♦ Word of de president
♦ The European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012
♦ Second Russian Congress for People with Special Needs
♦ Celebration at Casa Rozei, Urlati, Romania
♦ ECCE General Meeting 2013
♦ Creating quality
Dear members and friends of ECCE,
our General Meeting in the wonderful environment of Asociacion San
Juan, Tenerife (ES), under the excellent hospitality of Fidel Ortega
Dueñas, his wife, his co-workers and the residents, the Committee
of ECCE turned into a process of evaluation. One of the results of this
process is that the office of ECCE will move next year to the premises
of Die Freunde der Erziehungskunst (Friends of Waldorf Education) in
Berlin, where our future secretary general Thomas Kraus has his office.
The tasks in the Committee will be reshuffled and new nominees for
Committee member will be presented to you in our next General Meeting in
Hungary, May 2nd – 5th 2013.
Because of the withdrawal of our secretary Roelien Kort, of
who we have taken leave of in Tenerife, and her working load for the
Edith Maryon College we were not able to send out this Link sooner,
which we regret strongly. Fortunately Roelien, who had to give up her
work for ECCE due to personal reasons, was willing to prepare and send
out this Link.
On the European level ECCE proposed to form a Platform in the
EDF in order to strengthen the position of persons with complex
dependency needs. I myself found a good resonance for this idea by
representatives of our colleague NGO’s
as Inclusion Europe, Down Syndrome and Autism Europe. In the past EDF
had a working group on this theme in which the former ECCE president,
Mrs. Christa Schloh, had been active.
In this Link you will read more activities ECCE was involved in.
I would like to take this opportunity and thank all our
members and friends for the generous support and collaboration in the
past year. I am looking forward to 2013, where the new version of the
Policy Paper will be presented to the members. The theme of next year
will be ‘the creation of quality’. This will also be the theme of our
symposium, May 4th in Szimbiózís, Miskolc, Hungary.
The Committee of ECCE wishes you all
a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2013!
Adrienne Thier, president ECCE
The European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2012
3-4 December 2012, Brussels
In 1992, the United Nations declared December 3rd as the date
for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To mark European
Day of Persons with Disabilities, the
European Commission held an annual policy conference, this
year on December 3rd and 4th, in close cooperation with the European
Disability Forum, entitled ‘Active Europeans with Disabilities – Let Us
Participate!’. On behalf of ECCE Bernard Heldt attended this meeting.
The conference was part of the EU’s wider efforts to promote
the mainstreaming of disability issues in line with the EU Disability
Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
In the year 2012 the visibility of persons with disabilities
was boosted by the London Paralympics. However, persons with
disabilities are still critically underrepresented in all the most
visible arenas of public life – such as politics, media, cinema, and
most social and cultural activities.
This is why this year's Conference focused on the active
participation of persons with disabilities in different areas of public
life, such as politics (e.g. active and passive voting rights,
involvement in political parties, participation in mainstream NGOs etc);
media (quantity and quality of the presence of persons with
disabilities in the media, including cinema); sports (competitive sports
The sessions involved panels with presentations by people with
disabilities, representatives of disability organizations, social
partners, service-providers, disability and accessibility experts coming
from the Member States and the European Commission. Useful examples of
of persons with disabilities in politics, media, sports and other
visible sectors of our societies were brought into focus; as well as
models of good policy practice, possible future policies and practical
examples of problems and solutions.
During the panels there was substantial time for interactive discussions with the audience.
The Accessibility Award was conferred to Berlin, as the most accessible city 2012.
The Commission will publish a concise conference report online.
Second Russian Congress for People with Special Needs
No big without the small. Find your Jewel.
The Second Russian Congress for People with Special Needs took
place in Yekaterinburg on 24–28 September 2012 and brought together 370
participants: people with special needs, counsellors and professionals.
This was the second congress of its kind in Russia, modelled after the
European “Living in the Encounter” congresses.
Even as in Moscow in 2010, it was organized by the
“Association of Curative-educational and Social-therapeutic
Organizations.” Four NGOs from Yekaterinburg participated in its
execution. “Blagoe delo”, “Eco-Centre Naturalia”, “Institute of
Social-therapeutic Innovation and Education”, and “Semargl”. Anne
Hofinga, the initiator of the social forum in the “Petersburg Dialogue”
was able to convince the coordinators of the working group civil society
in the Petersburg Dialog, M. Fedotow and A. Schockenhoff, to become
patrons of the congress. Thanks to this patronage there was broad
support from officials and civil organisations in this region of the
Urals. Great support for the congress was provided by the ombudsman, the
governor, and the government of the Swerdlowsk region. The regional
ministry for social policy also supported the congress financially and
took care of the media presence.
