Human rights, Social inclusion

Independant living for people with special needs

Designing possibilities for people with special needs to live independently in their local community, outside institutions, be incharge of their own lives and be equal members of society.


Who is behind this?

Urska Petek

Društvo Vesele nogice



Idea pitch

In Laško, there are no possibilities for people with special needs to live in institutional care or independently outside institutions. We strive to represent tangible options for independent living in the local environment within existing public social services and real estates owned by municipality or by people themselves and their families. Together we will identify their true needs, encourage local community to actively participate in solving living situations for people with special needs.

Where will your project idea take place?

Town Laško and Zasavje region.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

We will implement the project in the region where there are no possibilities for people with special needs to live in institutional care let alone independently outside institutions in their local community or nearby areas known to them. When parents/guardians are not capable of taking care for them or after their death, the only solutions for people with special needs is to leave a place they call home and continue their life inside institutional living, where they don’t have control over their own life. Together with families and individuals we will bring into focus tangible solutions for independent living within the local community with the help of existing social services (personal asistence) and available real estates owned by municipality, parents and other individuals.

Who are you doing it for?

The primary target group is underage people with special needs who do not have a chance to live independent and equal lives. People who the state sees as subjects not capable of emotional and physical advancement and therefore are not given the opportunity to progress in life. Their needs have not been heard, taken seriously, and addressed. Their current reality is a life with their parents until they are capable of taking care of them, afterward institutional living. A subgroup is parents who suffer from burnout because of lack of communal support, 24/7 care for disabled child/adolescent/grownup people, and constant worry about the child's future. Plans for developing independent residence will be designed so when these kids are 18 years old, residences are a reality.

How do you plan to get there?

With individual persons with special needs and their families, we will collect data about their actual needs, wishes, and expectations about the future of their child and their independent living. A project leader with experience working with a target group will prepare and execute interviews and analyze data. Meanwhile, we will collaborate with other stakeholders who’ve been active in the field of rights of people with special needs, especially focusing on deinstitutionalization and independent living. Next, we’ll research existing services that could enable independent living and not represent an increase in the public budget. We will ensure media and social network coverage and organize roundtable with individuals who have relevant expertise, experience, and skills. We will reach out to municipalities in the region regarding vacant real estate in their ownership and possibilities of their usage for the means of independent living and other ways they can contribute to the means of the project. Also, we will approach families and individuals who are willing to rent out or donate real estate for this purpose. With the gathered information, we will present tangible solutions and an executable plan for the establishment of the first independent residence for people with special needs within the local community.

What are the expected results?

We will develop a plan for the establishment of the first independent residence for people with special needs within these regions. This would be the first solution for the target group to stay in their community, because now there are no possibilities in these regions, for them to live in institutional care or independently. They will have control over their life and everyday decisions.Such plan of independent living solutions will present as an innovation, which model could be implemented in other regions in Slovenia. A network of families and individuals will be established and exact needs, wishes, and expectations of the target group gathered in detailed interviews. The families will be empowered and capable of accepting independence of their children and worry less about their future.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

People with special needs and their families will have an active role and will be fully engaged in this project from the planning phase forward. The button-up approach will empower the target group and provide precise insight into the life and needs of the target group and give them a voice. Their involvement will help us build the idea of independent living focused on an individual's needs and wants. The end result of the project will give a target group a chance of an equal life, independent living and therefore control over their life.

Why is this idea important to you?

Behind the idea is an Association Vesele nogice and its president Spomenka Valušnik, who is a mother of two daughters, one of which has cerebral palsy level 5. Since the establishment of the association, our main goal was to bring to focus inequality of the life of a special needs person. Spomenka Valušnik has received a presidential award “Jabolko navdiha” for the work for and with families of special needs children, has spoken on behalf of them in sessions in the National Assembly, have achieved legislature changes, appeared in various media, guided and counsel numerous families on a national and local level. Association is located in the region project is taking place, know its shortcomings and strengths. We work closely with local families and other people with special needs.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

30000 € employment
1500 € design and printing costs
1500 € roundtable organization, payment for speakers
2000 € action and business plan for independent living

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would really appreciate other examples of good practises about addressing and solving an issue of deinstitutionalization in other countries and providing equal society for all. Feedback and ideas are always very appreciated for it makes us more efficient and overall better at our jobs.



Idea created on April 23, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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