“If you dare to speak up, inclusion happens!” – ETR

From 18 to 20 September, 150 self-advocates coming from 18 countries met in Graz, Austria for the Hear our Voices conference.

“If you dare to speak up, inclusion happens!”

Click on a word which is in bold to read what it means.

Easy-to-read logo
Hear our voices! Strong, loud and clear!

From 18 to 20 September,

150 self-advocates coming from 18 countries

met in Graz, Austria

for the Hear our Voices conference.

The conference was organised by Inclusion Europe

together with the organisation Lebenshilfe Austria,

and upon invitation of the mayor of Graz.


The theme of the conference was “My voice counts!”.

Self-advocates talked about:

Elisabeta-Moldovan picture

One of the self-advocates who spoke at the conference

was Elisabeta Moldovan from Romania.

Elisabeta talked about her experience

growing up in institutions.

Manuel Lankmair from Austria

talked about a study he did:

he looked at the websites and programmes of political parties in Austria

to see if they were accessible.


Manuel said that the political parties still have a lot to do

to make their websites accessible.

In addition, only one political party

had a programme in easy-to-read.

Antonio Hinojosa from Spain

shared some good news from his country.

People living under guardianship in Spain

are finally allowed to vote!

Thibeau Bastien from Belgium gave a workshop

about how to involve politicians

and people working in business

to support a cause.

At the conference there were some self-advocates

who ran for elections themselves.

One of them is Xavier Orno from Spain.


Xavier and some other self-advocates

ran for the last local elections in Spain.


Xavier hopes that other self-advocates

will follow his example

and will run for elections in their countries.

Other self-advocates spoke at the conference:

for example,

László Bercse, from Hungary.

László is the Vice-President of Inclusion Europe

and the chair of EPSA.

László said that it’s important

that people with intellectual disabilities

can decide for themselves.

Senada Halilčević

Senada Halilčević is the former chairman of EPSA.

Senada said:

“When people with intellectual disabilities

are not allowed to vote,

they don’t feel part of society. “

People with intellectual disabilities in Austria

are allowed to vote.


Two people spoke about how people with disabilities

are included in the city of Graz:

  • the mayor of Graz, Siegfried Nagl
  • Wolfgang Palle. He works with people with disabilities in Graz.

Self-advocates said which changes they want to see happening.

These are the same things they have said before:


Read more:

The pictures were taken by Simon Pilshofer.

Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.

This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.

Being visible and vocal on issues directly affecting millions of people requires your support. 

Become Inclusion Europe supporter and help us keep doing our work.