The Malta Independent 22 June 2024, Saturday
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Mentoring programme for youths with intellectual disability aims to leave lasting legacy

Sunday, 12 May 2024, 09:05 Last update: about 2 months ago

A total of 16 youths with intellectual disability have gained valuable skills following a one-year mentoring programme focusing on independent living.

The programme, led by local NGO Prisms, in collaboration with CRPD Malta and European partners Associacio Alba and Down Syndrome Association Greece, forms part of a larger Erasmus+ project Connect, which also includes a research study, an online interactive assessment and a policy recommendation. Another 20 youths with intellectual disability from Spain and Greece also took part in the project concurrently.

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"Independent living does not mean being independent from other persons, but having the freedom of choice and control over one's own life and lifestyle," said Prisms representative Marie-Claire Testa.

The concept of Independent Living was key in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), especially with regards to Article 19, which establishes the right of persons with disability to choose how to live their lives, with whom and where.

"The project adopted a holistic and personalised one-to-one mentoring approach to transition into independent living for young people with intellectual disability. It also aims at youth workers being provided with skills and guidelines to be able to support young people," said Testa.

Skills were divided into three main categories: daily life, self-determination and interpersonal relationships and preparation for employment.

The project results and outcomes were shared at a multiplier event held at The Notch, which marked the end of the mentoring programme and was attended by participants of the programme and their families as well as the mentors, government entities and NGO representatives.

The project aims to leave a lasting legacy through the creation of an online interactive assessment which will help in accessing the skills and strengths of persons with intellectual disability as well as highlighting the three main priorities for growth with regards to independent living.

A policy recommendation on the transition into an independent life for young people with intellectual disability was drafted based on the research and the other project results.

"CRPD is proud to be a partner in this project which is in line with the UNCRPD's aims on independent living and deinstitutionalisation and which supports the self-advocacy of persons with intellectual disability, ensuring that they are involved in all decisions that affect them," said CRPD commissioner Rhoda Garland.


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