Since March 2009, the Center for Independent Living is working on the project “Campaign for Personal Assistance and Human Rights of People with Disabilities”. It is implemented in partnership with the Dignified Life Foundation – Burgas, the Association “You Choose” – Stara Zagora and Dignified Life Association  – Vidin. The Norwegian disability organization ULOBA is also a partner of the project.

The project intents to evaluate the assistance services in Bulgaria under the National Program “Assistants with Disabilities” (personal and social assistant) and under the Operational Program “Human’s Resources Development” (social assistant, home assistant and personal assistant).

The main basic principles to be evaluated are: social model, independent living, living in comunity and personal assistance. The assessment is leaded from other service delivery components: 1) an assistant, 2) a service user, 3) a provider, 4) a public institution. It is prepared on the basis of a review and analysis of official documents (cabinet study); based on information provided by the institutions under the Law on Access to Public Information (LAPI); on the basis of in-depth interviews with representatives of interested third parties.

The results of the study aim at an objective assessment of the provided services, and the opportunities and challenges that people with disabilities face in using them. The need of personal assistance have to motivate national policy to become a tool that people with disabilities can use in order to live independently.

The evaluation of individual assistance services will help people with disabilities to find more easily their way and choice of service, that best suits their aspirations and life’s situation.

The project “Campaign for Personal Assistance and Human Rights of People with Disabilities” continues until August 2009.