Living a self-determined life is a matter of the heart for Janine Kolbig. She is the founder of the Centre for Self-Determined Living Northern Germany, which advises people with disabilities and represents their interests. What self-determination means to her, who the origin of this movement is for her and how she otherwise rolls, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Janine Kolbig Age: 33 City: Prasdorf, Germany Occupation: Social pedagogue, Executive Director ZSL Nord e.V., Speaker for a human rights-based disability policy Impairment: Spinal muscular atrophy
Janine Kolbig: For me, it is a good day when I feel that I have been able to contribute to people with disabilities being seen as human beings and that disability is only one characteristic among many.
Which auxiliary means or daily living aids are indispensable for you?
What would you like to see from society and your fellow people in dealing with people with disabilities?
Janine Kolbig: I wish that society accepts people with disabilities and that prejudices are reduced. People with disabilities should be seen as having the same human rights as those without disabilities. Disability should only be a characteristic.
Which assistive device would urgently need to be invented and/or improved?
What has been your biggest challenge so far that you have mastered – and what has helped you to do so?
Janine Kolbig: Building up the association "Zentrum für selbstbestimmtes Leben Norddeutschland e.V." (Centre for Self-Determined Living Northern Germany) was my biggest challenge and my heart's project. Since I stand behind the cause, this is not only my work, but also my personal concern. Ambition, diligence and the inner drive have helped me to achieve this.
What can the assistive technology industry learn from the Corona pandemic to make life easier and/or better for people with disabilities in the future?
Janine Kolbig: More should be invested in digitalisation. News should also be accessible to all people, for example in sign language.
If nothing would be impossible: Who would you like to meet one day and why?
Janine Kolbig:Ed Roberts, but unfortunately he has already passed away. Ed Roberts means to me the origin of the Self-Determined Living movement.
What was your best REHACARE experience?
Janine Kolbig: I was at REHACARE with friends and it was a very nice experience with cohesion.
What I finally want to say...
Janine Kolbig: I would like people with disabilities to experience the same human rights in the future as people without disabilities and for people with disabilities not to be reduced to the disability, but to see the person behind it.