On Wednesday 19th of February 2020, 25 people with disabilities and educators from 5 Countries joined ARFIE at the European Parliament to present the activities carried out in the context of the ERASMUS+ projects IN-CUBAand IncludNet.
The occasion was a networking event organised by our European NGO and Tilly Metz (MEP-Green), who invited our association to present its network and activities to the Parliament. In her welcoming speech Tilly Metz recalled her long-lasting connection with ARFIE and the social sector. She was a teacher of specialised pedagogy at the Institute of Pedagogical and Social Studies in Luxembourg and has kept her commitment to disability as an active member in the Disability Intergroup in the EP, and as President of the Luxembourg Association for Multiple Sclerosis.
Co-host of the event, Elisabetta Gualmini (S&D) extended her welcome and recalled her commitment in the social field as Vice-President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, and now in the European Parliament as a member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
This event was extremely important for our NGO because it allowed us to present ARFIE’s mission, values and way of networking with its members. As recalled by our President, Raymond Ceccotto, today ARFIE is a wide European network of social service providers, trainers and professionals that promotes EU projects and research with the aim of fostering innovative and inclusive approaches in the field of service provision for people with disabilities. It works in strong connection and collaboration with its members to Improve the support, social inclusion and availability of services for people with disabilities, people with important dependency needs and with associated mental health needs, and to promote high quality staff training for social service providers.
This event was also very important for us not only for the opportunity to present our network, but also for the possibility to give voice to the real protagonists of our projects, namely people with disabilities and professionals involved in the organisation and delivery of social services. Users and social workers from CADIAI (IT), AMPANS(ES), AMADIP-ESMENT (ES), CECD Mira Sintra (PT), MARGARITA (GR) presented the activities they are carrying out in the context of the IN-CUBA and IncludNet, projects in the perspective of opening entrepreneurship opportunities to people with intellectual disability and enhancing a co-productive approach.
The event was enriched by the participation of Alejandro Moledo from the European Disability Forum (EDF), Marta Gutierrez Benet (EC, DG Education & Culture) and Giuseppe Guerini (EESC) who offered different perspectives of the commitment of the civil society and EU institutions towards the rights of persons with disabilities and the implementation of the UN Convention of Right of Persons with Disability.
All the participants and speakers supported the main issues promoted by ARFIE and promised to bring forward the recommendations during the discussions around the new disability Strategy 2020:
- Coproduction as a real promotion of participation and involvement of people with disabilities in choice and decision making in matters concerning them directly;
- Deinstitutionalisation and community-based services, designed in a way that allows real and multiple choice and autonomy in the way of living of people with disability;
- Importance of Quality Training and Service Management facilitating a paradigm shift and enabling a more effective response to these approaches.