaign can be used to celebrate, protest or through other events focus on Independent Living. It is a tool for the spreading of our ideas throughout Europe, and for making our voices heard.
Last year’s events took place in 14 countries across Europe. Many organizations participated and were successful with their initiatives. Activities varied: a solidarity march and picnic took place in Belgium, posters in Bulgaria were shared at the Sofia airport stating the wish to immigrate to a country with better living conditions for disabled people, MEP candidates spent the day together with a disabled person in Estonia, so they could understand people’s individual needs in everyday life. In addition, photo exhibitions were staged and different topics were discussed at conferences, protests took place for example in Berlin and Stockholm, press releases were sent and the social media were actively used in many countries.
This year, ENIL hopes to achieve the same level of awareness-raising for Independent Living and participation of our members, and an even greater level of activity than last year! Several organisations have already started organising activities for May 5th:
- In Latvia, an exhibition will be used to raise awareness in the society about Independent Living. The photo exhibition will be held in the European Union House in Riga, Latvia.
- ULOBA is starting a TV broadcasting and will have a show on the importance of Personal Assistance.
- STIL in Sweden has a planning meeting on March 10th for the event.
- In Belgium, there are plans to meet people on the street and ask them if they know about Independent Living.
We encourage all Independent Living organisations and ENIL members in all countries, those who did or did not participate last year, to celebrate the day with us!
Contact Esti Arraztio at firstname.lastname@example.org to share with ENIL your plans for the event you are organising. This way we can inform the movement and inspire one another. ENIL thanks you and is looking forward to hearing all the interesting ideas and plans!
Together we are stronger!
Photo: Airport protest in Sofia, Bulgaria on 5 May 2014