Earlier this month, ENIL presented you with the report of Tom Fadden – a member of the ENIL Youth Network from the UK, who was one of the participants in the ENIL Youth Leadership Program in 2016. His visit to Bulgaria impressed him immensely and he wrote a grabbing story (you can read it here). Now it is time to present you another fascinating report, coming from Iulia Dănilă from Romania, who had a one-week study visit in the UK, guided by the ENIL Youth Network chair Zara Todd. Part of Iulia’s report can be found in this article and the rest of it – at the link in the end. We hope you will enjoy reading it!
“My name is Iulia Dănilă, I am a disabled person / wheelchair user from Romania and a member of the European Network on Independent Living Youth Network. I was invited by ENIL Youth chair and ENIL board member Zara Todd to take part in a week-long leadership program in the UK. The study visit took part between 3rd and 11th December and its aim was to learn, understand and apply the real meaning of disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), the social model of disability and Independent Living in my own country.
On my first day in England I visited and had meetings with the leaders of three DPOs based in London: Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE), Transport for All and Inclusion London.
ALLFIE is a disabled people organization, run and directed by disabled individuals and lead by the idea that any child can be educated in mainstream schools, if you use the right measures, tools and techniques of teaching. “Intelligence is multi-faceted and there are no limits of success, just different types of it. All children are lead to improve their previous best and the most important is to focus constantly on what children can do, not on their weakness or impairments”.
Transport for all fights to make transport system in London accessible for disabled and older people.
Inclusion London tries to make London more inclusive than it is now. Its teams, trustees and allies are determined to ensure that organizations run by Deaf and disabled people have the information, tools and funds to promote human rights and Independent Living. More than seventy-one organizations are under the umbrella of Inclusion London. In a place like ALLFIE, Transport for all, Inclusion London or others DPO’s organizations, disabled people are the first to be involved, respected and supported. Members, allies, trustees and customers of DPOs are true followers of the Independent Living strongest principle: Nothing about us without us.
My learning process and life-changing experience continued at Equal Lives – a disabled people organization from Norwich where Zara, my host, a strong supporter during this period, is managing a team of people that are offering support in managing personal budgets, organizing some trainings, offering assistive or technical support, providing Membership and Independent Living Groups – all tools that help you to become fully independent and empowered. I had discussions with each team. Equal Lives is a Disabled people organization/ Center for Independent Living because 100% of their trustees and 50% of the staff are formed by disabled people who work together to include people that have impairments, social or economical problems in the society at all levels. The Services, assistance, support and peer counseling provided by Equal Lives are sustained with funds by the municipal government, trust funds and payments from disabled people.
This study visit helped me to understand that Independent Living means to have a fully accessible transport system, inclusive education, physical accessibility and appropriate information so that disabled people have choice and control over their lives. Organizations led by disabled people will give you the knowledge to inform, teach, empower and help others to live as independently as they can. Last but not the least, Independent Living means to have the right attitude (from both parts: Disabled people and Society). Also, there is a big difference between charities and disabled people organizations.”
You can read the second part of Iulia’s report here.