International Youth Day 2017: Voices of young people with disabilities

12 August 2017
Young people with disabilities living in Europe still face various barriers to study, get a job, live independently, travel, have relationships etc. Lack of accessibility, insufficient support services, stigma and discrimination persist in today’s Europe and prevents them from enjoying their rights and having equal opportunities.  Access to education and employment is even more difficult or impossible for young persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, those coming from migrant or minority families or those living in institutions. 
 
On the International Youth Day 2017, we are asking four young persons with disabilities to tell us what the Europe they want is, what their dreams are and what things are valuable for them in life. 
 
Erika Becerra is from Italy, Sèrge Mabally is from Cameroon but lives in France, Sidsel Munkebo Hansen is from Denmark and Mathieu Chatelin is from France. They are all members of EDF Youth Committee, which was established in 2011 to raise awareness about the needs of young people with disabilities in Europe. 
 
Erika BecerraErika Becerra:
 
 “I want an inclusive and accessible Europe where the world is informed about my condition and society will be more inclusive and less money oriented. I want people around me to recognise my talents, instead of using my 
weakness for not recognising my work. I would like to have a job that I like and equal chances with everybody else. I also want to be able to travel.”
 
 
Sèrge MaballySèrge Mabally:
 
“I want an inclusive and accessible Europe that is rich in diversity, where freedom of movement is a reality and not a utopia, where young people can exchange their knowledge and experiences. I’d like an intergenerational Europe where young people can use the experience of the elderly and the elderly the experience of youth.”
 
 
Sidsel Munkebo HansenSidsel Munkebo Hansen:
 
“I want an inclusive and accessible Europe where young people with disabilities are given the same opportunities as young people without disabilities. I avoided going abroad to study, because I was too afraid of the barriers. Here in Denmark, I can easily bring or access the necessary support services I need (e.g. speech-to-text-interpretation, secretary support during lectures etc). I’m dreaming of a Europe that is equal, so that all young hard of hearing people, no matter in which country they live, have the same possibilities as me.”
 
Mathieu ChatelinMathieu Chatelin: 
 
“I want an inclusive and accessible Europe where I am informed of my rights and where I can fill the potentialities of my citizenship anywhere in Europe.”
 
 
 
 
Things that are important to Erika, Mathieu, Sidsel and Sèrge
 
Table with the words: humanity, honesty, humbleness, freedom, justice, potential, dream, happiness, society, family, love, democracy, understanding, freedom, humour, nature, sports, solidarity
 

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