What is your personal experience of disability?
My name is Mojca Lukner. I was born healthy and I was developing normally until the age of 4. Then strong pain began to appear; I was diagnosed with a tumor on my spinal cord. These were terrible moments of uncertainty and fear, but on the other hand unwavering hope and effort to maintain and improve unaffected functions. There were periods when I dreamed about full recovery, but there were also times which predicted the collapse of my health. At the age of twelve I suffered serious deterioration of my health; since then I have not been able to walk.
How did you discover the Independent Living movement?
When I started to study I lived in a student home; at that time I realized that I needed assistance in my everyday activities. The services that were provided at that time did not offer enough support or enough hours. Fortunately, I knew some disabled colleagues, who had already made use of personal assistance as the most important and most effective form of aid. I turned to the Project Manager for Independent Living and soon I got a personal assistant and started to live my life outside the family or institutional care.
Is there an area of Independent Living that you are especially interested in?
At present, I like to live in the city, but for times to come I am thinking of moving to a more peaceful environment in the countryside and I am glad that in Slovenia there the possibility of Independent Living for disabled persons is not limited just to the major cities.
Who has influenced you the most, and how?
Family always had a significant influence on me; they have always shown me how to creatively solve a seemingly hopeless situation. Also I was always inspired by healthy peer-classmates and friends. I wanted to be like them – free (at least in thinking and experiencing).
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
I am proud of my personality, that I can see the best in things. I am also proud of achieving an education despite my disability. That provided me with an opportunity to be able to start living apart from my family independently and to be responsible for all areas of my life.
Do you have a favourite saying or proverb?
There is a saying that I often repeat to myself. My wish is to have the strength to accept things that I can’t change as they are and the courage to change things that I can.
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Faith in good and positive thinking; that is what gives me the momentum to start the mornings. I also like new challenges and the opportunity to cooperate with others.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
In my free time I like to hang out with friends and their children or go on a trip in nature. Visiting the theater or moments with a good book give me a lot of satisfaction as well.
Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
I would prefer a person who has achieved a lot in their life and also in different areas and who has succeeded in keeping a good sense of humour. In fact I would choose a different guest for different situations in my life because I like to learn new things from different people who have a broad view of the world.
What advice would you give to young adults with a disability?
For young people with motion disability, I would advise, firstly that they should look for ways to provide for their physical and psychological vitality and to make a use of their abilities and talents and even upgrade them to achieve more quality of life. Finally, I wish everyone had the chance to use Personal Assistance; it is not always easy but it is worth the effort.