In the November issue of the Newsletter we wrote about the protest of Eduardo Jorge in front of the Portuguese Assembly on 3 December, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Eduardo, who lives in a nursing home, is fighting for his right to choose where and with whom to live. During the protest, he stayed in his bed, in a cage, for two days and nights, and refused food and support from anyone other than the highest public officials.

We are happy to report that Eduardo’s protest was successful, and the Government has agreed to amend Decree-Law 129/2017, which creates the Independent Living Support Model (MAVI). Those like Eduardo, who live in residential care, will now be able to choose where they wish to live, with access to personal assistance. The amendment to Decree has created the conditions for the process of deinstitutionalisation. It still has to be approved by the Council of Ministers, but the Ministry of Labour has committed to ensuring this is done in the shortest possible time.

Eduardo has written about his protest in this blog. He reflects on his action, and what is to come, in the paragraph below:

I felt wronged, I complained, I was heard, they understood they were not right, and justice was done. I have no expectations. Only when I am in my own house, in another location chosen by me, living the life that I want, how I want, with the right to personal assistance, autonomous, feeling like the master of my life, is when I’m going to feel I accomplished something. For the time, this is just one more step in this titanic battle that seems to have no end.”

ENIL will continue following developments in Portugal and supporting our members in their fight for Independent Living.


*Photo from Eduardo’s blog