The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) and the Association of Women with Disabilities (ENG-KAD) are starting a new project, which aims to promote the development of personal assistance in Turkey by ensuring that people with disabilities are better informed and better able to advocate tor personal assistance.

Personal assistance is a tool, which allows for independent living of people with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) requires the State Parties to ensure that people with disabilities have access to a range of support options, including personal assistance, to be able to live in the community.

ENIL’s Co-chair, Jamie Bolling stresses that: “It is essential to design, develop, and deliver personal assistance schemes within a human rights framework, ensuring that disabled people have control and choice over every aspect of their life.”

Following the ratification of the CRPD in 2009, Turkey made important steps to align its legislation with the requirements of the Convention. However, disabled people still do not have access to personal assistance. This is how Beyza Ünal from ENG-KAD describes the situation in Turkey: “The personal assistance system does not fully exist in Turkey, so we can say that the right to live independently is not implemented as it should be. This causes some disabled people to be stranded at home, some to leave their education, some to be unable to work, some to be unable to live separately from their family or to be forced to live in an institution.”

The project aims to raise the awareness of disabled people, professionals, policy and decision makers about personal assistance, and to support disabled people’s advocacy for personal assistance and independent living. In view of these objectives, a number of activities will be carried out, including:

  • Online peer support forum – allowing people to people interact, exchange ideas, share experiences, raise concerns, and find answers.
  • Research – to map the existing policies and practices and gain better understanding of personal assistance.
  • Webinars and round-table discussions with domestic and international speakers.
  • Promotion materials, including videos on personal assistance.
  • Model personal assistance policy, drafted with the involvement of disabled people and in consultations with domestic policy-makers.

The project builds on ENIL’s previous work to promote independent living in Turkey within the Independent Living Network Project. It is funded by the European Union.

More information will soon be available from this website and that of ENG-KAD.