People First Germany is a self-advocacy organisation representing people with learning difficulties and people with complex functional impairments.
Full membership is open only to people with these disabilities. Other persons can become associate members without voting rights. Other organisations can also be associate members. The 5-member board is made up wholly of full members (people with learning difficulties or complex functional impairments). Huw Ross is one of the board members. He is supported by Douglas Ross.
People First Germany was founded in 2001. It is active in all parts of Germany. Its activities include:
This year People First Germany is running a project financed by the Federal Ministry of Health on “Health care needs for Everyone”. This includes seminars on health awareness, choice of doctors and medical care, the use of Easy Language in medical contexts, and accessibility.
Much of the work carried out by People First Germany is done by volunteers. Some important areas of such voluntary work are:
People First Germany is a registered association elying on modest membership dues (the members mostly receive transfer payments) and donations. It implements government-funded service projects, again at a modest level, and is subject to government audit procedures.
People First Germany sees its contribution to the project as a whole in the dissemination of the idea of Easy Language and Easy Communication as a path to support the self-determined participation of people with learning difficulties in civic life. We have established that our Dictionary of Easy Language has increased access to public life and to the formation of self-concepts of the users.
We intend to demonstrate the paths we took to make these forms of communication an increasingly accepted part of public life in Germany; we believe that the other participant nation groups can benefit from our experience and promote the ideas and concrete means of implementing them (e.g. dictionaries in their own national contexts), and to follow up on our campaigns that have been useful in establishing Easy Language in Germany.
It is now more difficult to ignore our demands for accessible information and communication in the context of public life in Germany.