Accessibility, housing and jobs are common challenges for youth with disabilities in the Nordic region
19 sep 2023
The first Nordic Youth Disability Summit will be arranged this autumn. The summit gives youth disability organisations from the Nordic countries a chance to highlight things that need to be improved, and to share experiences and best practices with each other.
The youth disability organisations will meet in Copenhagen in October 2023 to discuss current issues and challenges, and to find areas for cooperation. The Nordic Youth Disability Summit is a meeting between the Nordic Council of Ministers and young people with disabilities, and will be recurring yearly.
Ingrid Thunem, chairperson of the Norwegian Association of Youth with Disabilities, says that an important area of cooperation is the implementation of the convention of the rights of people with disabilities, CRPD. Hard work is going on with this in Norway, and cooperation with other Nordic countries is useful, Thunem says.
– We should fight together, and work together with getting the politicians to understand why our human rights are so important. I believe we are stronger together, says Ingrid Thunem.
Accessible schools and a chance to be mobile
For young people with disabilities in Sweden, the transition from children to adult health care often cause problems, and in everyday life, accessibility in schools and workplaces is another important issue. Cornelia Flood from Youth with Disabilities Federation Sweden, YDFS, says that all its member organisations point to similar issues.
– We also see huge consequences when youth are becoming adults, and want to pursue education and career, maybe move to another part of the country, or perhaps do an internship abroad. There are many hurdles when it comes to be able to move, because of different local regulations, says Cornelia Flood.
“We have not been asked how we want to live”
In the Faroe Islands, Spyr Meg (in English: Ask Me) represents young people with intellectual disability. Two important questions are the lack of housing, and lack of work, says Herdis Johnsdóttir Johannesen, chairperson of Spyr Meg. The government has now agreed to build more housing units.
– This is of course good news. However, we have not been asked how we want to live, says Herdis Johnsdóttir Johannesen.
A chance to impact on a Nordic scale
An important reason to arrange the Nordic Youth Disability Summit is to strengthen the youth perspective in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ policy in disability issues. At the summit in October, the youth disability organisations will discuss how the Nordic cooperation can be increased. Separate meetings with policy areas will be held, for example regarding children and young people’s opportunities for participation and development, and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ network on the implementation of the disability perspective.
The summit will give input to the Nordic work on disability issues and on the cooperation towards an inclusive labour market. Input on how mobility in the Nordic region could be improved for youth with disabilites will also be given to Nordic Council of Ministers’ Freedom of Movement Council.
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