Written by: Esmeralda Mandujano, CalAgrAbility
Independent Living (IL), as seen by its advocates, is a philosophy or a way of looking at disability. It is a way of looking at society and a worldwide movement of people with disabilities who work towards self-determination, self-respect, and equity. While taking care of each other, individuals living with a disability want to learn how to be in control and be self-sufficient. They work through the barriers that they face with their disabilities to find their way to success. Community participation and advocacy are also active points in the IL community.
The culture of farming is not too different with self-sufficiency as one of its pillars. Rural communities are characterized by solid family values, working hard, caring for each other, mutual family contribution, and being committed to the community. Many rural residents grew up or are working in a farm. AgrAbility is a nationwide program that assists farmers and farm workers experiencing disability to help them find solutions to continue working in agriculture safely. AgrAbility can provide education on assistive devices such as lifts that can enable farmers to continue working independently.
The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is a membership organization consisting of members from the Centers for Independent Living, the Statewide Independent Living Councils, and other organizations and individuals concerned with challenges of people living with disabilities in rural America. APRIL’s vision is to be a unified voice of independent living across states. APRIL and AgrAbility are working together to connect these “Can Do!” communities.
Join California AgrAbility (CalAgrAbility), Ability Tools, and APRIL on October 5th for a webinar that will focus on connecting the IL community with AgrAbility to serve rural Californians living with disabilities. A description of APRIL and AgrAbility will serve as an introduction to the connections between IL and AgrAbility communities. To participate in this FREE online training please register at: http://abilitytools.org/training/training-registration.php