On June 8, 9 and 10 synchronized marches took place in 15 Italian cities to protest against the lack of funding for personal assistance.

Marches have been organized by the movement is “Liberi di fare” (“Free to Act”), a national network of Italian activists, disabled and non-disabled, who are fighting for civil rights of people with disabilities. The movement started after Maria Chiara and Elena Paolini, two sisters in need of personal assistance, published an open letter on Facebook in which they denounced the lack of appropriate funding to guarantee basic rights to people with disability.

Depending on annual budgets, some municipalities have allocated funds for “direct payments” for personal assistance but lack of continuity and scarcity of resources do not allow independent living not even for those who enroll in these programs. Public funding is inadequate and still mostly directed to local agencies that provide non-tailored services, or to institutional care. For many disabled people relying on family members is the only available option.

The movement organized synchronized marches for the first time in November 2017. Twenty three cities got involved and a high number of people with disabilities were able to make their voice heard. One of the aims of the activists is also to educate the public opinion on what independent living is by involving social media and journalists. Journalists are explicitly asked to change their narratives from those of pity and charity to those of civil rights.

“Liberi di fare” is supported by ENIL Italia and several associations for the rights of disabled people and other minorities. For more information please visit www.liberidifare.it


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