The conference for self-advocates in Warsaw

On the 15 of September, I was with my support person, Anca, to a conference for self-advocates in Warsaw, Poland.

The name of the conference was Inclusion to public life through self-advocacy.

The conference was organized by the Polish Association for People with Mental Handicap.

I represented EPSA and I spoke about the role of self-advocates in Europe.

150 self-advocates, parents and professionals working in the disability field attended the conference.

There were 3 workshops, where self-advocates and professionals spoke about their lives and their work.

I attended one workshop called How to support people with intellectual disabilities to become self-advocates.

I visited Warsaw and I walked through the old city center.

The second day, we visited one of the Polish Association for people with Mental Handicap centers.

We had a discussion about how we, people with intellectual disabilities, have to fight for our rights.

We visited three workshops, where people with intellectual disabilities worked.

The first workshop was carpentry, where people repair chairs and other pieces of furniture.

The second one was ceramics, where people mould several decorations.

The third one is media, where people film and register their colleagues’ performance.

I liked the way things are in Poland and the way the authorities are involved in helping people with intellectual disabilities.

We want a city accessible to all!

In Timișoara, physical access and information for people with disabilities is a big issue and we’ve decided to talk openly about this situation.
Because we want to have access to the community in 09.07.2014 we had a meeting with representatives of the local Police and RATT.

Means of transport are hard to use because of the narrow space, the old hand-operated ramps and lack of fasteners for the wheelchairs. Even in trams situation is not easy. It is impossible to get up, because of the narrow doors, staircases and function bar need to be pushed to allow getting up.

Another problem is machines parked on the sidewalk and special places for persons with disabilities. Wheelchair users, often descends on the roadway because of improperly parked cars on the sidewalk which don’t leave sufficient space, or park on the specially space designed for persons with disabilities. A interesting thing to know and we found out from the local Police, is that in the first six months of this year, have been applied 284 in the parking fines bus station, 213 fines applied for the machines parked on the sidewalk and 2128 fines for special parking spaces for people with disabilities! Local police encouraged us when we see irregularities to call them.

Borders and holes make the road for wheelchair a true adventure. To overcome these obstacles support people are need it. For wheelchair users or blind persons, unaccompanied access is very difficult or even impossible.

Last but not least, the informations of general interest are difficult to obtain or to understand by people with sensory or intellectual disabilities.
We want to be part of the community, useful and active citizens, but for this we need an accessible environment.

Raluca Popescu

Meeting between Manu Chao and Ceva de Spus!

One day before the concert, we were looking forward to meet Manu Chao, we knew that it will be a pleasant meeting, but we didn’t imagine that it will be beyond our expectations.

We arrived earlier at Muzeul Satului on a torrential rain, but we didn’t care, because we were excited to meet Manu Chao!

He greet us with a warm smile on his face as if he knew us for a long time, and he had such a natural attitude I’ve always wanted people to have when they meet persons with disABILITIES.

I had the joy to tell him what we are doing at Ceva de Spus and what is our message: “ RESPECT for our abilities not pity for our disabilities”! He listened with attention and patient what I was telling.

The time with him passed so fast, and our first surprise was when he accepted to sent us a video-message for our fundraising campaign to buy an accessible bus, wearing the cap with Ceva de Spus we gave him as a gift. Incredible!

Then, Manu Chao’s manager told us that it will be great if I could send our message from the stage. Before going to stage, Manu Chao encouraged me saying that once I am on the stage all emotions go and magic starts! He knew this so well!

In short words I sent our message to the crowd!

We enjoyed Manu Chao’s music, from the minipodium for wheelchair users and it was great to enjoy the concert fully.

Next day, we received the news that Manu Chao give us also a financial support for accessible bus!

Thank you PLAI Festival and Manu Chao for showing us that magic exist no matter who we are!

Raluca Popescu

New Path to Inclusion

On 03.06 2014 Eli and Anca went to Portugal on New Path to Inclusion Project.

Eli represented EPSA and was responsable to check if conference was accessible for persons with disabilities.

Meeting was 4 days and professionists from diferrent countries attended.

Also 2 self-advocates attended this meeting, Eli from Romania and Senada from Croatia.

Theme of the conference was inclusion of persons with disabilities and how they can recieve support to live in community.

For 2 days we worked in pairs and small groups and everyone shared his experience from his own country.

Eli said about her life in institutions and the support she need it in community. On the 3rd day we tried to find solutions for inclusion.

Was hard for Eli to understand the topics because informations were hard to understand. Sel- advocates discussed how a conference should be accessible.

Self-advocates proposed to make a trainning for professionists to learn how to make accessible informations.

