Elisabeta Moldovan’s speech at the opening session of our Europe in Action to End Segregation conference, 7 September 2022 in Brussels.
My name is Elisabeta Moldovan.
I am from Timisoara, Romania.
I am the co-president of Ceva de spus association, the only self-advocy NGO from Romania which is formed by adults with all kinds of disabilities.
We have 3 objectives:
- awareness raising
You all know what deinstitutionalisation means and how is life in institutions, but I want to tell you 2 stories of my life.
What is a birthday?
I was in 6th grade when my teacher came to me with a bag of sweets, and told me to give to all my colleagues in the classroom.
I asked her: Why should I give them the sweets?
She told me that is it my birthday.
I asked her: What does birthday mean?
And then she explained me that I was born on this day.
I didn’t know until the 6th grade what a birthday is.
I was happy he just beat me
The other story I want to tell you was when I was just moved from one institution to another, and I was assigned to horticulture (gardening) professional school.
But I didn’t like it, and I didn’t want to go to work on the field of potatoes.
Together with 3 other girls we hid in the attic of the institution.
They found us, and we were brought down to the basement as a punishment.
The man took out his belt and I was very scared because I thought he will rape me.
I was happy when he started to hit me with the belt, because I realised he will beat me, not rape me.
Now I support others to get out of institutions
I told you these stories to realise the gravity of the situation of people with disabilities in institutions.
Now, I fight for the 16.607 people who are still in institution in Romania, and who deserve to live in the community.
Together with my colleagues from UnLoc we took out 11 people with disabilities, and I help support them in the community.
I go out with them in town, at different activities, we go to birthdays.
All of them are working.
But I also help them in situations when it is hard for them to get used to the life in the community.
Every person has the right to live in the community
Politicians have to respect the CRPD because it is written clearly that every person has the right to live in the community and to have access to services.
The Romanian politicians don’t respect the CRPD, and they want to keep people segregated in institutions.
Every year around 1,500 people die in institutions.
In the name of the 16.607 people from institutions I want to ask EU to don’t give any funds to the countries which don’t respect the CRPD and don’t start real deinstitutionalisation.
More from Elisabeta:
- “I experienced a lot of abuse in institutions. I wanted to change this situation for others.”
- “There were staff members who sexually abused residents”
- Helena Dalli: “Unfortunately, many people still think that institutions are safe places. This is simply not true”
More on deinstitutionalisation:
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