Breaking Boundaries: A stop in Budapest, Hungary

Breaking Boundaries: A stop in Budapest, Hungary

The Breaking Boundaries project is about Cor Van Damme, a 27 year old young man with a disability from Belgium who went on a road trip through Europe with the intention of motivating and informing other young Europeans with a disability. He hoped to meet as many people with disabilities in different European countries as possible and show the world that a restriction does not prevent you from doing what you want to do.

During his road trip, Cor visited Budapest in Hungary. The Faculty of Special Education of Eötvös Loránd University hosted an event for him on the 11th of September, 2012. Ms. Krisztina Kovács, the Disability Coordinator of the University helped a lot in organizing the event. At this event he had an opportunity to meet people with and without disabilities. One of Cor’s main points was that having a disability in Europe in the year 2012 is totally different from having a disability one century ago. A lot has changed, mostly for the better.

At the discussion Zoltán Daniló, a blind student of Eötvös Loránd University, translated from English to Hungarian and shared Cor’s words with the audience. Zoltan Daniló told how he receives a lot of help from both teachers and students.  In his experience people are open, although some people only first get in contact with a person with disabilities through him. His opinion about the issue of personal assistance in Hungary is that it is a time-consuming, bureaucratic and an expensive process. He mentioned that many times parents undertake the responsibility to be personal assistants. On one hand it is great to have this help, but it gives less independence to the person with disability. Most of the audience agreed with Zoltán’s point of view. They were discussing this from the perspective of people who are deaf or those with hearing impairment.  They are allowed to take 120 hours per year sign- language interpretations free of charge. (This is State funded-above this limit the client pays the total cost.). This amount of hours can be increased if a person has student status. For instance a student in Higher education is entitled above the limit plus 60 hours/ academic semester.[1] Unfortunately it is extremely low amount of hours per year.

Cor briefly explained how personal assistance works in Belgium. A person with disability is entitled to choose his/her personal assistants. In Hungary there is a responsible authority which administrates personal assistance, this system is different than in other Western-European countries. They were talking about the costs of personal assistance and a system of social care for people with disabilities. Cor has emphasied that freedom of choice is a core element in the life of a person with a disability and it would be important for Hungary to take steps towards personal assistance and the freedom of choice; that a person with disability is entitled to choosing a personal assistant. The discussion on the comparison between Hungarian and Belgian disability issues was very fruitful and interesting.

[1]  Law about Hungarian Sign language and its services (2009 CXXV. Law) 5 §

In the above photograph Cor met this inspiring young woman. Bori has no arms but embraces life nonetheless. No doubt she will play an important role in the Independent Living movement of the future.

The opportunity of networking and to know about the “Breaking Boundaries Project” is as a result of the student, Agnes Sarolta Fazekas’ who was part of the Erasmus Placement programme” of ENIL and the Faculty of Social Science, Eötvös Loránd University. 

For more information on the breaking boundaries please click here.

You can also visit the Breaking Boundaries facebook page here.

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