St. Lazarus Foundation and 20 Countries + Celebrate the 4th European Independent Living Day (May 2017)
May 5th 2017 is the fourth European Independent Living Day to be celebrated around Europe, by Centers for Independent Living and other members of the European Independent Living Movement. ENIL, the European Network on Independent Living, is expecting at least 20 countries to stage events on the theme "Things I Can Do Thanks to Independent Living".
Jamie Bolling, ENIL's Executive Director explained what Independent Living means to her: "Without Independent Living, my life as the ENIL Director would not be possible. Without personal assistance, I would be dependent on family and friends. Many friends of mine do not access Independent Living; some live in institutions, some live imprisoned in their own home. Today's campaign is to raise awareness on Independent Living. We hope many will join us in our cause to allow disabled people to live ordinary lives."
Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Lithuania and Sweden will promote Personal Assistance as a pillar of Independent Living. Hungary will publish a position paper, while in Portugal, a photography contest focusing on disabled people will be organised. Other cultural events are planned in Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. The hashtag #ILDay17 will be used to share photos and videos, making this year's European Independent Living Day a day to remember.
ENIL will mark the day by publishing the first in a series of articles on the effect of cuts on Independent Living. The article, focusing on Sweden, calls on the European institutions to do more to prevent Member States from implementing regressive measures, in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
ENIL established May 5th as the European Independent Living Day in 2014, to give disability activists in Europe and beyond a chance to raise awareness about the right to Independent Living, and the barriers they face. Independent Living is about the opportunity to have an ordinary life. An ordinary life is, however, not possible for many disabled people who still live in institutions, or lack access to proper social services and mainstream society, which would enable them to live full lives and be active citizens.The Saint Lazarus Foundation is an active member of the European Network on Independent Living. This year, the Foundation joined forces with other similar organisations who work in the disability sector and presented a paper on the subject of independent living to Her Excellency the President of Malta, amongst other initiatives catered for by the various Saint Lazarus jurisdictions.