PFI-Netherlands Disability Network takes action

Logo Pagan Federation International (PFI)

Roll up your sleeves & get started!

At the third online meeting of the Disability Network our (inter)national coordinator Morgana was present. Morgana has updated us on international developments within the PFI, and beyond. As a result, this meeting was slightly different than the previous two meetings.

Spring Gathering 2020

Morgana gave a glimpse into the origins of the annual Gatherings. These originated from the annual Conferences. Also in the past 'Meet & Greets' were organised in a different province each year. This way, it was shown what heathen and pagan events could be done in this province. The annual conference is now known as the annual Gathering and take place in a (more or less) central place. For years, Lady Bara organised these days, which were affectionately known as the PFI-Day.

The last Spring Gathering a lot of attention was paid to accessibility. For example, for the first time in years the Gathering was wheelchair accessible. Yet we think it can be even better. Therefore we agreed that the Disability Network will look for an (even) more accessible venue for the Gathering in 2020. We will keep you updated about our findings…

Discussions on PFI Forum

Our (Dutch) discussions on the PFI Forum are read well, but we see little to no responses. We also get likes on Facebook, where we announce the new themes every month, but no responses. We think that's a shame, because we would like to have a conversation with more people.

Again we discussed why people don’t respond. We have all kinds of ideas, but basically we just don't know. So we ask the readers of this report now: why don't you respond to the PFI Forum or Facebook? Or would you prefer to respond privately instead of publicly? Please let us know at soleil@paganfederation.org!

Network on PFI-NL website

Now the Disability Network slowly shapes into more solid form, we would like to be more visible to heathens and pagans with a disability. That is why we are working on our own page on the PFI-NL website.

Our goal is to briefly and clearly explain who we are, why we exist, and what people can get from us. When the text is ready and online, we will most definitely let you know!

What is accessibility

While talking, an interesting discussion about accessibility arose. What do we think "accessibility" is? What information should organisers of events provide as standard?

Soleil shared her personal experience: if something is organised and she wants to go, she always has to contact them about accessibility. Usually this information is not automatically provided for events. (In the Netherlands one often has to ask for this info. In many other countries this info is simply provided for as standard!)
So Soleil has to call the venue herself and the answer is that the venue is accessible. On arrival it often turns out that this is not true. E.g. because thresholds turn out to be everywhere.
This means that Soleil does not feel welcome. What is important to her is that the organisation itself provides information on accessibility of their own event. If the organisation provides that information, she does not need to make an extra effort to be able to go.

Jochem emphasises that accessibility is often viewed quite unilaterally. When an event is announced as "accessible", it often turns out to be wheelchair accessible. That's very good! But usually not what he needs to be able to participate.

Each of us recognises these experiences only too well. Generally, people with a disability are not taken into account in heathen and pagan Netherlands. That is extremely frustrating! In fact, we feel excluded: as if we were not important enough to be taken into account…

Next meeting

Sunday 12 January 2020, from 15:00 to 16:30. Do you want to participate? Please sign up at Soleil: soleil@paganfederation.org. (After signing up you will receive the online address of the meeting.)

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