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Awareness Raising events

We have been busy during the Autumn with a number of different awareness raising events in Liege and elsewhere.

The first event was hosted at the VIEWS offices and was a session for new volunteers, to give them more information and a better understanding of visual impairment. The volunteers learned about different types of vision impairments and had the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from Theo and Elin, two visually impaired VIEWS volunteers. They also had the opportunity to trial using different mobility aids for themselves. The group was put into pares and while one was blindfolded and taught to use a white cane to navigate, the other acted as the sighted guide. It was a successful and enjoyable session, with many of the volunteers stating that they learned a great deal and that they found the session very interesting.

The second was an awareness raising session held at a local retirement home for some of the residents. The manager of the home requested the session to help the residents understand the needs and limitations of some of their peers who are visually impaired. It was the first session that Elin and Elisa, two of our EVS volunteers, helped to run and coordinate. Together with Tamara the girls presented information about different types of visual impairment, shared some of their own personal experiences and lead the group in an activity where the residents were asked to try to make a cup of coffee while blindfolded. This activity highlighted some of the difficulties that visually impaired people might have to accomplish simple daily tasks, and made the residents more sympathetic toward their fellow residents who might have limited vision.

The third events VIEWS participated in was the Extraordinary Film Festival held in Namur. This festival presents artistic work created within the theme of disability and prides itself on being an entirely accessible film festival, including audio description for blind people, sign language for hard of hearing persons and wheelchair accessible venues. Tamara and Elin travelled to Namur on Friday 10th November to present awareness raising activities about visual impairment for the audience at the film festival. During breaks between the films, the audience had the opportunity to visit Elin and Tamara’s table to learn more about VIEWS and about visual impairment through activities such as correctly identifying objects while blindfolded, trying to complete tactile puzzles and receiving information about white canes and guide dogs. It was a successful day for the girls who were able to talk to a number of different people and educate them about the limitations and capabilities of visually impaired people.

Read on to find out more about the Extraordinary Film Festival in our interview with Cedric Defleur, the organiser of the festival.