Empowerment, as such, must be identified as a social practice, a historical and critical analysis of people and movements, and not as exercising a coercitive power on others. It implies a concept of a positive means in relation to terms like “growth”, “development”, and “emancipation”. Its goals are to promote a general personal and social development. It therefore indicates an “acquisition of power”, which, if translated into a first person point of view means “I Can”. According to this perspective empowerment is closely related to the awareness of an augmented sense of “power” that people involved reach through their participation in this process. The process of empowerment for people with disabilities takes place in everyday life, in organisations, in the community where they live and interact through the methodology of Peer Counseling and is realised by people (peers) that have the same life experience, in this case disability, and that, having reached a certain level of emancipation and awareness, become role models.

Keywords: disability; empowerment; peer counselling; community living; emancipation.