Marta Migliosi a few months ago became UILDM national councilor. She was entrusted with an important delegation, that of the Youth Group. One of the themes he particularly cares about is Independent Living, a project that is not yet fully known by many people with disabilities. In this interview, she talks about her path and what led her to commit to ensuring that other young people like her can grow and test themselves.
How did you know the possibility of embarking on an independent life path?
My Independent Life path started with a personal need. I had decided to go to study outside the city, in Bologna, so I had to organize myself and understand how to manage my personal assistants. In Section in Ancona, someone who had already undertaken the path gave me the first information. I then turned to social workers to obtain the funds provided by the Marche Region.
What are the main difficulties encountered in this path?
The main difficulties are related to how both the family and the person with disabilities look at themselves. An Independent Life path inevitably leads to a change of role and it is not easy to “look at yourself” in a new way. For the family this translates into fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who are no longer "assistants of ...". They have to somehow relearn their role and this step can lead to clashes, born of change. But the same goes for the person who has chosen to be independent. She too sets in motion different mechanisms than when she lived with her family. She has to get by on her own.
Often those with a disability think that an Independent Life path is too difficult to start, because it is difficult to think of themselves in that situation. On the other hand, however, there are families who, having accepted the situation, are perhaps left to fend for themselves. For example, many are not followed by a psychologist, while instead they must be accompanied precisely because it is a path that also concerns them, not only those who leave the house. The relationship is the basis of everything. In this step the social workers must be present and follow the families.
How did your political commitment in the Marche Region come about?
The first time I asked for the regional contribution, I was unable to obtain it. It all started from there, I had to understand what had gone wrong and I realized that what had happened to me could be useful to other people, and raise awareness on this issue. Slowly I came to participate in the table of the Marche Committee for Independent Life.
From a legislative point of view, there is a lot of inequity in Italy. What are the knots to untie?
All Regions receive funds from the Ministry. The iniquity arises from the fact that the system does not "think" about people but for territorial areas. This means that if I reside in a territory that has not participated in the regional call, I do not receive anything, even if I am entitled to it. It is not the person in the center. This type of situation also exists due to the lack of a law, so every year we start from scratch. Where there are already engaged and active people with disabilities it is easier to make the Public Administration understand our point of view. The change to be triggered is in fact cultural. The point is not to receive more money, but to allocate it where it is needed. To do this it is necessary to put the person at the center because I know she knows her priorities well. In this way, we move from welfare assistance to looking at the person with disabilities as an active and not passive protagonist, who just receives. The other difficulty lies in making people understand the practical side of an Independent Life path. People with disabilities must be recognized as citizens: it is not just about economic recognition but about building and helping to defend their rights. In many other foreign countries this approach is reversed. In Sweden, for example, the state pays contributions directly to the person, and it is they who manage themselves. This mode also has risks, that of isolation in the first place. In my opinion, the balance lies in the middle, building these tools together.
Is embarking on an independent life path a known possibility among people with disabilities?
The possibility of building an independent life is not yet fully known by those with disabilities. In my opinion, this comes from Italian culture, still linked to family welfare. After the boom in the 90s of communities - families and day care centers, there has been a social change that has led to isolation and closure. This has caused the information not to arrive correctly at all. In this step, both social services and associations such as UILDM have a great responsibility. We need to be active, clear and concrete
What does independence means to you?
For me, independence is what I can or don't want to do, at any time of the day. It's having someone I can refer to in order to organize myself. It also means detaching oneself from the family and learning to measure oneself. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that has always been sensitive to social issues. With UILDM I continued on the road. I also embarked on a journey with a psychologist, to fully understand what my desires are, what I actually want to achieve.