Role Models

Apr 02, 2014,

Role Model: Paula Pietilä

Paula Pietilä lives in Turku, Finland. She is the vice chairperson of the local independent living center in Turku and is involved in the Finnish independent living movement since the early 1990`s. In her daily life she works as a disability coordinator at the University of Turku, with the responsibility of counselling services for disabled…

Mar 28, 2014,

Role Model: Brian Hogan

Brian Hogan is a 47 year old man from Tulla, Co. Clare in Ireland. He has been described by colleagues and friends as a leader in his community due in part to his extensive and varied work within the voluntary sector in Clare. He has been advocating for the rights of people with disabilities for…

Feb 27, 2014,

Meet Jan Troost from the Netherlands

Jan is 55 years old, married with two children. From the age of 14 he has been actively defending the interests of disabled people. He is a qualified social worker. For 15 years he worked on a national level, mainly as the Chairman of the CG-Raad (Council of the Chronically ill and Disabled), which is…

Dec 19, 2013,

Role Model: Mari Siilsalu

This month our Role Model is Mari Siilsalu and we speak with  her about how she developed the idea of peer counseling being introduced into schools in Estonia and how she made this into a reality. Mari Siilsalu, the ENIL coordinator of Estonia, won a prize! Tartu City in Estonia awarded her the Youth of…

Oct 24, 2013,

Role Model: Lyudmila Borissova

Lyudmila is a 39-years-old person of short stature from Bulgaria. She lived with her family until she was three years old. Since then she’s been living in different institutions, including Mogilino – an institution that was featured on a documentary for the BCC due to the conditions there.  She’s gone through many difficult moments but…

Sep 30, 2013,

Role Model – Jakob Rosin

ENIL’s intern Mari Siilsalu met Jakob during a four day project in Estonia. Both of them were volunteering at this event. “We had 30 volunteers, but one guy was different. He made all people around him laugh very loud. So I could always hear where he was. Later I got to find out that his…

Aug 29, 2013,

Role Model: Aleksandra Surla

Aleksandra is our newest ENIL Role Model, she is from Ljubljana, Slovenia and in this interview she tells us about her life and her ambitions. Tell me about your background My name is Aleksandra Surla and I was born on 15th of March 1987. I live in Ljubljana, Slovenia and I have been blind since…

Aug 08, 2013,

Role Model: Sergei Drozdovskiy

Sergei Drozdovskiy works for the Office for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Minsk, Belarus. He was born in 1973 and graduated from the Belarusian State Polytechnic University (Engineering).  He has worked with civil society organisations, as a Project Coordinator and in NGO Management.  He has been disabled since 1996.  In 1997, he was one…

Jun 25, 2013,

Role Model: Daniela Todorova

Daniela Todorova is a Bulgarian parathlete in her thirties and all of her life she has been a javelin thrower. Seven years ago, while being at a training camp with the other athletes from the national team of Bulgaria, she got a spinal cord injury. Less than a year after this life-threatening event she returned…

May 16, 2013,

Role Model: Aleksis Sarma

Aleksis Sarma is one of founders of the “Latvian Movement for Independent Living” which was founded in 2009 and has been involved in this for the past four years. He is an active member of society and is currently studying social work in a Bachelor program. He actively participates in the “Latvian Red Cross Youth”…

Apr 24, 2013,

Role Model: Introducing Danijela Jovanović

Danijela Jovanović was born in 1968 in Belgrade. She spent her childhood living in several foster homes and when she was eleven years old, in May 1979, she was placed in an Institution for children and youth with intellectual disabilities in the town of Sremčica. In early 2004, thanks to the Association for Promoting Inclusion…

Oct 25, 2012,

Role Model: Chrysis Michaelides

Chrysis Michaelides received a B.A. in Business Administration and Interpersonal Management, from Athens School of Economics in 1979. He is now President of the “European Social Forum of Cyprus” which is a national network of NGO’s. He also works with the “Cyprus Organization of Rehabilitation of Disabled” which is the oldest and biggest organisation for…

Oct 24, 2012,

Role Model: Finn Hellman

Finn Hellman is a journalist and activist, with a focus on disability issues. Currently, he works part time as ombudsman for the left party in Dalarna in Sweden. What is your personal experience of disability? I am blind since three years of age. How did you discover the Independent Living movement? In the Spring of…

Oct 01, 2012,

Meet Spaska Davranova, from Sofia in Bulgaria

Spaska Yordanova Davranova is from Sofia in Bulgaria and works for the Bulgarian National Radio. Since 2009, she has lived in her own place in Sofia and has her own assistance.

May 31, 2012,

Meet Juan Benages from Valencia (Spain)

Juan Benages was born in 1972 in Benetusser, a small town near Valencia (Spain). He worked as a graphic designer for 6 years, after which he studied film directing. He is now a Social Integrator and a part of the ENIL team in Valencia, where he collaborates actively with the Spanish Forum for Independent Living in…

Nov 19, 2011,

Role model: Meet Jose Alfonso Lopez from Spain

That’s my evolution in “The two Europes”: a mix of contrasts with a bittersweet taste. I’m José Alfonso. I’ve been on a wheelchair all my life and this is what I want to explain. My experience on wheels is a continuous challenge. I hate the monotony and I am so emotive, restless, that I can…

Jul 06, 2011,

Meet Magnus Andén, from Stockholm (Sweden)

Magnus Andén has been the chairman of JAG since the association started in 1992, nearly 20 years ago. In that role – as in life itself, as in this interview – Magnus needs support to formulate. This support is given to Magnus by his legal representative that functions both as a decision aid and interpreter….

Jul 05, 2011,

Meet Pilar O’Connor, Valencia (Spain)

Although my surname might make you think that I am Irish, I was born in Valencia (Spain) forty-nine years ago. I spent most life in a small town on the Mediterranean coast until I moved to the city where I am living now and that is the same city where I was born. I share…

Jun 14, 2011,

Meet Katja Villatoro, Valencia (Spain)

My name is Katja and I live in a village near Valencia for almost ten years. Before I used to live in Benidorm (Alicante), my profession was in the healthcare area and I was working in a private clinic as an assistant in the surgical area. I have a son, Unai, he lived with me…