My internship at the Centre for Independent Living, Carmichael House, Dublin, 1 March 2010 – 31 May 2010, by Katharina Gintarra

July 5, 2010

Centre of Independent Living, DublinOn 1 March this year I started working as an intern in the Centre for Independent Living (CIL) in Dublin for three month. Last year, in December 2009, I finished my studies (special needs education) at the university of Hannover/Germany and I decided to do an internship abroad. On the internet I found out about the European Network on Independent Living and I sent an email with my application form to the office in Valencía, Spain. In my last year at the university I studied a lot about the Independent Living Movement. So it was clear for me that I wanted to do my internship in this field. Jamie Bolling then offered me the chance to go to Dublin to work there in the CIL Carmichael House. So, this is how I came to Dublin.

I am very satisfied with the overall placement in the internship. I got a lot of important experience. My main tasks during the internship were developing an implementation guideline handbook for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and a database of organisations from the western region of Europe. I also wrote several information papers about the UN Convention in different formats (Power Point Presentation, leaflet, plain language version) to make the Convention as accessible as possible.

I learned a lot about the CRPD, the Independent Living Movement and also about organisations in Western Europe that work on Independent Living. Furthermore I had the opportunity to attend some training and workshops (an advocacy workshop, social media training, Dreamweaver training, a community support workshop). All the people I worked with during my internship were very friendly and supportive. I could always talk to my mentors about my work, my wishes and my ideas.

I am very glad about the possibilities the internship offered me. I feel very inspired by all the people I met living for the Independent Living Movement. It is such an important issue that definitely needs people standing up for their convictions. I have got a notion that there is a strong network in Europe of people fighting for the rights of persons with disabilities to become a reality in their daily lives. That really impressed me! And it felt good being a little part of this movement.

I advise anybody who is interested in Independent Living to gain experiences in the Movement itself. It is such a great experience to meet people from the Movement, to talk to them, to see what they organise every day to let Independent Living become a reality. You can’t gather all the impressions and experiences I got during my internship just by reading books about Independent Living!

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