|The European Coalition for Community Living (ECCL) is a Europe-wide cross disability initiative working towards the social inclusion of people with disabilities by promoting the provision of comprehensive, quality community-based services as an alternative to institutionalisation. ECCL was founded in 2005 by ENIL, Autism Europe, the Center for Policy Studies of the Central European University, the European Disability Forum, Inclusion Europe, Mental Health Europe and the Open Society Mental Health Initiative. Read more|
What is Community Living?
In order to exercise their rights and participate fully in the society, people with disabilities need to have access to comprehensive, quality community-based services. This means living independently in the community, in small group homes or individual housing, with adequate support based on each person’s individual needs. It also means having access to education and employment, as well as social and cultural life of the community. It means having choices and living with dignity.
To ensure that community-based services are provided on the basis of individual needs, people with disabilities must be involved in their development, together with other stakeholders. It is important that the planning, provision and review of community-based services are founded on the values of equal citizenship and social inclusion, as well as the principles for positive change.
Vlatka Sirotic spent 32 years in an institution for people with disabilities. In 2001, she was included in the program of Community Based Supported Living, run by the Association for Promoting Inclusion in Croatia. Today, she lives in an apartment in the centre of town with three other friends from the institution. She is employed and receives a salary. She also has a boyfriend and many plans for the future. After many years, she re-established contact with her family. Describing the years she spent in the institution as living in a cage, Vlatka sees her freedom as her greatest achievement in her new life.