The Future is Ours – Time for More Autonomy

07 December 2022

YouTube Link: Magyar (Hungarian), Român (Romanian), Français (French), Deutsch (German), Polski (Polski), ελληνικά (Greek)

You can take a look at our official report here.

On the 7th of December 2022 EU for Trisomy 21 hosted the first event of our EU sponsored project The Future is Ours with the title “Time for more AUTONOMY”.

In September 2022, the EU for Trisomy 21 network received monetary support through the EU CERV grant program, launching the project called The Future is Ours. This project includes 3 online events as well as another in-person event in May 2023 in Brussels. Each event will focus on one of the four goals of the EU for Trisomy 21 network:

– Autonomy, What does it mean for people with Down Syndrome to be independent and make decisions 

– Visibility, What does it mean for People Down Syndrome to be seen and heard 

– Health, The importance of good doctors and health support 

– Equal Treatment, What does it mean for People Down Syndrome to be respected

The first event of this project “Time for more AUTONOMY” was held online as part of the networks celebration of the International Day Of The Rights Of People With Disabilities on the 3rd December 2022.

“Time for more AUTONOMY” featured 5 Self-advocat speakers from 5 different countries, talking about the importance of living an autonomous live. It was translated into 9 languages (English, Hungarian, Romanian, French, German, Polish, Greek and Spanish) and had over 400 participants from 22 countries (16 EU countries).

The first speaker at the event was Soufiane El Amrani, an easy-to-read and advocacy expert working at the organisation Inclusion Europe since 2008.  As part of this work he has given many trainings in making information accessible and how to consult people with intellectual disabilities in decision affecting them. He is also part of the European Platform of Self-Advocates and the Empower Us Team. Since November 2020, Soufiane is the representative of self-advocates for Europe at the Council of Inclusion International.

During the “Time for more AUTONOMY” event he spoke about the autonomy of people with disability within the EU, focusing on the upcoming change in the electoral law allowing people with intellectual disabilities, including people with Down Syndrome, to vote in the upcoming EU Parliamentarian election of 2024. He raised awareness about the fact that while changing the electoral law is a good step but that the EU needs to improve their communication to be truly accessible for this new voter pool.

The panel “My autonomous Life” included four Self-Advocate speakers from all over Europe:

  • Fanny Neumayer, 27 years old and living in Vienna, Austria. Ms Neumayer works in the Head-office of the Evangelische Gymnasium (a secondary school) in the 11th district in Vienna. She talked about her experiences of voting in Austria.

  • Fiona Lambart, 24 years old and living in Darmstadt near Frankfurt, Germany. Ms Lambart works as a housekeeping specialist. She talked about her work and how she works towards autonomous living.

  • Frantzeska–Christina Douka, 37-year old and living in Thessaloniki, Greece. Ms. Douka is a beneficiary of Down Syndrome Association of Greece, living on her own, in a Supported Living apartment. She loves dancing and she’s an athlete in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She has competed at Special Olympic’s Organisation many times, she has won medals, and traveled in many countries within and outside of Europe.

  • Jean Phillipe Barone, 44-year old living in Marseille, France. He lives in his flat in a community and works in an adapted restaurant. He feels comfortable with communication tools and regularly represents the #Tcap21 association through all medias. He’s now training to join our opening #Train Inc. café and then achieve total autonomy.

After the panel, participants were able to ask questions to our speakers. A booklet with quotes from their speeches as well as the power point of Soufiane El Amrani has been made available for all participants. This can be downloaded in english here.

Throughout the organisation of this event as well as the discussion during and after the event itself, EU for Trisomy 21 is compiling a list of recommendations for the EU to take into account when working towards making the 2024 EU Parliamentary elections truly accessible for people with Down Syndrome in all EU countries. This paper will be handed to the Commission and the EU Parliament on World Down Syndrome Day March 21, 2023.

Our next event: Time for More Visibility will take place on March 16th at 6pm. 

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