The Hungarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, ÉFOÉSS, held a book launch on the 5th of May in celebration of the European Independent Living Day. ÉFOÉSZ was established exactly 40 years ago as an umbrella body for organizations concerned with the care and rehabilitation of people with intellectual disabilities in Hungary. The organization represents 50 member associations, 25 local branches and 22.000 individual members all over the country and we have 19 independent living centres.
The book launch was for their newly published book, titled Independent Life written by Hungarian self-advocates. One of the writers is László Bercse who is the Co-Chair of ÉFOÉSZ and the Chair of the European Platform of Self-Advocates and the Vice-President of Inclusion Europe. The publication contains interviews and short personal stories about the experiences of self-advocates in 7 areas of independent living: education, employment, supported living, relationships, political participation, easy-to-read communication and supported decision-making.
The event was accessible to all interested self-advocates, parents and to everyone who is eager to understand what independence truly means to people with intellectual disabilities. The self-advocate writers shared their experiences with the labour market, how sad and helpless it makes them feel they cannot sign their own employment contracts without the legal permission of their guardian parent. Moreover, they were speaking about the general anxiety they have when they think about the future in case of the death of their parents, where will they live, who will support them in taking care of themselves.
Parents spoke about how important they think this book is, and that every parent should read it, whether they have a child with a disability or not. Also, Independent Life will be part of the curriculum in the Juhász Gyula Faculty of Education at the University of Szeged.
Independent Life is available here in the Hungarian language.
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