Date and place
From the 26th – 28th September, ENIL will hold its 10th Freedom Drive in Brussels, Belgium. The Freedom Drive is open to independent living activists, allies, DPOs and NGOs from Europe and beyond.
Register here until 1st September 2022.
The overall theme of the 2022 Freedom Drive will be “50 Years of Independent Living” and it will be dedicated to Kapka Panayotova, our former President and the founder of Independent Living in Bulgaria, who passed away suddenly in October last year.
Overview of the programme
Day 0, 25th September – Arrival of the Freedom Drivers in Brussels
Day 1, 26th September – There will be six workshops during the first day of the Freedom Drive, on the following topics: Monitoring and reporting; Deinstitutionalisation; Personal Assistance; Promoting the UN CRPD in Belgium; Youth and Employment. Examples of good practice, reports and toolkits will be presented by our members from across Europe and external speakers. Freedom Drivers will be able to register before each workshop and collect their T-shirt and materials.
We recommend that those whose countries have Members in the European Parliament schedule their meetings with MEPs during Day 1 too, if they can.
In the evening, members of the ENIL Board and Youth Board will meet to discuss ENIL’s proposal for the European Commission guidelines on Independent Living.
Day 2, 27th September – The second day of the Freedom Drive will start with a protest march through Brussels. Banners, drums, whistles and other things to make noise are strongly encouraged. We also plan to have a surprise art installation somewhere along the protest route. Our aim will be to pass all important EU institutions, and end in front of the European Parliament.
After the protest, representatives of Freedom Drive delegation will go to the European Parliament for a hearing hosted by MEP Marisa Matias and MEP José Gusmão (GUE/NGL Group). We will discuss the outcomes of ENIL’s Independent Living Survey, which has mapped access to the right to independent living and being included in the community across Europe, and the implementation of the UN CRPD in the European Union.
During the second day, there will also be an interactive, half-day event for young people to explore activism, organised by Dr. Miro Griffiths from the University of Leeds (please note that you need to apply in advance to attend). At the end of the second day, we will have a party for all the Freedom Drivers, with food and drinks. You will also be able to meet those standing for the ENIL Board, to be elected during the online General Assembly on the 15th October 2022.
Day 3, 28th September – On the final day of the Freedom Drive, we will get together for a conference to share and learn from each other. We will focus on the role of present and future of Independent Living — digital technologies, youth and personal assistance. With major funding available to Member State to support the development of digital technologies, we want to adopt our position as the Independent Living movement on the issue.
Download the full draft programme, with speakers, here.
The conference and the party will be held at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel, next door to the European Parliament. If you would like to book a room at the hotel, please use this link.
Other venues will also be close to the European Parliament – Mundo J, Mundo madou and the Nordic House Brussels. While we hope that most participants will be able to join in person, we will also make sure that online participation is possible, at least for some of the events.
Registration for the Freedom Drive is obligatory. The only event that does not require registration is the protest through Brussels, which is open to the general public.
Register here until 1st September 2022.
ENIL is unable to cover participants’ travel costs, with the exception of speakers and members of ENIL’s governing bodies.
The fee for taking part in the Freedom Drive is: 30 Euro for ENIL members (50 Euro if you are coming with a Personal Assistant) OR 50 Euro for non-members (80 Euro if you are coming with a Personal Assistant). The Freedom Drive participation fee covers the following: documents, promotional materials (T-shirt and the FD publication), coffee breaks during the workshops, coffee breaks and lunch on 28 September, food and drinks during the Party, sandwiches after the march. Please note that you are required to pay the fee even if you are not coming to all the events.
Participation fee must be paid by 1st September. In exceptional circumstances, we may allow people to pay on the spot (please note that this will only be possible on the 26 September and not during the rest of the week).
ENIL is unable to cover participants’ accommodation costs, with the exception of speakers and members of ENIL’s governing bodies.
If you prefer to stay close to the meeting venues, you can choose the Renaissance Brussels Hotel (see above, under Venues) or Hotel Adagio (next door to Mundo J). If you wish to reserve a room in Hotel Adagio, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and mention: ENIL / Freedom Drive 2022
We have also compiled a list of accessible hotels, which you can use to find something that suits your budget.
The 2022 Freedom Drive is co-funded by the European Union, through the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme (CERV), ULOBA (Norway), STIL and GIL (Sweden).