Our goal to set up the system of Personal Assistance in Hungary has come to a very important stage. On February 14th, we organised a panel discussion for activists and professionals to come together and contribute to form our strategy.

The Independent Living of persons with disabilities is what we envision in the long-term future. Independent Living means that we can decide on the issues that affect our lives as disabled people and that we can access all the support services that enable us to do so. Independent living extends to every aspect of life, but these areas are built on each other. In our experience, self-determination cannot be achieved in all areas of life (such as work or leisure), if community-based living and Personal Assistance services are not properly organized.

In our last “Let’s talk about Personal Assistance” event we invited disabled persons, allies and potential personal assistants to talk about their experiences. Since then, we carried out lobby work and informed different policy makers and advocacy groups about our goals.

This time, we wanted to bring together representatives from different areas and organized a panel discussion.  Our opinion is that not all professionals need to have knowledge about disability issues to work together, because everyone can add their own expertise to achieve the common goal. We invited disabled activists, experts from NGO’s and the academic field.

Our main questions were: What are our cooperation possibilities?  How can the participants contribute to the process? The outcome of the discussion is that we could strengthen the relationship between the activists of the past and the present. All participants agreed to take part in further cooperation and activities because we all strongly believe in the feasibility of this project.

The next step of our strategy is to support the empowerment process of disabled persons and to organize our community. We want to create social media campaigns with powerful and positive messages regarding the lives of disabled persons who already live independently in their communities. We also want to carry out basic research to examine international theories and practices and to analyse the models that can be adapted to the Hungarian context.

Due to our international networking process, this event was sponsored by the US Professional Fellow program.

Thanks to all participants:

  • Erzsébet Földesi (president, MBE, Budapest Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities)
  • Mircea Cernov (Mozaik Hub)
  • János Czafrangó (Independent CSR consultant)
  • Anikó Sándor (researcher, lecturer, ELTE University)
  • István Sziklai (researcher, FSZK, Equal Opportunities of Persons with Disabilities Non-profit Ltd.)
  • Roger Schmidtchen (Verein zur sozialen und beruflichen Integration, LIGA Selbstvertretung von Menschen mit Behinderungen in Thüringen e.V.)
  • Csilla Cserti-Szauer (researcher, lecturer, ELTE University)
  • Zóra Molnár (activist, Professional Fellow alumni, Önállóan lakni, közösségben élni, Living independently in the Community)

Dániel Csángó, Anikó Sándor