Nadia Hadad visits Independent Living Institute and the DRW team

Disabled Refugees Welcome had the honor to meet Nadia Hadad under a study visit she did to ILI the 11th of April 2018. Nadia Hadad is currently on the Board of GRIP (Equal Rights for Each Person with a Disability) and the board of members for ENIL (European Network for Independent Living).

In 2003, while working as a cooperation-developer in the rural area of Senegal, Nadia had a car accident and became disabled. After two years of rehabilitation in Belgium, Nadia took the decision to combine disability and development cooperation as her future career.

DRW’s field worker Julius Ntobuah gave the introduction and described the background of Disabled Refugees Welcome as a project. Jamie Bolling, DRW project manager, and Rahel Abebaw, field worker, made adds on the work that the DRW team do, then an exchange of thoughts and ideas were carried out.

Nadia explained for our team about the situation of Disabled Refugees in Flanders. Some of the aspects we can lift here are the following:

  • There are many new arrivals with disability whom must prove their disability before any help can be assessed, currently there is a waiting list of eight months for the assessment of disability.
  • Assessment is difficult since those who apply need national register number, for which one needs an address
  • There are many minors who are disabled which authorities solvd by building  three brand new institutions for disabled new arrival minors
  • There is the problem of finding legal representatives .
  • The institutions are full.
  • Package of benefits/vouchers with a minimum amount but not at the level of social allowance for Belgians.
  • Support is through social workers with no knowledge on disability. For them the solution is institutionalisation
  • Refugee camps are spread throughout the country. 40000 people came between 2014 – 2015.
  • There is the obligation for the country to house and feed people. Newcomers were put in hotels in order not to be given money. This created a madness between the domestic population and the newcomers.
  • In the beginning there were many volunteers. Now a new law is being adopted to make it criminal to house a newcomers. Many are critical to  this Gestapo-like idea.

Nadia also explained that in the EU semestriel report on immigrants disability is now included (Eurostat). EU money is being used for training and tools for registration are being worked on.

Short on GRIP

GRIP stands for – (Equal Rights for Each Person with a Disability)  Is an human rights movement working for equal rights and civil society started by IL Flanders and Jan Jan who went to court as the city reanimated him but gave him no assistance. Then fought for Personal Assistance.
GRIP is Financed by the Ministry of Equal Rights, 380 000 Euros with indexation, and donors one of which is for Using the Law as a tool. All employees are either disabled or members of families.

Issues that GRIP work with are:
  • Employment,
  • Inclusive education
  • Media and image of disabled people
  • IL and the UN-CRPD and article 19: did the shadow report; campaign – stronger than we think

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