EUROPE FOR CITIZENS
EUROPE FOR CITIZENS; Europe for Citizens - Programme Guide 2014-2020
Strand2: Democratic engagement and civic participation
his project is aiming at Increasing active participation in civic and social life of people with intellectual disabilities through community and environmental initiatives in Italy, Ireland and Romania. The project would also like to set examples of actions and best practices that can be replicated in other Member States combating social exclusion and discrimination, while developing a sustainable and inclusive European economy. People with intellectual disabilities are often met with stigma both in social life and in public and civil organizations. This leads to social exclusion and discrimination. Therefore this group is also likely to face barriers to full and equal participation in society. The increased opportunities of quality encounters of recent years and the need for living and working in an inclusive Europe of different cultures, social and personal backgrounds, have created a great environment for sharing knowledge and experience, giving space to develop solidarity, understanding and acceptance of diversity. This project celebrates diversity and wants to recognize the capacities of people with intellectual disabilities by incorporating them directly into the community and environmental initiatives. The planned actions will include awareness raising campaigns, workshops, training, non-formal education activities and community events. All events are promoted through traditional and social media tools so that more people have the opportunity to get informed. In addition, the project wants to involve decision makers and media through the development of a series of information products and easy read materials to show how People with intellectual disabilities can be actively participating in civic and social life.
According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), persons with disabilities “include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. The “European Commission Disability Strategy 2010-2020”, estimates that more than 80 million people with a disability live in the European Union. Within this group, people with intellectual disabilities face stigmatization and social exclusion which impacts their civic and democratic participation at union level. The ENVIROACT project aims at bridging this gap by raising awareness both in the media and with the decision makers as well as creating exchange opportunities within different EU counties. The sharing of best practices around community and environmental initiatives will allow people with intellectual disabilities to find a unique way to actively participate in the civil life.
The project will also concentrate on inter-cultural exchange, by allowing disadvantaged people from Romania, one of the new EU member state to travel and meet their peers in Italy and Ireland in the social farming and community gardening context, which is very much lead by volunteer activity and involvement. We reckon this will facilitate the full participation of people with intellectual disabilities in the community activities as well as raise awareness of the opportunities the environmental field offers in terms of building individual independence and working towards job placement. There will also be an opportunity for volunteer organizations to meet and share best practices and to document the result of their exchange to make sure these are then adequately disseminated to make them available for future project or initiatives in the field.
Finally, this project will provide a unique opportunity for policy and decision makers to get in touch with long-established associations in the field of social care and to increase their awareness towards social inclusion policies through community initiatives, with the hope that this will help cascading the EUROPEAN PACT FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING, which actively invites policy makers to combat stigma towards people with intellectual disabilities.