Geographically all of Russia was represented, from Ussurijsk
to Pskow, from Rostov-on-Don to Surgut. Delegations came from 25 Russian
cities, representing 48 institutions and organisations, as well as
guests from Germany, Sweden and Norway. The events were held in the
cultural centre “Ural” and in the AVS Hotel, where the participants
The program was substantial and varied. Three Russian and
three foreign professionals gave the lectures, among them the initiator
and organizer of international congresses for people with special needs,
Thomas Kraus, and Anne Hofinga from Germany as well as Brigitte Deck
from Sweden. A trainer from the Russian delegation reported on his
participation in the Paralympics in London.
There were 14 workshops that conveyed practical technical
skills and workshops that developed creative thinking and artistic and
sporting skills. Among those were unusual ones such as throat singing
(overtone singing) and archery. About 100 students from colleges and
technical colleges in Yekaterinburg helped with the execution.
Topical problems of people with special needs were discussed
in 12 group sessions in which, among others, also representatives of the
legislative and executive powers and of commerce and industry. In these
discussions themes such as a barrier-free environment, protection of
the rights of the handicapped, arranging for employment, occupation and
training, establishing of living centres, and many other topics were
dealt with. The participants had the opportunity to express their views
without mediation and to exchange opinions, experiences and ideas.
There was also a trade fair on the occasion of the congress,
which presented both technical rehab devices as well as methods and
achievements of social integration, and psychological and pedagogical
resources. The institutions that participated in the congress also
received the opportunity to display products from their workshops and
clubs, photos and informational materials.
The participants were offered twelve different excursions,
among them city tours, visits to museums and zoos, and tours of a film
studio and a circus. Fifteen teams of performing artists from
Yekaterinburg and the surrounding region contributed to making the
opening celebration and the morning and evening events unforgettable.
Song, music, circus presentations and the performance by the famous rock
musician Wladimir Schachrin, to name but a few.
A high point became the talent evening “Goldfields of my
soul”, in which the participants from the various cities of Russia
offered their artistic contributions. They have all proven that their
possibilities are truly limitless and their inner strength, optimism and
self-confidence can serve as example for all of society.
Reports on the congress appeared in countless mass media,
including no fewer than four television channels. On opening day a press
conference was held, and on television and advertising displays in the
whole city reports were shown. In the course of the preparations, the
congress has gained many friends. About 40 partner organisations have
helped us to translate the idea into action; the list of those who
provided support in all manner of form became very long.
At the conclusion of the congress, participants have worked
out a resolution that was passed on to those in power. Also, a congress
newspaper was produced that keeps interviews and reports about the event
at the ready. All participants wish for a speedy continuation.
Yekaterinburg, 3 October 2012
The picture shows the group that came the longest way, from near Vladivostok, in front of the congress centre.
Celebration at Casa Rozei, Urlati, Romania
November 25th – 30th Casa Rozei in Urlati, Romania, was
celebrating 21 years since the founding of Casa Rozei; ECCE was invited
to this event. Those who had contributed to the development of the
centre and those who are working for the next phase of its evolution,
were brought together with the residents and co-workers.
Included was the inauguration of the renovated Day Centre.
So there was plenty to celebrate, much to share and opportunities to gain insight into such questions as:
* Why Casa Rozei? What has its path been about? What is asked of the centre today?
* Who are we as residents and co-workers? How can our life as
residents become more meaningful, ever more worthwhile? How can we
co-workers recognize life purposes and contribute to their fulfillment?
* Many centres in the West seem to be losing their character
as places of curative education and social therapy, as it was understood
in the 20th century. Can places in the East open new possibilities and
opportunities for healing, learning and social impulses?
Each morning, during this interesting week, Renate Bradbury
-an art therapist from Ireland- worked in an enthusiastic way with the
clients and co-workers. I learned a lot about the economical
difficulties in Romania, the resulting problems for Casa Rozei and how
they are being solved. I was touched to experience how the management
team of Casa Rozei succeeds in working from the view points of curative
education and social therapy in difficult circumstances – they are real
idealists! I shook hands with the mayor of Urlati, the director and
staff members of the Social Services of the county and with the Human
Resource director of the local branch of a multinational which supports
Casa Rozei. And I learned to know the intended successor of Roxana Byrde
as director, Gabriela Dragomir, psychologist and co-founder of Casa
and Roxana Byrde, who enjoy a sabbatical year in Ireland, had returned
for this celebration and will stay a couple of months. They keep
involved in the developments of the centre, be it mostly from a
Symbiosis Foundation, the next host of the ECCE General Meeting
From May 2nd till 5th 2013, the members of ECCE will be
welcomed by Symbiosis Foundation in Miskolc, Hungary. We received a
short description of the initiative.
