Students from Sofia University conducted a thorough evaluation of the ‘Assistant for Independent Living’ service provided by the municipality of Sofia. The evaluation was part of a project implemented by the Centre for Independent Living in partnership with the Department of Sociology of the Sofia University and funded by the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe.

The project started at the end of November 2008 with a Disability Rights Workshop. During the workshop meetings various topics from the field of social policy and disabilities were discussed, such as the social model of disability, the participation of disabled people in the policy-making process, personal assistance and legislation. Students in political sciences, psychology and philosophy from the Sofia University took part in the workshop. Later on part of them conducted a qualitative evaluation of the ‘Assistant for Independent Living’ service. This involved analysis of policy papers and interviews with users, assistants and representatives of the municipality. Conclusions and recommendations form the evaluation are presented in a narrative report, which can be downloaded from the CIL website (in Bulgarian only).

Another benefit from the project was the enrichment of the disability related literature in Bulgarian with two new analytical papers – ‘Social Model of Disability’ (in Bulgarian), which presents the history and the main principles of the idea, and ‘Notes on the Integration and the Act for Integration of Disabled People’ (in Bulgarian), which adds to and develops further the analysis of the disability related legislation in Bulgaria. Some of the groundbreaking papers of the Independent Living movement were also translated into Bulgarian and published on the website – 

‘Fundamental Principles of Disability’ (click here to see the original in English) – and 

‘Policy Statement’ (click here to see the original in English) – of the Union of the Physically Impaired against Segregation (UPIAS),

and also the article ‘What’s so Wonderful about Walking’ (click here to see the original in English) of the British ‘guru’ in the area of Disabilities Studies Mike Oliver.