ENIL Youth Network Board

In the first half of November, the ENIL Youth Network held its General Assembly and the week-long elections (online). After reflecting on the Youth Network’s activities and achievements during the 2019-2022 period, it was time to consider the future.

The 17 Youth board candidates introduced themselves and shared their motivation and plans for the upcoming years, and then the ball was passed to the ENIL Youth Network members to decide about the identity of the new Youth Board. After the voting process ended, a new ENIL Youth Network Board was elected.

We would like to congratulate the following people on their election (in alphabetical order):

· Melike Bal (Turkey)

· Clementine Willow Doevendans (the Netherlands)

· Nicolas Joncour (France)

· Peadar O’Dea (Ireland)

· Nina Portolan (Serbia)

· Charlie Willis (United Kingdom)

We wish them good luck and we are looking forward to a close cooperation. We also wish to congratulate all the other candidates who didn’t get elected, for all their effort and everything they do for our movement. We are sure that they will continue the important work they do for the rights of young Disabled People and for the future of the independent living movement. Finally, we cannot forget to warmly thank the outgoing ENIL Youth Network board members for all their work these challenging years.

Read a short bio of each ENIL Youth Network board member

Melike Bal


I am Melike Bal. I am currently studying undergraduate law at Social Sciences University of Ankara. Hopefully, I will obtain my LLB degree in 2026. I am proud member to ENIL & ENIL Youth also, a national disability organization (a longstanding partner to ENIL) called Association of Women with Disabilities. (ENG-KAD) I feel proud to be a part of civil society because I know that these organizations and activists online helped me discover and embrace my disabled identity. I want to be a part of the amazing work being done and help other disabled people in discovering themselves and fight the good fight with us. I published a poetry book in 2017 and I enjoy watching TV dramas, especially medical and legal, in my free time.

Clementine Willow Doevendans


I’m a autistic and chronically ill woman from the Netherlands (26) who dedicated 7 years of her life to providing education to care facilities, politics and schools, while lobbying for independent living and accessibility as well as the other systemstic oppressions regarding disabled people. I’m an expert on ableism, sanism, healthism and audism, eugenics and disabled history and give education on these topics in various occasions. Also, I’ve been in the previous board of the ENIL Youth Network.

Nicolas Joncour


My name is Nicolas Joncour, I am a AAC user and non-speaking French autistic student. I am 23 years old and I need a full time assistance . I communicate by typing on a keyboard or an Ipad. In 2017 I became the first French nonspeaking autistic student to pass the exam «the Baccalauréat», which is needed to go to university in France. First I enrolled in physics college. But I have chosen to study law and sociology ,as I am interested by the implementation of CRPD, especially article 12 on legal capacity. I have been active for several years in associations for the right for autistic people and to independent living. I live in a university residence, I managed to obtain financial aid for full-time assistance, which is unfortunately not very frequent in the case of cognitive disabilities in France. I really want to be a part of ENIL Youth Network ’s Board to fight for deinstitutionalization and the right to an independent living for those who need full assistance and have learning disabilities and to promote supported decision making so people can be the master of their destiny.

Peadar O’Dea


Peadar O’Dea, 30 y/o, Male, Republic of Ireland is a disabled activist, with seven years’ experience in the disability movement. He has completed an internship with ENIL in 2021, and has founded two Disabled People’s Organisation’s (DPO’s) in Leeds in the UK and in Dublin in the Republic Of Ireland respectively. He has an MA in Disability Studies from the University Of Leeds and has an unhealthy sort of obsession with gothic literature.

Nina Portolan


Nina Protolan is a human rights and disability rights activist. In 2020, she completed a long-term European Solidarity Corps exchange, volunteering at the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL). During that time, she developed and carried out the Independent Living survey and got involved with the preparation of various contributions, while learning more about the topics of inclusive education, freedom of movement and others. She completed the “Vojin Dimitrijević” human rights school, organised by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, in 2021. Currently, she is a member of the UN Youth Advisory Group (YAG) for the UN office in Belgrade, the European Disability Forum (EDF) Youth Committee, where she represents ENIL, as well as a Serbian disabled youth initiative, IM-PACT 21. While studying molecular biology and physiology at the University of Belgrade, in her free time, Nina practises karate and is part of the national para karate team of Serbia.

Charlie Willis


I am a passionate disability rights activist and campaigner who believes strongly in equity for disabled people. I have worked in DPOs, Civil Service and in charities. Always in roles with a youth, disability and employment or LGBT focus. I have experience in building networks, facilitating and training, working hard to bring knowledge of rights and campaigning skills to young people. I will continue to add my voice to the board.