Matthieu Chatelin

Matthieu Chatelin, EU Citizen of French Origin, representing the Cerebral Palsy European Communities' Association(unincorporated branch of I.C.P.S)

My name is Matthieu. I am 28 and it is an honour to serve and represent YOU at the European Disability Forum's Youth Committee.

If I could pass on one message to you, I would tell you to NEVER let society or your home country set your life in motion for you, at least not in a way YOU did not consent and would not wish, because of their ill preconcived ideas. Sure, other people can and will help you. We are ALL part of the same human family. But nobody knows yourself better than you and your loved ones or those who matter to YOU.

For example, if I had let society impose the vision it had for me, it is safe to say that I would probably never have obtained two masters (MA in Human Rights and MA in International Affairs, Civil Society Development and Conflict resolution) in the US system of American Universities abroad (AUP-Paris) and in England (UCL London), where I have lived for many years.

Sure it was not easy in any way, probably much harder than for some, but I did it:) If I had let society choose for myself, probably people would have thought that someone with severe spastic tetraparetic Cerebral Palsy, and associated deficiencies due to a premature birth, quasi wheelchair bound and totally dependent, could not do that, and certainly not in another country.

Perhaps, I would never have even heard about EDF and met all those amazing, inspiring, but above all brave colleagues at EDF Youth with all their deeply humbling and enriching experiences. Europe is the greatest creation ever made by man. That Common Citizenship, the family to which we all belong and bring something into (because yes we all do, even if you do not perceive that), with its common values spreading accross 27 countries, is one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive, second to none but life itself!

This is YOUR life, and that life is too priceless to waste. Live YOUR dreams, affirm YOU exist and let people know YOU (not who people would like you or your disability to be), contribute the way YOU wish and are able to (we can all do something, even if it is just to keep smiling:) to our global family. This is YOUR planet, YOUR Union, YOUR rights and above all, YOUR dignity and life, so make sure YOU ENJOY every second of it, even when it is hard, as guess what, all YOUR stories make humanity go forward and YOUR passion, coupled to YOUR determination will make things better. I am proud to represent you!, and I am proud of YOU ALL!

A bientôt, let's stay in touch!