Inclusion Europe Conference

The conference „Europe in Action – How to grow with an intellectual disability” was held during the week 12-17 May.

The conference was organised by Inclusion Europe in Belfast.

With one day before the conference Eli attended the EPSA board meeting.

On the first day people from organisations for persons with intellectual disabilities talked.

On the second day, took place EPSA elections.

Self-advocates voted the EPSA board members.

Eli was re-elected for the next 2 years. She was named member of Inclusion Europe, alongside of Senada and Sara.

On the third day each self-advocate with intellectual disability chose the workshop they want to attend. Eli chose the workshop „How to use the Internet”.

At this workshop, Senada president of EPSA, told us how she found her mother through Skype.

The second workshop was called „The bus”. A group of young persons with intellectual disabilities took part in a role-play.

Eli made new friends there and wants to stay in contact with them.

Visit in Wales

During 28.04 2014 I was with Anca in Wales, Liambers city. We met with 6 people from Germany, England, Austia and Switzerland. The meeting took part in New Path to Inclusion project.

A guide showed us the village and other places around. We stayed in a beautiful area at mountain, near a lake.

On the 1 day we met to greet each other and to tallk about the program. We discussed about how to work with persons with persons with disability. Everyone told how it is in their own country.

On the 2 day, we met with a group from Menter Fachween association. This Association has 3 coffee shopps where persons with disabilities work. They have a greenhouse where they plant flowers and vegetables. They have also a woodwork shop where they make furniture and sell it. Every person with disabilities have a support person.

On the 3 day I worked with persons with disabilities and cleaned their office. It was a good experience and I met new people. The directress of association is very involved in the work of persons with disabilities.

What I liked the most was that every person with disabilities has a support person.

Also they work in community.

They have a coffee house and persons with disabilities work.

EPSA Board meeting at Brusseles

During 20.01.2014 Eli and Zoli were at Brussels for 2 days.

They met there with EPSA board

4 persons with intellectual disabilities and their support persons.

EPSA is a platform of self-advocates where persons with intellectual disabilities make their voices heard and talk about their rights.

EPSA members are:Senada from Croatia, Ciara from UK, Eli and Luminita from Romania.

Read more …

The plan for disability during 2014-2020

On the 5th of December we were invited to a discussion regarding the plan for disability during 2014-2020. The meeting was organised by Public Policy Institute and the Directorate for Protection of People with Disabilities. Several people from NGOs were present, as well as Iulian Aldea, the director of the Directorate for Protection of People with Disabilities, the State Secretary Codrin Scutaru, Violeta Stan from the Institute for Public Policy and Raluca Bunea from OSI. The Directorate for Protection of People with Disabilities wrote the document and the ones invited gave their oppinion on it, trying to make it better.

I went with Zoli, my support person, to Bucharest by train. The day was long, and we didn’t have time to buy water or sandwiches , so we asked our colleagues from Clementina, Lugoj to help us. They brought us food and water.

The topics disscused at the meeting refered to accesibility, health, public transport, education and deinstitutionalisation. I said it would be good to have easy to understood information in railway stations, hospitals, police stations, banks and other institutions.

I also said that people with disabilities need support instead of protection.

I hope that all these measures will become reality.


The Gala for People with Disability

On the 2nd of December, Zoli and I were in Bucharest at the National Gala for People with Dizabilities. The Gala is an event which happens once a year and people with disablities, companies working with disability and inclusive schools are invited to join. The winners are the ones which helped the most.

I was invited to the Gala in the audience and I had no idea that I was going to win . I was surprised and very happy when I heard my name. I won the prize for the category ”Excellent people”. It was great that I won but also that I met new people and I made great connections with them.

In the audience there were people with disabilities, the aim of this event was to show that people with disabilities can have success in the comunity.

The Gala will be transmited on TV on the 21 of December .


A General Assembly less usual

Have you ever heard a General Assembly of an organisation to have place in an ice cream shop? Well, Something to Say group did this!

The purpose of this meeting was to present to members the activity report of since elections and until now. Due to a disagreement with the City Hall Timisoara, we was forced to keep our general assembly at ice cream shop Segafredo. But this thing did not stopped us. Although it was difficult at the beginning to hear because of the noise by the fund, finally we managed to get our meeting quite well.

Cake and juices had sweetened moments of noise and our general meeting has become probably the world’s first meeting of an organization carried out in an ice cream shop. This way we have been given the opportunity to make ourselves noticed much easier than if we had been in the City Hall’s council room.

Presentation of our activity transformed the boring moment when customers had to wait their row to can take the command, in a great method to learn and hear more about disability.

Here is our report.

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