What is Independent Living
What is independene living
Independent Living does not mean make a person "normal" in a physical or mental sense. The movement instead emphasises the value of people with disabilities having access to ordinary life experiences. By having access to community based and stakeholder controlled services, support, resources and skills training people with disabilities can live an ordinary life in the community.
Principles of Independent Living
Independent Living Society provides support, services and other assistance to empower people with disabilities to exercise their rights to live independently with dignity in their chosen community. The principles behind these services are:
- Human rights: equal rights and opportunities for all. No segregation by disability type or stereotype.
- Consumerism: a person who is using or purchasing a service or product decides what is best for himself or herself.
- De-institutionalisation: no person should be institutionalized on the basis of disability.
- De-medicalisation: people with disabilities are not 'sick', as prescribed by the assumptions of the medical model and do not necessarily require help from certified medical professionals for daily living.
- Self-help: people learn and grow from discussing their needs, concerns and issues with people who have had similar experiences. 'Professionals' are not the source of the help provided.
- Advocacy: systemic, systematic, long term and community wide chage activities are needed to ensure that people with disabilities benefit from all that society has to offer.
- Barrier removal: architectural, communication, institutional and attitudinal barriers must be removed in order to ensure human rights, consumerism, de-institutionalisation and self-help.
- Consumer control: The organisations best suited to support and assist individuals with disabilities are governed, managed staffed and operated by people with disabilities.
- Peer role models: leadership for living independently and disability rights is vested in individuals with disabilities, not partners, service providers or other representatives.
- Cross-disability: activities designed to achieve the principles must be cross-disability in approach. This means that the work to be done must be carried out by people with different types of disabilities for the benefit of all persons with disabilities.
Accessible environments are essential for people with disabilities. They help people live independently in their home and allow them to access public facilities and services like government buildings, shops, transport and recreation areas. Read more about accessible environments here.
Major Barriers to Independent Living
Across Nepal a number of barriers exist that prevent or restrict people with disabilities from living independently. These include:
- Physical barriers at work places, shops, education, health facilities, public buildings and public constructions.
- A lack of accessible transportation.
- Legislation, regulation, policies and practices that force people with disabilities to live segregated and institutional lives against their will.
- A lack of accessible information about services, rights and responsibilities to support people to live independently.
- Lack of accommodations to facilitate communication by people with disabilities.
- Attitudes about the ability of people with disabilities to live where and with whom they choose and make decisions for themselves.