Increasing the involvement of young people in the Independent Living movement has been designated as one of ENIL’s priorities for 2011 – 2013. To this end, ENIL is in the process of establishing its Youth Network and is actively involving young people in all of its activities, as well as giving them an opportunity to address policy makers and represent the organisation at important events. The youngest participant in ENIL’s Freedom Drive 2011, a biennial lobbying and networking event held in Strasbourg, was Alex, a 16-year old girl from Bulgaria, affiliated with the Centre for Independent Living Sofia.
ENIL works to encourage and support the involvement of young disabled people in advocating for human rights in their countries and at the European level. For this reason, in October 2012 ENIL organised a study session for young people (in cooperation with the Council of Europe) which aimed to give participants the necessary skills to work with other young disabled people in their countries. After the study session, ENIL sought to involve as many of the participants in its Youth Network, and provided the necessary support for their work at the local and national level.
- To give an opportunity to young disabled people to identify areas/issues which ENIL should be focusing on and which are of particular relevance to young people in different European countries;
- To provide a forum for young people to share information and ideas;
- To strengthen the leadership skills of young people within the Independent Living movement;
- To give an opportunity to young people active in the Independent Living movement to act as role models to their peers;
- To give an opportunity to young people to represent ENIL at different meetings and events;
- To improve participation of young people in ENIL’s activities, especially the Freedom Drive;
- To improve representation of young people on the Board of ENIL;
- To increase the number of young members with ENIL;
- To ensure that the way ENIL communicates responds to what young people want.
Although ENIL Youth Network is still a young organisation, a range of diverse activities has been planned, and part of this plan has already been implemented.
Since 2016, ENIL Youth Network has had a representative on the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe. The first appointed representative was Agnes Sarolta Fazekas (2016/2017), followed by Rebecca Farren/Marijeta Mojasevic (2018/2019); currently, this role is occupied by Marijeta Mojasevic (2020/2021). To read about the activities of ENIL Youth representatives on this Advisory Council from 2016 – 2019, please click here.
The Youth Network was established in October 2012 following the first ENIL study session. Since then it has existed informally through a Facebook group, which now has over 300 members for over 20 countries.
2015 – ENIL youth network formalisation and introduction of interim board
On 29th September, those present at the Freedom Drive, agreed that the Youth Network should formally exist and adopted a draft constitution on how the network should work. A team of six interim board members and one coordinator was selected. An interim board was elected and operated until the first General Assembly of the network. It took place on 26 September 2017, during the Freedom Drive. Te new ENIL Youth Network Board was elected.
Why have we done this?
This means that the Youth Network can now start to look for more opportunities in the youth field in Europe and that we are developing our organisational structures so that more people can get involved and so that we can do more things as a network. Its aim is to provide a platform for young disabled people to engage with youth and disability work at European level.
The Youth Network remains part of ENIL but has its own decision-making structures.
Fatma Bulic – chair
Miroslava Ivanovic – co-vice-chair
Charlie Wills – co-vice-chair
Getting involved, Getting in touch
Join the Facebook group. The board is currently developing a new work strategy for the network. All activities and future plans will be announced in this Facebook group and on this website.
Become officially a member of the ENIL Youth Network by following this link and state in the form that you wish to be a member of the youth network.
Follow us on Twitter
Email the board at firstname.lastname@example.org