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Empowering young disabled people from Belgium, Norway and Greece by exchanging experiences in a 5 day meeting: 'the freedom school'
Start date: May 1, 2016, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Independent Living movement is a European movement of disabled people who want to live an ordinary life, In society, independent, like everybody else.Unfortunately this is not as obvious as you would expect in modern day Europe. Disabled people face so many difficulties in their lives. The haven’t got the same access to education, labor, leisure. If they want to be included in society it always requires a fight. To go to school, to go to the local sports club, to go to university, to search for a job, even to just stay at home in stead of going to an institution. Although some of the fights for inclusion are successful, some of them aren’t.As a result of not having the same level of education or social life than their non-disabled peers, youngsters often loos self-confidence. The urge to do something about their situation and the situation of others is present. Yet youngsters miss the tools, skills, experience and self-confidence to” get organized”. With this project “freedom school” Belgian, Greek and Norwegian youngsters with a disability, will do a one week exchange of experiences to overcome these barriers. To empower and inspire one another. To gain skills and experience. We will need them, young disabled leaders who stand up for their rights, let their voice hear, inspire othersThe overall objective of the project is to : "Empower young people with a disability in order for them to become active citizens and fully participate in society and by that obtain change. "6 disabled people between 18 and 30 years will be selected from each country. They will have to apply and motivate their participation. Each group of young people will have a group leader, who will be their mentor during the process. It is important that this person is disabled him/herself so they can act as real role models for the participants. The role of the mentor/group leader is crucial. In order for them to cooperate, understand and be a team with each other and the participants there will be an advanced planning visit in Belgium. Group leaders will exchange experiences, discuss situations that may happen and how they will correspond. Views of ‘the support’ to the participants will be exchanged . And they will make sure practical arrangements are made and clear.During the freedom school participants gain knowledge and skills on leadship/further developing their local independent living movement on the following themes: - Communication: how to communicate with each other, social media, press.. - People: how to work and interact with people, how to keep them motivated. How do you lobby towards politicians. How to increase the impact of your (social) actions- Money: How to raise funds, how to reach financial sustainability.The idea is that participants learn by doing. We will do both ‘theory’ and ‘practice’. For the theory part, participants will be asked to prepare one session, according to their interest, together with the group leader. For the practice part we will go on the streets to set up an action, and meet youngsters from the local youth club to exchange experience. After the freedom school we expect participants to have gained experience, skills and self esteem and most of all: motivation to get organized .
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