YHD - društvo za teorijo in kulturo hendikepa
Disability often means social and economic discrimination. We want to raise awareness about disabled and our right to live independently and equally in the society. We want to demolish stereotypes that exist and prevent new ones to rise. Children are the ones that we need to influence, they will one day take on important roles that have direct impact on our lives. Our job is to equip them with the right information about the inclusive society we want to live in and actively participate in.
Except Ljubljana all regions present civic desserts in terms of engagement and opportunities.
We worked on many projects for past 25 years related to independent living movement and we noticed a major issue in our own community. Not only that general public sees us as »invalids« but majority of disability organizations and its members do as well. We want to change how we see ourselves and how society does, instead of our disabilities to see our abilities. Except in Ljubljana (where situation has immensely improved), we face discrimination in terms of education, employment and accessibility. With this project, we see opportunity to make an impact in other regions, shape young minds and prepare them for when they become active citizens to shape better and more inclusive society.
According to the Council of Europe, democracy derives from 2 principles, individual autonomy and equality. Our purpose is to prove to children that each one of us has the exact same rights and responsibilities, even if one has a disability, thus empowering their open mindedness freeing them from being stereotypical and by changing young people's minds we are making our local and broader communities more open minded NOW and also in the FUTURE (more democratic, more fair, more equality-driven). Everything that is demonstrated in our workshops crushes stereotypes about the (dis)abled, thus planting a seed of the idea, that we are all equal. By reaching out to many different communities, we can change people's beliefs on a national level.
Our target group are children in kindergartens and primary schools and indirectly their parents, teachers and other personnel. The only way to change how people perceive us is to come together (mix-ability groups of children, teachers and disabled trainers) and through our experiential workshops perform different activities to demonstrate how we overcome obstacles in our daily lives. With this, we create an environment, where disabled becomes abled. Usually we notice immediate change in teachers that are participating in workshops, by becoming more aware of the discrimination in the school, making effort, and engaging in the processes to make education more inclusive, which is a first step to more inclusive society.
All trainers are people with (dis)abilities and they encourage participants to determine through observation what their disabilities are, emotions and realizations they have after meeting them. This allows them to recognize negative patterns. Trainers will share their own experiences and through discussion and experiential activities set new appropriate behaviors. We will introduce independent living concept, importance of human rights and equality. We will break stereotypes about disabled and destroy already existing prejudices, engage them in different activities that they normally do but with different technical aids and different approaches to demonstrate how we can do things differently but as effectively. Our last activity will be evaluation to measure how their perception changed.
Children will gain better understanding about lives of (dis)abled, their perception on how they see us will change through activities, which will destroy stereotypes that that have. It helps them to better understand their own burdensome situations. It encourages personal growth and better understanding of society as whole. It enables active participation of disabled in the community by having opportunity to deliver workshops, but in long term, it triggers a series of actions, which lead to equality. By empowering young, we are giving them a chance to make our society more tolerant and kind - that is what makes an inclusive society and allows democratic participation. By empowering adults in the process (teachers, parents) we as well are creating environment for more inclusive education.
Our workshops demonstrates the democratic idea in practice, by showing that everyone has the same rights and responsibilities, no matter our (dis)ability. This will strengthen the idea about what's fair and right in young people's minds, then spreading quickly to their communities, further to their local communities and beyond (In practice by educating children we have indirect influence on their parents, teachers in schools and kindergartens and other personnel).
We demonstrate in practice what an engaged citizen represents – even though we are (dis)abled and cannot do everything (who can?) we can still participate and contribute to the society we live in. We can educate children, be active, and change our society.
We (dis)abled people want to live in a equal society and we see possibilities for inclusive society but only when general public and political decision makers will understand our role in it and also our needs, we can. We want to show that we want to be active and we shouldn’t be limited because “abled” people don’t understand our abilities. All that is demonstrated in our workshops that crushes stereotypes about the (dis)abled, and is a step closer to more democratic, vibrant and inclusive society. By reaching out to many different communities, we can change people's beliefs on a larger national level. Our purpose is to prove that we are all equal and that no one is »different«, hence everyone is “different” and by working with children we indeed are able to (re)build our future.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs: 27.950, 00 EUR
Organization costs: 13.330, 00 EUR
Travel costs: 1.300, 00 EUR
Administrative costs: 1.500, 00 EUR
Dissemination costs: 3.500, 00 EUR
It is our first time applying for Civic Europe funds, so we would be grateful for any kind of feedback on our application.