Chrysis Michaelides received a B.A. in Business Administration and Interpersonal Management, from Athens School of Economics in 1979. He is now President of the “European Social Forum of Cyprus” which is a national network of NGO’s. He also works with the “Cyprus Organization of Rehabilitation of Disabled” which is the oldest and biggest organisation for people with disabilities in Cyprus. He is a High School business teacher and works with the teachers “Democratic Association”. Michaelides also writes as a journalist every week in a sector and national newspaper.
What is your personal experience of disability?
As an E.U. citizen I want all E.U. citizens with disabilities to have and enjoy the same rights and have the same opportunities.
How did you discover the Independent Living movement?
Through my activities on an E.U. level and my connections in the disability sector.
Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
There are difficult and expensive areas but also more easy areas in Independent Living. I believe that physical disabilities are easier to take care of today taking into consideration the economic crisis. This can also open the road for all the other disabilities.
Who has influenced you the most, and how?
My connection with ENIL gave the opportunity to see Independent Living, as a reality for Cyprus.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I believe that in my town, Lemesos, Cyprus our NGO; the ESFC- is the NGO that managed to take action and helped organize Independent Living for four people by supporting them by all the means and helping them in all the aspects of their life.
Do you have a favorite saying or proverb?
Supporting others is like supporting your own self
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Working for such a cause, my life has meaning and a purpose to continue.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Personally I have a job ( i am a business teacher in high schools) so all my free time I spend working for the ESFC.
If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, who would be your ideal guests?
My partners in this project.
What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?
The disability is not their fault – the structure of the cities creates the problems and the low systems at national level.