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European Alliance of Initiatives
for Applied Anthroposophy

Dignity and freedom for people with special needs

Dear Friends of the ELIANT Alliance,

In this newsletter we are reporting on the collaboration between ELIANT and the European Co-operation in Anthroposophical Curative Education and Social Therapy (ECCE)

ECCE is committed to fully representing the interests of people with special needs within Europe based on anthroposophical findings. ECCE was set up in 1992 in the Netherlands by the Council for Curative Education and Social Therapy.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which came into force on 3rd May 2008, underlines this matter. This change promoting the right to self-determination is taking place mainly for ethical reasons and requires our awareness, empathy and support if it is to be culturally effective.

ELIANT supports the objectives of ECCE

ELIANT advocates freedom of choice and the opportunity to choose for all citizens. ECCE represents approximately 30,000 European citizens with special needs. The majority is incapable of demanding their rights and need the help of others to do so. ELIANT is supporting this concern with one million signatures and presently 450,000 recipients of its newsletter. In the words of Goethe: “One alone does not help, but rather he who unites with others at the right moment.”

How ECCE is helping

Member organisations of ECCE offer a wide range of facilities: employment and work placements in care homes and within outpatient facilities and services, support for affected families, home help services, plus vocational education and training. There are different types of therapy beyond basic medical care and treatment which improve the quality of life for those people affected: massage, exercise therapy, eurythmy therapy, plus various forms of art therapy. For this reason, ECCE also promotes anthroposophical medicine and therapy and, as part of its work with ELIANT, collaborates closely with biodynamic agriculture organisations and the Waldorf movement. Evidence and experience shows us that not only do we belong to a physical world but also a spiritual one which can be used to establish a basis for necessary ethical standards necessary for everyday life.

Further information on ECCE can be found here.

An example of successful lobbying by the ELIANT Alliance and ECCE in Brussels:

To draw the attention of the European Commission in Brussels to curative education and social therapy, ECCE has invited various Commissioners and Departmental Managers to its conferences, with some appearing as main speakers.

Together with other organisations, ECCE is developing a so-called “shadow report”. This discusses the official EU report and forms part of a set process that allows non-governmental organisations to submit a “shadow report” to the UN. The report will be published in spring 2014. ECCE will give full and detailed reasons for the legal equality of people with special needs. After all, disability is a question of rights and ethics and not discretion.

A diverse and multicultural society

Sustainable Inclusion means an approach that will guarantee a successful and long lasting living situation for children and adults with learning disabilities. The decisive factor will be a change in the attitude of all citizens in our multi-layered, multicultural society towards respectful recognition and association with individuals with disabilities. Real inclusion means participation in an open society: children with disabilities are surrounded by people who happily are caring for them. The consequence is that they can become adults with a happy life!

With our best regards
Michaela Glöckler, Ueli Hurter and Susanna Küffer Heer (Executive Committee); Michaela Sieh (project management)