Internationally disability has been on the political agenda since United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006. As it can be traced from the policy papers that there is a wide acceptance on the importance of social inclusion of people with disabilities since it is still a challenge that many EU countries must address. Besides, according to data from OECD, EU and Turkey approximately 15% of the world's population is consist of people with disabilities. If we make it specific to our consortium, the numbers of people with disabilities are respectively in Greece is approximately 1.000.000, in Spain 3.8 million, in Turkey is approximately 4.9 million and in the UK 13.9 million.
Various studies and projects on people with disabilities have shown us that disabilities have so far been represented from the aspects of their emotionally wellbeing, improving their employability, educational attainment, self-esteem and self-efficacy, etc. All these motivations of improving their life standard are vital. However, through all these works it appears an important threshold in a disabled person’s life is missed such as the transition period of individual’s being discharged from hospital to life back at home where life is not the same as it was. Such period is as vital as a disabled person’s wellbeing and improved chance of employability. Moreover, it is the first step that in a way shapes the acquired disabled person’s wellbeing and employability in the long run. Therefore even though people with disabilities are on the agenda of policy makers, it does not fully reach its ideals.
Our own experiences suggest that people who go through disability at an unexpected stage of their life, they are alone with their new circumstances. Because at this transition period they need kind of a guidance regarding where to start from or where to apply, how to set up a business or the current work and educational options provided in their local approximate, etc. to keep going in their daily life. Without some kind of guidance in their circumstances, the people can face a future of low income/poverty, social exclusion.
It is true that when experiencing such a traumatic situation families are the first who support the person with acquired disability. Apart from the family support, there are some other institutions provided by law and NGOs which families can apply when they need. However, most of the family members are also objects of this traumatic experience and they are the ones who are also in need of guidance to overcome such a situation. Because in most cases they do not know how to access the information they need to help their family member with acquired disability. In these terms families are alone as well as their familiy member with acquired disability who go through such a trauma in the first hand. Therefore our project targets not only adults with acquired disabilities but also their close circles such as their families.
To help people with acquired disabilities and their families to readjust social life with their new circumstances by guiding them to feel included in society and the workplace is an important issue which is shared by many countries. After primary discussions with our partners in Turkey, Scotland, Greece and Spain we found they too are experiencing the similar issues that we are. When discussing the subject of how to support people with acquired disability to readjust social life smoothly for social inclusion with our partners we came to a conclusion that we can develop and implement an online guide. As none of the consortium member countries have such a specific guide where our target group can reach the information immediately without even waiting on the line to wait someone to answer or by coincidence through their social network to answer their needs.
With the online guide we aim to provide an environment to help our target group to readjust life by making life outside accessible as much as possible. Because even if there is information provided by the state or private organizations it is not easy to navigate and most of the time these institutions are not connected to each other in terms of the services they provide. Through the online guide we will also be able to help them rediscover their own strengths and abilities as well as keeping their civic relationship with the state institutions.
Being be able to find their way whether they look for their rights as a citizen or to set up a business or take up a vocational trade or further educational qualification is one of the main methods of going from being socially excluded to readjusted in their society. In this regard this project will contribute to one of the targets of Europe 2020 Strategy for social inclusion of adults with disabilities.
- Qualitative study to identify the needs of people with acquired disabilities (mainly physical, organic and sensory disabilities) and their families and the existing services and offers available to them in specific areas.
- Focus groups where 15 people with acquired disability and their families will participate to share their real experience at the time of acquiring their disability as well as what were the main difficulties they faced at that time, the services they received and those they missed, as well as the organisations that were their main support. The aim is to map the needs for the next stage.
- Mapping of needs detected in the previous activities to analyse which are essential and necessary to create the guide based on real experiences and experiences.
- Online resource guide for people with newly acquired disabilities to support them in their unexpected circumstances (available at https://readjustingtolife.eu/es/online-guide).
- Pilot implementation of the created guide for evaluation and correction of deviations before final formatting.
- Communication strategy comprising events in each project country to disseminate results and give visibility to the acquired disability and its adaptation to the new life as a person with a disability.
All the information on the programme can be found at the following link: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/eplus-project-details/#project/2020-1-TR01-KA204-094182