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Second day: Lived Inclusion Conference
The day on 16 June began with a welcome speech by the Austrian Minister of Social Affairs and Health, Johannes Rauch. Minister Rauch stressed the importance of social inclusion work in a society that is becoming increasingly isolated, individualistic and where the number of people at risk of social exclusion is growing.
After this speech, it was the turn of Sister Begoña Pérez, who, in addition to highlighting the importance of the event, gave a few words from the Superior General. She was joined by Brother Juaquim Erra, General Councillor of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, who moderated the event.
Throughout the day various topics were discussed under the focus of Social Inclusion among which included innovation, stigmas, art as a vehicle for inclusion, self-determination and inclusion.
The day was spent between talks by professionals and users of our congregation and that of the brothers of Saint John of God. The presentations lasted 20 minutes and dealt with topics of great social importance (such as the exclusion of people with mental problems) and the different methodologies used in the treatment centres.
Learning about the different methodologies from the best experts in each area was very inspiring and rewarding. After the presentations, the posters of each of the centres and the videos that had been prepared, among which was the one from our province of England, could be seen.
To end the day, a round table discussion was held in which the main themes of the congress were compiled and we were encouraged to look to the future to continue working and improving both as congregations and as a society.
The Social Inclusion Congress is being promoted by the Social Inclusion Working Group of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God and the Sisters Hospitallers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Social Inclusion Working Group is part of the Europe Commission, chaired by Brother Joaquim Erra, General Councillor of the OHSJD. Its mission is to promote the sharing of knowledge, initiatives and joint planning of the European Provinces in the field of social inclusion.
This Working Group understands the commitment to work for social inclusion by means of accompaniment for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating problems relating to the interaction between people, taking into account its two dimensions: their functional autonomy and integration/relationships.
The purpose of this accompaniment must be to foster interaction between people and develop their capacity as agents.
Interaction: a person’s capacity to exercise and maintain their ability to be, belong to to develop in their particular reference group or community as equals in every aspect of life.
Agency: the individual capacity to act and conduct themselves freely and capably in the world.
The Working Group comprises one representative of each European Province of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God (Poland, Bavaria, Austria, France, Lombardy-Veneto, Rome, Spain, Portugal, Western Europe) and two representatives of the Sisters Hospitallers.