Seoul Center for Independent Living
Chano Park became involved in the disability rights movement while advocating for campus accessibility as a university student in South Korea. After graduation, he continued to lead change in his personal and professional life, counseling clients with disabilities as a social worker and attending demonstrations in the fight for accessible public transportation.
Determined to further improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in South Korea, he studied independent living models in Japan and the U.S., including the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas. In 2003, he set up the Seoul Center for Independent Living, the third independent living center in the country dedicated to advancing disability rights.
The Seoul Center for Independent Living accommodates a growing demand for independent living in response to shifting social/political views and policy. Chano’s team started the first Korean personal assistance services and translated and distributed several books that expanded the philosophy of independent living.
Chano continues the push for community integration in South Korea by establishing support planning systems to transition more individuals from institutions to independent living centers.