In the period of 14th to 22nd of May, 2018, in Arad, Romania, organized by the youth organization “Ofensiva Tinerilor”, the first training course from the project “Peers for inclusion” was held, where the Volunteers Centre Skopje took part with their own participants Vanesa Lazareva and Krisitijan Lazarev. Besides the standard outcomes from the courses from this kind, which are supported by the Erasmus + program (building of intercultural tolerance, promoting the personal skills, working in groups, overcoming communication barriers etc.), it’s also important to mention the main goal of this training course, more frequent involvement of the visually impaired people in the Erasmus + program. In this training course, they were able to learn and share: tools, techniques and methods for facilitating workshops, where visually impaired participants had also taken part.
The youth organization Volunteers Centre Skopje showed how brave and courageous it is, to include me, Kristijan, a fully visually impaired person, in their projects. That also showed us that the organization is ready to put aside the discrimination, and ready to accept the principle of inclusive society (equal society for everyone).
The first part of this project ended successfully for the participant who represented the Volunteers Centre Skopje . We had an amazing opportunity to share our own experience with the other participants and the facilitators at the training course, and that way we contributed to the quality of the training course. Among other things, I, as a participant with visual disabilities, had an opportunity to take part in all of the activities, and I was fully accepted by all of the participants there. The biggest part of them told that practically, with involvement of visually impaired people in activities like this, we can definitely lower the feeling of prejudice about the visually impaired people, so they were thankful to our organization – Volunteers Centre Skopje that allowed my participation on this project.
As a couple of the participants told us, they were delighted to have spent 7 days with a person with visual disabilities, and to learn and see the way of his/ her life, and by experiencing that, to change their perception towards the people with any kind of disability and their environment. But not only the personal contact with a person with a disability, also the vast number of the activities aimed to show how it’s like to be a visually impaired person. For instance, we went on a walk in the park blindfolded, to experience everyday obstacles that those people have to overcome. The activities encouraged the participants to think about the changes in the society, which they can do in their communities.
Of course, the goal in these activities wasn’t only a source of empathy , but also training for how they can organize activities inclusive for visually impaired people. They learned how to guide a visually impaired person, to adapt text for someone with visual disability etc., as there would be equal access for everyone, everywhere.