Martina, 19, is a young Lumos self-advocate from Czech Republic who loves sports, music, and reading. She was placed in an institution as a baby, ...
The voices of Lumos-supported self-advocates are a powerful tool for affecting change. Lumos supports and guides young people to as they gain confidence and communication skills, and we provide opportunities to speak with decision-makers in a meaningful way.
We work directly with children and young people throughout the deinstitutionalisation process: from family tracing to preparing children to move from institutions to family life, to supporting them in their new homes. It is critical that children and young people are included in decision-making about all aspects of their lives, from choosing their own clothes to sharing opinions about their care. We provide training and support on child-centered practice to professionals and those providing care.
For children and young people with disabilities, we use a range of methods such as intensive interaction therapy and communication passports, which help in fostering communication and decision-making.
Children and young people can and should be involved throughout the DI process. In our demonstration programmes we have supported children and young people's contributions to:
Youth participation is a crucial part of our work. We are committed to actively listening to and working in partnership with children and young people to achieve our goal of ending deinstitutionalisation. Lumos-supported self-advocates are instrumental to our advocacy work and campaigns at the local, national and international levels. Young people have an important and increasing role in our training, research, monitoring and evaluation. They also amplify their ideas by producing films that we share with a global audience.
In 2017, Lumos has piloted national youth advisory boards in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Moldova, which provides opportunities for young people to contribute directly to our governance and strategic direction.
We work with self-advocates and Lumos ambassadors in many countries, and feel that the best way to truly appreciate their work is to read about their projects in their own words. Below are a few of the stories they've shared.