Foundation was established in 1999. Symbiosis provides a wide range of
services for people with intellectual disabilities as well as with
autism, their parents, and persons with reduced ability to work in
North-Hungary. Our main aim is to help the lives of these people and
their families and to improve the quality of their lives. We support
education, training, employment and social integration of persons with
1. Social services: day-care center for 40 disabled people
and a residential for 28 disabled and autistic adults in two
settlements. The day-care center provides community and leisure-time
activities for disabled
people (e.g.: therapies, sports, other leisure time activities).
Barathegy Rehabilitation Farm is a complex system with different kinds
of elements in 5 hectares near the Bükk National Park, including living
centre, stable, cheese manufacture, kitchen, glasshouse, garden, farm
guesthouse, carpentry and ground stone manufacturing workshop. In the
farm guesthouse we host families having disabled children and open-air
school and summer camps are also regularly organised for schoolchildren.
2. Employment activities: Symbiosis provides all the existing
types (institutional, transit and supported employment) of employment
programs in three settlements.
3. Special Transport Service: transport, personal help and supervision, personal assistance for disabled people.
4. International Activities: involvement in several
international projects and host volunteers in the frame of European
Voluntary Service since 2007.
Contact: Address: Augusztus 20 út 12, 3527-Miskolc, Hungary
tel: +3646357637 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.szimbiozis.net
As you may have read in the opening of Adrienne Thier, the
committee chose as a theme for 2013: ‘creating quality’. Why?
To be short: modern quality systems are mostly built on
quantitative data and cross-off lists. Many people act from the idea
that our world has become almost entirely manageable. Only if you can
count and measure you can be sure, is a nowadays slogan. However a lot
of situations have proved that quality of care and guidance has not so
much to do with quantitative data but more with the inner quality of the
person who cares and guides.
About this, there are several questions to think over:
Quality can be achieved or be neglected in many different
areas within the work of Curative Education and Social Therapy. One of
the most important issues of quality is that it is established in the
relationships between people. Realizing this brings us to the first and
most important question. The most important bridge between two people in
which quality can be realized is in intercommunication, in the process
of dialogue between both. A dialogue may be conducted in many different
modes and is not restricted to the use speech alone. We interconnect
with our fellow human beings on many different levels and in many
separate ways, i.e. with our attitude, our approach, our gestures,
exclamations, mimic, expressions, our thoughts, our emotions and clearly
evident with our actions.
So the first question could be -bearing the above in mind-:
How do we cultivate and secure a sophisticated (high
level) and loving quality in the relationship with those we work with
and care for through dialogue as conceived above?” (thanks to Michael Mullan)
In the next ECCE Link we will continue with these questions.
Call for Friends of Alliance ELIANT
ELIANT – the successor to Action ELIANT, which turned over more than
one million signatures to the European Commission – wants to
establish a circle of friends consisting of private donors.
Since Action ELIANT accomplished its goal last year,
Alliance ELIANT has been established with representatives from the
affiliated NGOs as “core members,” of which I am one. The whole is under
the direction of the Steering Group Alliance ELIANT.
The Alliance follows the 15 spearheads described in the
Memorandum that was handed, together with more than one million
signatures, to the European Commission. In order to implement this,
contacts are maintained, lobbying efforts are made, meetings are
attended, trips are made, lectures are given, a digital newsletter is
published and secretarial work is done, such as maintaining the address
Action ELIANT had found a small home with the International
BD Association in the Rue du Trône 194 in Brussels. The Alliance rents a
small office space of its own, also in the Rue du Trône.
At present the budget for 2012 is € 129,000. This amount is
in part provided by the member-NGOs; the balance comes from funds who
temporarily offer support for the start-up phase.
Within a few years, the Alliance wants to be able to operate
as much as possible independently from support from funds and
This is why we want to ask the signers of Charta ELIANT to participate in this circle of friends.
See also www.eliant.eu/news
M. Glöckler (Steering
Group; IKAM, IVAA, FAM), H.-J. Schumacher (gesundheitaktiv), A. Biesantz
(Steering Group), M. Sieh (Steering Group), B. Heldt (ECCE), S. Küffer
(Steering Group; Demeter International), U. Hurter (Steering Group;
IBDA), C. Aerts (IASWECE), C. Clouder (ECSWE)