The people who survived should get a chance to live in the community – ETR

Last January a fire killed 8 men with intellectual disabilities in an institution in Czechia. Inclusion Europe’s director Milan Šveřepa was interviewed by a Czech newspaper. Here’s what he said.

The people who survived should get a chance to live in the community

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Last January a fire killed 8 men

with intellectual disabilities

in an institution in Vejprty.

Vejprty is a town in Czechia.

Inclusion Europe’s director Milan Šveřepa

was interviewed by a Czech newspaper.

They asked him questions about the fire

and what needs to be done now.

Here’s what he said:

The authorities must find out why the fire started

and why so many people died.

There are many other places like this in Czechia.

What happened in Vejprty could happen again.

You are asking the Czech authorities

not to rebuild the institution.    

Of course.

There are many people who live

in institutions in Czechia.

This is very dangerous.

The problem will not be solved

even if they make institutions safer.

Czechia has to stop segregating people

in institutions.

Why is it wrong when people have to live

in an institution?  

Institutions are often in places

where nobody else lives.

They are in buildings that were not built

for people with disabilities.

Sometimes these buildings

are not accessible.

People who live in these institutions

are taken away from their community,

from their family and friends.

In institutions people must respect the rules.

They are forced to do things

and cannot decide for themselves.

Bad things often happen

inside the institutions.

For example: violence and abuse.

 

People who live in institutions cannot meet

or talk to other people.

Many people think that institutions are safe places

for people with disabilities

because they can live among other people like them.       

People often say this.

But it is wrong.

Institutions are not safe places,

as the fire in Vejprty showed.

It’s not true that people with intellectual disabilities

want to live with other people with intellectual disabilities.

What they want the most is feeling included and confident.

People feel included and confident

when they talk to friends and colleagues

and when they start a family.

People in institutions cannot do that.

After the fire the mayor of Vejprty said that

the rights of people with disabilities

must be reviewed.        

I disagree with what the mayor said.

It would be wrong

to deny even more rights

to people with intellectual disabilities.

The fire in Vejprty showed us

that institutions should not exist.

Some of the people living in Vejprty

say that they don’t want to live

with people with disabilities.

Why do they say so?             

They say so

because they never lived with people with disabilities before.

For a long time

people with intellectual disabilities

have been put in institutions in Czechia.

 

The only way to solve this situation

is to end segregation and show that

living together is possible and normal.

The people who live in Vejprty often say that

they don’t have enough information.          

People are not used to live together with

people with intellectual disabilities.

So they may have wrong ideas about

people with intellectual disabilities.

For example: they may think

that people are put in institutions

because they did something bad.

But this is not true.

So it is important that everyone knows about this.

Are institutions bad for society?

Segregation does not make people feel good

in the society.

 

And giving money to institutions is a waste of money.

People who live in institutions

cannot learn how to do things on their own.

So we need to pay other people to do these things.

When people live in the community

they have friends or neighbours that can help them

in their daily life.

Just like everyone else.

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