A Southern European Region of ENIL has been in existence since the beginning of 2012.The Region is coordinated by the Centre for Independent Living in Sofiaand personally overseen by Peter Kichashki. Although CIL Sofia is well-known in the Region for promoting independent living, Peter is a relatively new face – a young, energetic and remarkably smart guy who won’t be held back from being part of a good cause by any barrier. Despite his youth he has a lot of experience in fighting discrimination through taking cases to the Bulgarian Anti-Discrimination Board. At the moment he is studying Law at theNewBulgarianUniversity.
Centre for Independent Living Sofia was set up in 1995 and since then has been mainly involved in political work to promote independent living. During its years of hard work, CIL Sofia has managed to assemble a network of friends and supporters to fight for a shared cause and make serious efforts to achieve Independent Living aims inBulgaria. CIL Sofia has enjoyed a lot of media coverage and public attention: its media monitoring report for the past year shows more than 90 pages of media clippings and approximately 80% of the disability issues in public debate in Bulgaria are linked to CIL Sofia activities. Such attention helps widen CIL Sofia’s network yet further. These achievements have made CIL Sofia an organisation with strong public influence in its representation of the voice of Independent Living inBulgaria.
Unfortunately,Bulgariahas turned out to be a difficult place to embed IL policies in the mainstream –Bulgariais among the very few European countries, which have not ratified the UN CRPD yet. Government plans to have the ratification voted on in 2012. We believe that this will make a huge difference and will mark a turning point after which the Government will no longer be able to practice its old habits of ignoring the rights of disabled people.