My name is Mirica Ačko. I moved to Ljubljana when I started to study geography and pedagogy. When I was a child I lived in an institution; now I live an independent life with personal assistance. I am employed in YHD as a coordinator of PA. Last year was particularly interesting since I have moved into a new bigger flat, after waiting for it for 5 years and I started living with a special assistant that is my watchdog Eli.
What is your personal experience of disability?
My experiences are different, but people often think that persons with serious physical disability can’t live an independent life. Often the disability is associated with personal characteristics of the individual, although this is only one of the personal circumstances of the individual.
How did you discover the Independent Living movement?
I met my current co-workers in my childhood when we were living together in an institution. When YHD started the Independent Living project which provides personal assistance, I joined them as a PA user.
Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
PA as a basic human right because it gives me a chance to live my life according to my own rules and wishes. I am also very interested in direct financing because with direct financing, I have more choice when employing personal assistants.
Who has influenced you the most, and how?
That would be my co-workers at YHD, mainly through their defence of PA as a basic human right. Although I have to say that everybody is responsible for him/herself so personal engagement is very important as well.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
That I have a normal life, a job and that I am economically independent despite my disability.
Do you have a favourite saying or proverb?
Everyone has their own disability.
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
That would be my dog Eli, who gets up before me in the morning and then I have to get up as well. I guess that she is very eager about finding out what the new day will bring to her.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy time with my dog; we go out together to explore the surroundings, even if the surroundings aren’t easily accessible. I also enjoy surfing through web pages; at the moment I frequently visit the ‘dog’s related sites’. I am also interested in sports; that is why I spend a lot of time in front of the TV during the winter Olympic Games and I will be watching the football world championships on TV as well.
Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
I don’t know, I guess I would have to think about who to invite, but it would surely be someone who has achieved a lot in his own life.
What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?
I don’t have any special advice, but I think that it is important that they live their lives according to their choices and are fighting for their rights and also take responsibility for their lives.