In 2015, Lumos attended the Zero Project conference in Vienna. Seven self-advocates from Lumos’ child participation programmes in Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Moldova spoke about their perspectives on inclusive education and deinstitutionalisation.
Veliko and Mihaela, two self-advocates from Bulgaria reflect on their presentation and their own experiences of inclusive education, here's what they said:
Veliko gave a presentation about his own experiences of Inclusive Education. This is what he told us about his experience of the conference:
"I was very happy that my presentation was successful. It was important to me that at the end of our presentations we met other people from Bulgaria who are working on projects for people and children with disabilities in my country.
I was very impressed with how accessible the conference building was for people in wheelchairs. The UN building was entirely wheelchair friendly and I even saw a man in a wheelchair who was with his support dog. I think that this would be impossible in Bulgaria.
I created a Lumos plaque, which I gave to Lumos CEO Georgette Mulheir. “This is more than an Oscar” she said when I gave her the plaque, which I made at school. I found her words really touching."
Mihaela co-facilitated the Lumos presentation on Inclusive Education. Her drawing shows what she found in her suitcase when she returned back home after the conference.
"I was the co-facilitator of the presentation. It was a new experience for me.
I brought back chocolates and candies.
I made new friends from Czech Republic and Moldova.
I learnt that children need to be asked about their opinion.
I met a mother who is a foster parent, and I saw how calm and happy the kids in her family were.
After meeting the children from the Czech Republic and hearing their story about life in institutions, I want to continue working as a self-advocate."