An inclusive and welcoming community?  Not when institutions exist!!

Join us at the We are One Festival, on 21 – 22 October 2021

In memory of Slawek Besowski

The existence of institutions where people are placed often from an early age due to their individual and complicated support needs cast a shadow across all our communities and the society we are all part of.  The ongoing existence, in some cases renovation of such places and the building of new ones should alarm us all.  For all our celebration of being part of an activist community we cannot ignore the ongoing incarceration of thousands of people across Europe and the wider world.

In Europe, the European Network for Independent Living (, along with allies, has been championing the rights of disabled people of all ages to independent living, in line with the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Working together with many others as part of the European Coalition for Community Living (, an informal network of people across Europe, we have come together a number of times to share work, practice and network.  In April 2021, an online event shared work from a number of projects tackling the challenges of closing an institution. You can read about it here.

We welcome this opportunity to be part of the We Are One Festival, (, and are hosting two lunchtime sessions on Thursday 21st October and Friday 22nd October 2021. Download the flyer here.

The first session will centre on the voices of people with lived experience, telling us clearly why the closure of institutions is so vitally important.  The second will provide an update on a number of pieces of work featured in April, a sort of ’six months on and what progress have we made?’.

Please come along, show your support and join with us and many others in contributing however we can to making this a truly welcoming and inclusive society.

Session 1 – It’s all about a better life!

Thursday 21st October, 12 – 1.30pm CET

To register for the event, CLICK HERE.

Hearing from people who have been supported to move out of long stay institutions, or were able to leave thanks to personal assistance. Listening to those are are going into institutions, exposing and challenging human rights violations. While the closure of institutions is so important, and however difficult it is, the most important thing never ever to forget is that it is about people’s lives.

Welcome and introduction by the moderator – Ines Bulic Cojocariu, ENIL-ECCL

Welcome to the “We Are One” Festival – John Dalrymple and Frances Brown

My life in the community after 20 years in institutions – Marcel Lemnaru, a self-advocate from the Republic of Moldova, supported by Keystone Moldova

Disabled people advocating for deinstitutionalisation in Poland – Lukasz Orylski, Centre for Independent Living Poland

Exposing human rights violations in institutions – Dragana Ciric Milovanovic, Director of Europe Regional Office, Disability Rights International

Using litigation to get people out of institutions – Steven Allen, Co-Director, Validity Foundation

What can we do? Making a personal contribution – Panel Discussion

Session 2 – Doing the work

Friday 22nd October, 12 – 1.30pm CET

To register for the event, CLICK HERE.

Hearing about work from groups who featured in our earlier online workshop (and others) in March 2021, each group will be able to share progress over the past six months.  This is an opportunity to hear about work to close institutions as it happens.

Welcome and introduction by the moderator – Nic Crosby, ENIL-ECCL

France (Laurence Le Blet)

Slovenia (Andreja Rafaelic and Katarina Ficko)

Greece (Kamil Goungor and Vasilis Kalopisis)

Italy (Roberto Messina)

Czech Republic (Jan Pfeiffer)

Slovakia (Miro Csangar)

How do we build momentum and support? – Panel Discussion

Our community ECCL and what next? – Ines Bulic Cojocariu and Nic Crosby

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