EEDR: day 3 and 4 – meeting disability groups in Leipzig
It seems a daily post will, on occasions, be too tall an order. Since arriving at Rico’s in Leipzig I haven’t had the chance to edit the video, write and upload the blog.
Despite not checking in for 2 days, I’ve been sharing lots of updates on my Twitter feed, using photos through instagram. Please stay tuned with my Twitter handle @martynsibley!
For those who do not know; Rico was one of my PAs 8 years ago for my economics degree in Coventry. I’ve visited Leipzig twice before. Taking #EEDR via his place made sense. Despite being carried in his house, into the bathroom and up to bed; it was great to see him and catch up.
He had already contacted and set up a meeting with 2 disability groups. In the morning of day 3 we took the tram to the outskirts and met the first organisation.
Afterwards we grabbed lunch, wandered the city, explored the access and then headed to a Leipzig Greek restaurant to meet the second group.
Overall the challenges, problems, activist projects and disability services were very similar to the UK. As Leipzig has undergone recent development they had the luxury of enforcing building/transport regulations that older infrastructure avoid.
The biggest and most commonly agreed issue for both groups was attitude. Obviously there were the points of non-disabled people discriminating. However Cordula who ran the youth group (my second meeting) made an interesting point.
“Many disabled people are protected by parents and teachers. They need to still make choices and have responsibility. When disabled people (who it is possible for) get jobs, educate people who don’t understand disability in a positive way, and demand access to society; things will happen faster. Disabled people have to drive the change”.
So much of the access, transport, funding, bureaucracy and provision seemed familiar to me from my time working at Scope.
I wonder if these similarities will continue as I head to Poland and Lithuania.
Afterwards I struggled to get a bath last night (Filipe and Rico lifted me somehow in the tub). Today I woke up with a pressure sore. Along the route to Gorzow (where my other PA Kasia is putting us up) we decided to go through Berlin. Going on the autobahn the discomfort increased on my left side where I sit. I know pressure sores can be dangerous, so I was also fretting.
Filipe and I decided – better safe than sorry. We headed to a hospital near Berlin. We were seen in 20 minutes, told it was early stages, that we did the right thing, to put a protective pad on the effected area and keep an eye on it.
Here’s to hoping it goes the right way!
So I’m currently blogging in a hospital cafe whilst Filipe edits the above video.
Then it’s off to Kasias till Thursday, then Gdansk where another PA (Gabi) is from.
I’m also booking hotels thereafter, making disability contacts and speaking to the media.
I’m liaising with the European parliament for my Brussels visit and to share my report after the trip.
Please share #EEDR, let me know if I’m missing any useful tips and pass on any useful contacts.
The roadtrip page on my site has the press release and itinerary.
See you in Poland!