Every 12th of August we celebrate International Youth Day. The objective of this day is to raise awareness of the many barriers that still persist for young persons.
At EDF we work to ensure our advocacy includes the perspectives of youth with disabilities, focusing specifically on ensuring mobility is more inclusive – mobility for studies, volunteering, working, living in another country or simply travelling. We want to make sure that all EU Initiatives for young people are accessible to, and inclusive of young people with disabilities.
European Year of Youth: make your voice heard!
2022 is the European Year of Youth (EYY). This way, the European Union aims to engage young people in key consultation processes. EDF has been actively participating in this initiative and advocating to make sure that all initiatives are accessible for young persons with disabilities.
Some members of our Youth Committee shared with us their perspectives on why this EU Year of Youth is important for young people with disabilities.
Kamill Goungor – Greece, European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)
For this European Year of Youth, and on the occasion of the upcoming International Youth Day, I would like to send a message for a Europe that will be united, sustainable, inclusive and accessible to all. A Europe without institutions, segregation and discrimination. A Europe where everyone will have choice and control over their lives, and no one will be left behind. The EU Year of Youth is important to me, because it acknowledges young people and our role in Europe, while giving us plenty of opportunities to raise our voices and to be on the table of discussions. Disabled youngsters should and are present in this process.
Francesca Sbianchi – Italy, Italian Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted (UICI)
Inclusion and accessibility for all are pre-requisites for a prospering and fair European Union. All persons with disabilities should be offered equal services and equal rehabilitation levels in all EU Member States for them to be empowered, live a full life, and be able to return their contribution to the community they belong to and to society in general. I very much appreciate that the European Year of Youth has been proclaimed. It is essential that the European Union takes into consideration the requests and needs of young people, especially young people who are “different”. Young people are very often excluded from active participation, and, when they do participate, they tend to be marginalised. The European Year of Youth 2022 is a precious opportunity for young people, including youth with disabilities, of being heard.
Helga Sigridur Fossberg – Iceland, The Organisation of Disabled in Iceland
I dream of an equal, inclusive and accessible Europe for all young people. Where disability doesn’t automatically mean fewer opportunities. The European Year of Youth is important for me as it sends a clear message that young people matter, that we have a voice and that we deserve to have our voices heard and our needs to be met,regardless of disability, gender, race, sexual orientation or religion.
Matthieu Chatelin – France, Cerebral Palsy European Communities’ Association
As EU citizens, we have never been anywhere as near as we are now when it comes to achieving freedom of movement for all of us! Let’s rejoice and take pride in that. Now, let’s work on these last steps, sign and deliver the package so as to truly enable millions more of our citizens to thoroughly make use of one of the greatest citizenship and most unifying body on earth: the EU, to which I shall forever be proud to belong.
Loredana Dicsi – Belgium, European Disability Forum
In the European Year of Youth EDF managed to bring more visibility of young people with disabilities. Each small step brings young people closer to their place in society. I wish all young people with disabilities courage to stand up for their rights, energy and tenacity to slalom between the two movements, creativity and enthusiasm to blow a new wind of innovation and power to strength the Disability movement.
Do you want to know EDF’s Youth Committee work?
Our Youth Committee is the voice of young people with disabilities inside our organisation. Its role is to ensure that our work takes into account their perspective of but also to represent young people with disabilities in both ours and external events.
In 2021, among other activities, we together with our Youth Committee successfully campaigned for a specific article on inclusion new Erasmus+ Regulation
Read more about the activities and achievements of our Youth Commitee below.
EDF Youth Committee: Annual Report 2021