15 Nov, 2021

New report shedding light on the S.H.I.F.T. towards meaningful inclusion in Europe

Media release for International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Brussels, 3rd December 2021

On this International day of persons with disabilities, the COFACE Disability platform for the rights of persons with disabilities and their families presents its new report shedding light on existing practices across Europe to boost the shift towards fully inclusive societies. This snapshot of 45 practices, matching the content of the S.H.I.F.T. guide, highlights the transition towards meaningful inclusion as a whole-family, whole-society process and invites everyone to join the #BeTheSHIFT movement.


For this International day of persons with disabilities, COFACE’s Disability Platform has selected 45 initiatives reflecting the S.H.I.F.T. principles, reflected by the words: Support, Human rights, Independence, Families, societal Transition.  These practices were selected to match the 45 actions of the S.H.I.F.T. guide for inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families. Implemented in 20+ European countries by a wide range of practitioners, some of the practices already have a global reach, and all of them have the potential to inspire every one, everywhere to join the movement and #BeTheSHIFT.

After the adoption of the S.H.I.F.T. guide by COFACE Families Europe in 2019, the COFACE Disability platform decided to organise a reality-check by launching a public consultation to collect examples of S.H.I.F.T. actions currently underway in different countries. Over the last months, we have collected and analysed practices, comparing them with the actions and tools in the S.H.I.F.T. guide. We are delighted to present the result of this work.

The report contains 45 individual factsheets presenting a snapshot description of the practice as well as an explanation of how the practice contributes to building inclusive societies. All factsheets have been thought to reflect the political and societal relevance of the S.H.I.F.T. movement. For the policy side, we have matched all the practices with the most relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and with the relevant areas of action put forward by the European Commission in the European Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Finally, for each practice, we included a short tip section, addressed to everyone wanting to further explore the content of the S.H.I.F.T. action and #BeTheSHIFT.

COFACE Disability President, Chantal Bruno: “As witnessed by the COFACE Disability Platform for the rights of persons with disabilities and their families, too many forms of discrimination persist here and there, including against people with disabilities or people with an illnesse, older persons, their families and their carers. Nonetheless, at the same time, movements towards inclusion are emerging. There are places adapting to the differences of all people, specific answers are brought to those who need them. Places exist where rights and freedoms are conjugated in the present, for all. It is important to make them known; they can be a source of inspiration.”

The natural conclusion after going through this collection of practices is that the S.H.I.F.T. is happening all over Europe. These 45 factsheets are 45 additional arguments to strengthen COFACE’s work to achieve the meaningful inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families, grounding our advocacy in concrete practices. They are the real-life examples showing that the actions we present in our S.H.I.F.T guide are not wishful thinking but are implementable, and this is only the beginning.

COFACE Families Europe President, Annemie Drieskens: “What we found exceeded our expectations! We have been inspired by a wide range of initiatives by a colourful mix of practitioners who all should be applauded for their efforts to promote inclusion. Our report shines a light on the shift that is happening and paves the way towards meaningful inclusion. We hope to encourage and inspire many people to join COFACE’s work and #BetheShift.”

Easy to read version

We all have the same rights.

People with disabilities and their families have the same rights as other people.

People with disabilities and their families must live with others.

This is not done everywhere.

But there are places where people with disabilities live with others.

S.H.I.F.T. shows examples.

S.H.I.F.T. is like an easy-to-read-and-understand song to say the important words:

Support: means to help someone who needs help.

Human Rights:  means that all people are free and equal throughout their lives.

Independence:  means that the person does things alone. And also when they decide alone.

Families:  means that the families of people with disabilities may have needs, questions.

Transition: means when life or society changes.

  • A global network centralising information on available assistive technology products.
  • Accessible technology with built‑in features that work the way you do.
  • Boosting representation of persons with disabilities in advertising.
  • Creating inclusive and diverse toys which represent children with disabilities.
  • Training manuals on sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people with learning disabilities. Europe
  • European Union Strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities 2021-2030.

Download the S.H.I.F.T. REPORT

Note to editor

COFACE Families Europe is a European network of civil society associations representing the interests of families (all types, without discrimination).
COFACE’s areas of work include social/family policy, education, disability, gender equality, migration, consumer issues, and also protection of children online, privacy, data protection, and reflections on technological developments and how they may impact families. 

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