Role model: Meet Jose Alfonso Lopez from Spain
That’s my evolution in “The two Europes”: a mix of contrasts with a bittersweet taste.
I’m José Alfonso. I’ve been on a wheelchair all my life and this is what I want to explain. My experience on wheels is a continuous challenge. I hate the monotony and I am so emotive, restless, that I can be defined as an earthquake in movement all the time. I work in many different projects. My main work is based in Castellón at the “Diputación” (Part of the regional Valencian government) as a consultant about functional diversity. I am also president of an NGO called ADFU (University Functional Diversity Association). I’m also an ex-bussinesman because I owned a travel agency addressed to disabled people. This agency brought me some headaches and a little financial problem, on the other hand it let me to be known by a lot of people, and thanks to this i am working in the “Diputación” nowadays.
Some of my friends define me as a political-animal, but I would prefer to be known as a rebel with a clear objectives and one leitmotiv: effective equality it means Independent Living. How did I arrive to this conclusion? That’s what I am going to explain below.
In 3th February 1979 I was born in Marsella,France, where I lived so happy my ten fist years. Unfortunately I had some problems caused by family problems which were increased by an early detection of my disease. I lived in a home with others inhabited boys and girls who also had cerebral palsy. Their philosophy was that everybody was a first citizen class: it doesn’t matter if you were a disable person.
On 1989 I moved to Novelda (Alicante, España) where I studied the basic education (inSpain, is known as EGB and ESO) and I also did superior degree studies in a Castellón’s institute and i finished them in 1998. This year I arrived at FRATER, a residence where, theoretically, disabled people lives and studies. In the practice, and to be honest, this institution was a geriatric and a head-sanatorium that hides the lucrative business behind a NGO who is financed by public-founds.
FRATER forbids any relationship between man and women and they treated all of us in a humiliating way. Logically the ban always opens the door to the temptation. After 11 years of full of incessant humiliations by the Direction of this entity, I could run away and start a new independent life. This period was a horrible step of my life, due to this isn’t the way to treat and help a person who doesn’t want to be treated as a disabled one.
Fortunately I was able to experience the positive face of love because I discover there the sweet and bitter of a true love in spite of the prohibitions of this cristian-institution.
I’ve been fighting up for my goal all my life. Luckily I run into a hotel business man who helped me to do the most important step of my life: to get the independence with firmness, security and confidence. Thanks to him I learnt that everything is possible, and that the dreams can be real with perseverance. InSpainwe use the following sentence: If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying and you will suceed. And this life is a priceless treasure and a enriching personal growth.