Conference about Personal Assistance in Hungary

Article on the site of  European Network on Independent Living – ENIL:

Let’s Talk About Personal Assistance

How to set up the system of Personal Assistance in Hungary for persons with disabilities

In the Hungarian disability movement, great work was done by many disabled persons and their allies, for example György Könczei, Pál Gadó, Gábor Zalabai, László Hajdi (ZALABAI P-NÉ 1997). Hungarian IL Centers (ÖÉK) were organized in the ‘90s with the aim to support persons with severe disabilities and to offer counselling to professionals (ZALABAI P-NÉ 2009). Magdolna Jelli, a disabled activist herself, was the president of the Disabled Peoples’ Independent Life Association (ÖNÉ). Some of the services she introduced back then, such as the Ferryman Service, which is a peer support group, still work (JELLI M. and HEGYES F. É.N.;, but until today, personal assistance (PA) could not be established in a systematic way.

On the 13th November 2018 the Sixth Disability Studies Conference was held in Budapest. The conference was organized by the ELTE University’s Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Needs Education. We invited Tom Shakespeare as a keynote speaker, who summarized the conclusions of a research project about PA relationships in the UK. His lecture was followed by a panel discussion about the possibilities of introducing PA services in Hungary. Our reason to choose this topic was, that although our state has ratified the UN CRPD in 2007, there are still only a few active PA users in Hungary, who need to finance their assistance completely from their private resources.

As a next step, to better understand the background of the possibilities and difficulties of PA, we invited disabled persons, allies and potential personal assistants to talk about their experiences. As some of the few Hungarian PA users, Zsuzsa Antal, Károly Tóth and Dániel Csángó shared their personal knowledge about the everyday practice of PA. All three speakers are activists and participatory teachers at the ELTE University, working on the social inclusion of persons with disabilities on different levels.

Our goal is to continue the establishment of the Hungarian network of user led PA services by collecting and sharing information and experience regarding PA, to support and disseminate the conclusions of participatory researches on connected issues and to generate discourse in the Hungarian judicial and social context. We aim to generate an empowered local forum which connects international knowledge regarding PA systems with the Hungarian framework to successfully constitute accessible PA services.

JELLI M. and HEGYES F. Disabled Peoples’ Independent Life Association, Budapest, Hungary [on-line – accessed: 01.11.2018]

ZALABAI P-NÉ (1997). Önálló életvitel és személyi segítés (English: Independent Living and Personal Assistance) [on-line – accessed: 01.11.2018]. Esély, Vol. 8., No. 5. pp. 56-70.

ZALABAI P-NÉ (2009). Önálló életvitelt segítő eszközök, munkahelyi akadálymentesítés és munkaeszközök adaptációja. Jegyzet (English: Tools for Independent Living, Workplace Accessibility and Adaption of Work Equipment) [on-line – accessed: 01.11.2018]. ELTE BGGYK, Budapest.

Anikó Sándor, Dániel Csángó, Károly Tóth, Zsuzsanna Antal, Zsuzsanna Kunt

Activists and allies, ELTE University

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