International Youth Day: Messages from the members of the European Disability Forum Youth Committee

12 August 2020

Happy International Youth Day! In a few days we will be publishing an edition of our newsletter the Disability Voice dedicated to the Youth Committee. In the meantime, here are some messages from our Youth Committee members and some of their tips to uplift your mood during these times. If you want to know more about them you can click their names to read their bios.

Kamil Goungor from Greece, Chair of the Youth Committee

If you ever need someone to speak or to ask questions about young disabled people and our rights, don't hesitate to reach out to us (both the EDF Youth Committee and the secretariat). We will be happy to get in touch.

I love reading books and immerse myself in another people's lives or even another worlds. Comics can be a great idea too

Francesca Sbianchi from Italy

Engaging at the local, national and global levels is always worthwhile and rewarding for  young people, all the more so for youth with disabilities who can bring in new concepts and fresh perspectives as  well as pave the way to wider cooperation and better opportunities for everybody in an inclusive society.

What supported me during lockdown:

  • to take care of myself, i.e. doing  activities for which I couldn’t find the time before the COVID-19 pandemic: e.g. doing gymnastics, reading books, watching TV series.
  • to take care of relationships. It is important not to forget to nurture them. In fact, the feeling of closeness (even though virtual) with my dear ones and friends helped me through this complicated time.

Mathieu Chatelin from France and his Personal Assistant Marianne Hochard

Marianne,my co worker and I, believe that Leaving no one behind and pulling through together have always been at the heart of what it means to be human. Now more than ever, it is vital for us all to remember the power which we can all harness towards a better world when we team up with others.

Thus, What keeps us going these days is to realise that we will all  have to rebuild the future anew. To do just that means that we will have to rebuild a more inclusive and fairer world, which means that the world of tomorrow will be full of opportunities for us all to grab and to shape the best we will be able to. in doing so,It will also be extremely important to ensure that we will be able to leave a fairer, more prosperous, caring, confident and open-minded world for future generations to enjoy.

Liisa Halonen from Finland

Always remember to keep us in the loop because we, the youth with disabilities, are also a part of the society and we are willing to build an inclusive society as well. To fix our disability is not what we want from society but to live as equal with other citizens.

Breathe and take a look at where you are now. Is there something you have missed to do before? To have a phone call with your long old friends? To look for pictures you have taken while traveling from a few years ago? To try a new game you have always wanted to purchase? Here is your opportunity to catch

Sigridur Fossberg Thorlacius from Iceland

I would like to say to other young people with disabilities is that you matter! We all matter during these strange times.

What I practice every day, is finding something I'm thankful for, especially for my hobbies. I also try to find something I'm grateful for about COVID! Even if it can be really hard some days

Victor Rehn from Iceland

Communicate openly about your disability and what makes it easier for you, it might make it easier for the people around you as well.

Be outdoors whenever possible, disc golf is a low threshold and easy social distancing outdoor activity that can be done together. 

Erika Becerra from Italy living in the UK

In these difficult uncertain times the most vulnerable people ever are the most affected, but we were able to demonstrate that is always possible to stay stronger together. The life we use to live only relied on conventions that can be dismantled. We have to fight harder to make our voices listened as to get our rights is harder now than ever

The lockdown allowed me to find out a part of myself I didn't know. I kept myself committed in interesting activities. Be your best friend however the circumstances are and you will never be alone.

Dominique de Marné from France

I'd like to tell all of you out there that however these last couple of weeks and months have been, how hard or how easy, how exhausting or rewarding – it's ok.

Focusing on all the things, big and small, that are good each and every single day, be it a ray of sunshine or a nice post on instagram. These are complicated, scary times, all feelings are valid and to look for these positive spotlights does help me a lot. 

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