Encouraging independent living of persons with disabilities through empowerment of their parents and guardians

Project title: “Encouraging independent living of persons with disabilities through empowerment of their parents and guardians

  • funded by the Nationale Agentur Bildung für Europa beim Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung, the German National Agency for the Erasmus+ (Adult education) programme.

Project partners:

  • Outreach Hannover e.V., Germany
  • Fondazione Don Giovanni Zanandrea Onlus, Italy
  • LINK DMT S.R.L.; Italy
  • Company for professional rehabilitation and employment of persons with disabilities ITECCION, Serbia
  • Centre for Non-formal education and Lifelong learning (CNELL), Serbia
  • Centre for youth activism KRIK, North Macedonia
  • Association Humanost, North Macedonia

Project duration: 23 months – from 01.12.2022 till 31.10.2024.

Summary of the project:

People with disabilities still experience challenges in participating equally in different life aspects. Their parents/guardians, on the other hand, do not have the needed capacities to support their learning in life, including the support in being more independent and capable of experiencing an adequate participation, civic engagement and integrity in the community. Besides the education they receive, and potential support they might have from the institutions to be included in different activities in the community, they are still dependent on the willingness of their parents/guardians to participate. While parents/guardians are on one hand the factor that needs support to realise the importance of independency of their children with disabilities, their educators and the environment are the second factor that can contribute to positive changes and supporting quality life for young adults with disabilities. There is a need for adult educators to address this issue and at the same time to find an innovative response to support adult educators with new approaches, materials, digital tools that contribute to better impact on solving this issue.

This project is directly developing their competences, by providing the educators, institutions, and organisations with the innovative and relevant data, tools and educational materials for educating parents/guardians of people with disabilities. These intellectual outputs equip them with practical tools and activities to use for future programmes, thus the project increases the level of quality work, as well as inclusion and diversity in education and training as well as its capacity to address urgent and emerging matters.

How would we feel if we were not allowed to decide what and when to eat, at what time to leave the house, or when to meet friends? We make these decisions all the time, and take for granted that we do so ourselves. Persons with disabilities (PWD) who live in institutions do not share this freedom. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities commits both the EU and all of its Member States to realising the right of PWD to live independently in the community – which includes achieving deinstitutionalisation for those residing in institutional settings. In Europe, still, residential facilities represent the most common accommodation for PWD when they lose their family members caregivers.

Thinking about the future of their children for a parent of a person with disability, means helping people with disabilities to decide how to live, where to live and with whom to live when they will no longer have next to them their parents or family members. It is important to start this process already when parents and family members of persons with disabilities are still fine and healthy and when they can help them get started to become independent. Addressing this issue at this stage will be beneficial for both, parents and guardians, as well as for persons with disabilities.

The path that leads to the realisation of a life plan is far from simple for a parent. The aspects to be taken into consideration are housing, working, legal, financial, all in a context for parents of fear and regulatory insecurity. While these aspects are challenging to be dealt at the time where parents are in a good health and at a younger age, it is even more challenging and sometimes impossible for them at an older age. For this reason, it is important that they are offered support and education in helping their children to reach some level of independency. Similarly, adult educators should be supported with developed innovative methods for empowerment in educating parents/guardians of persons with disabilities. 

Our project answers to the needs defined and aims to empower parents, guardians, caregivers and adult educators for providing individualised support to persons with disability for their independent living.

Project objectives:

  • Empower parents and guardians for the independent living of young adults with disabilities through development of inspiring, innovative and up-to-date handbook, as well as the intensive course mentorship.
  • Empower our adult educators and improve knowledge management of our organisations in theory and practice for building competences of educators for independent living of (young) adults with disabilities, through innovative curriculum for educators’ training and useful toolkit with workshops for beneficiaries.
  • Share project results, exchange good practices on local/national level, as well as further develop quality strategic partnership among partners from 4 European countries with different realities in regards to opportunities available for adults with disabilities.

Project activities are:

  • A1 – Project Management
  • M1 – Kick-off meeting
  • O1 – Handbook on independent living of (young) adults with disabilities
  • O2 – Experiential Methodology of Intensive Mentorship Course for parents and their children with disabilities for independent living
  • M2 – Second meeting
  • O3 – Toolkit with workshops and recommendations useful to adult educators when organising activities with parents/guardians of people with disabilities (PWD)
  • O4 – Curriculum for “Training of adult educators on how to support, educate and mentor parents/guardians of persons with disability for independent living of theirs”
  • Local multiplying training courses
  • E1, E2, E3 – National conferences in Italy, North Macedonia, Serbia
  • E4 – International conference in Germany
  • M4 – Final evaluation meeting

*Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.