Across Europe, more and more countries are actively involved in including people with visual impairment to social life. However, there is still too much ignorance about the challenges faced by blind people, which originates prejudices and maintains stereotypes. Often, city offices and cultural institutions invest money to make disable’s life easier, but without consulting them. As a result, some of these efforts are useless.
People want to help, but they do not know how.
How to talk with them? Is it possible for a blind person to use the phrase “see you”? How to give directions or describe what happens on the screen in the cinema? Many visually impaired and blind people undertake rehabilitation preparations for professional life, but they still struggle to integrate in social life with non-disabled people.
The aim is to bring down the barrier between these two groups. Create a common dialogue, understand each other and help to improve Perugia’s accessibility for visually impaired people. Participants will not only be able to exchange experiences in the field of functioning of people with visual problems, but also to share their culture, traditions and cuisine. And everything in such a form that the eyesight does not constitute a barrier.
Among the objectives of the project:
- Broadening knowledge about visual impairment.
- Breaking stereotypes and prejudices.
- Intercultural integration among youngsters from different countries.
- Create an impact on the local community.
- Developing cooperation skills.
- Discussing of availability of culture and infrastructure.
The project worked on the following topics: visual impairment, accessibility, inclusion and intercultural learning. The program includes non-formal education activities as:
- Daily energisers
- Intercultural nights
- Reflection groups
- Activities with blindfolds
- Braille code workshops
- Forum theatre
- Interactive discussions
- Event with the local community
- Visits to the city of Perugia.
The dissemination event was the peak of the youth exchange. After days and days of discussions, debates, activities and visits about accessibility and visual impairment, participants organised an open afternoon at the venue, and invited the local community to a blind experience. Around 25 people showed up for the event, and it felt like a great success. Each person spent on average 1 hour doing all the activities participants prepared. Once entered in the venue the guest had to put the blindfold on and one participant will take him/her though several stages/rooms. In each stage the guest had to complete some tasks. The following is the list of the activities that each guest did (all the activities were done with the blindfold on).
- Chairs labyrinth with white cane
- Recognise objects by touching
- “Watch” a short video with audio description
- Learn how to spell his/her name in braille alphabet
- Food and drink tasting
- Dance with a blind person (Blind disco)
Moreover, once the guest put the blindfold down, s/he could attend the human library: choose a topic and talk to a participant about it. The topics were: The use of media with audiodescription, How do blind people practice sports, How to be a good guide for your blind friend and traditional Romanian music performed by a blind person.