What did you think of the Freedom Drive?

Raquel Banha

“Living a life of struggle and endurance is not easy. It’s exhausting and demotivating, especially when the return sometimes isn’t worth the effort – the crumbs they give us. But it’s moments like these that, even under heavy rain, excessive cold and chilling wind, unexpected and wheelchairs that don’t turn on, risk of getting sick and indescribable fatigue that, when we are together, the batteries of endurance and motivation is loaded to the max getting past your own capabilities. It’s moments like these that even in the midst of shyness and weakness, I find a comforting and reassuring peace that tells me I’ll never be alone and that there’s more family beyond that blood. I left Brussels with the certainty that, even though I don’t know what the future holds for me (us), I know that I will always have another safe haven. These are my kind of people. That’s my kind of mates – My own community. We fight for each other and extend each other’s hand without looking back. We empower ourselves like no one else can empower us. We scream and protest like no one else can. We will never shut up. We will never be silenced We came to stay and to stay.


Nora Eklov

“Dear activists, thank you for being here today. My name is Nora Eklöv and I’m a part of the ENIL Youth board and the secretary general of the Swedish Youth Federation of Mobility Impaired. Today, we’re protesting for the survival of our rights. Our rights that cannot be taken for granted. But we cannot forget that we are also here for those who can’t participate today. Those who don’t have access to personal assistance, or in other ways don’t have the possibility to take part in society.

We’re here today because we clearly see and experience how society is going backwards when it comes to implementing human rights. We cannot stay quiet when our rights are being forgotten and buried in the ground. There are no excuses left for keeping us isolated from society. There are no excuses left for not listening to us.

We are many and we want society to move forward.

Keep moving forward.

Thank you.”

Dimitra Papadopoulou

“I was actually kinda shocked to find out that I was the youngest participant and I feel very lucky to have come in contact with this community this early (all of this thanks to wonderful Kamil and Stelio Kympouropoulo). There’s sooo much to change!

The whole experience was incredible and really powerful. All of us gathering together was surreal and it was awesome to meet so many disabled people, Greek or not and share with each other our experiences, our beliefs and the way we all live. Meeting disabled people who live more independently than I do, was frustrating and encouraging at the same time. Most people older than me seemed very disappointed by the progress we’ve made, which was discouraging, but I hope we’ll find more ways to improve in the near future. My favourite part of the whole event was the youth workshop that took place at 28/09/2022 and of course the protest (I hope we made some good noise!). All the speakers were outstanding, especially the autistic one (I’m not good with names lol), as they’re hardly ever visible and it was very eye-opening to meet this, unfamiliar to most people, way of communication! Unfortunately, I only got to participate in this one because I had to leave for our flight afterwards.

I just only wish that during the hearing there would be more MEP’s to actually listen to us and maybe give us some answers. Hoping there will be more cooperation with them next time. Something else we also noticed was that during the hearing there wasn’t a sign language interpreter and that in the European Parliament the paintings weren’t described for blind people. I’m pretty sure you’ve already mentioned these to the people in charge, but they were stuff I noticed.

Overall I had a great time and I hope I’ll attend all the next FDs in the future and hopefully help even a bit for a more inclusive society! Also, thanks for everything that you do for us.”


“I’m Spyros, I’m 25 years old I’m from Greece and I’m a proud disabled guy who has already been to the Freedom Drive once, in 2019. Since then, I was motivated to be more active in the community and fight for disability rights as a member of the working group which established personal assistance in Greece but also for other marginalised groups like LGBT by being a disabled advisor for Athens Pride. With my pal Greg Chryssikos, we created a project called ‘Cool Crips’ and we explored Greek islands with our YouTube show “Cool Crips on Tour”. We promote visibility of the disabled people in the social model terms. We advocate for equality and representation of our people, of course by speaking about deinstitutionalisation which is a major issue in Greece. Since 2019 a lot of things changed for me personally and a few for my Greek fellow disabled people (test program for personal assistance), but many critical issues remain.

Freedom Drive 2022 gave me the space to realise that all the barriers we face can be erased by our strong voice and movement. I came back home feeling proud but mostly motivated to not be ashamed again.”

Ingeborg Aurora Øverli

For me this years Freedom Drive was educational, meaningful & substantial. I thought the conference was very encouraging, making me more eager to fight for disabilty rights more than ever before. My ultimate highlight of this years Freedom Drive was without a doubt the parade (forgetting about the awful weather)

Catarina Vitorino

“September 2022 will be remembered as the month I had the opportunity to be part of the edge of the fight for the rights of disabled people, my community, at the European level, precisely as the result of their achievements in the past (and in the present!) – I traveled, for the first time, with a personal assistant to an event where one of the main demands was to ensure that this service is available for everyone who needs it. We demand nothing more than the same opportunities, access and rights as everyone else, the same freedom of choice, and the same power over our own life. Intense moments were lived there, under very difficult conditions and with the speed that characterizes the great experiences, but it has only confirmed this is what I want for the rest of my life: to be part of the revolution, with my people, for my people!

When we belong to a group that is seen as incapable, fragile and inferior, our existence becomes resistance wherever we go. Fighting for fundamental rights is mandatory, only to be seen, heard, and perceived as individual human beings. This sounds simple, but the truth is that it influences our whole life and shapes our identity, as individuals and as a collective. As a community, we share experiences of oppression but we make them the fuel of our narrative, created by us as a revolutionary act; we are seen as passive subjects, yet we embrace our history, we build an active voice, full of convictions, and willing to fight for them until the last breath; we recognize the inherent pain and suffering within the disability experience, but we are proud to belong to a community that (r)exists. This is what I got to witness in Brussels and this is the story I want to keep writing and be part of.

Despite all the difficulties, no matter how challenging they were, I felt more than ever that I am not alone, that family is created and strengthened in adversity and that “we always got each other’s backs”. And believe me, there is nothing better than feeling at home, even when it is far away from us! #FD22