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Project results

The project Beyond Barriers and Borders was carried out from 1st November 2016 to 30th June 2018. It addressed the needs of young and elderly visually impaired who have had deficiencies in basic skills and other key competences. Within the framework of the project, adult people, in a friendly atmosphere and conditions, participated in the lifelong learning process, in intergenerational and intercultural exchange.

The main objective of the project was an exchange of good practices and experience leading to the development and implementation of effective strategies for the improvement of basic skills and other key competences of project participants and other persons benefiting from project’s results. It also aimed at improving and extending the offer of high quality learning opportunities. The target group of the project were visually impaired adults at the age of fifty and above and also young people aged 18-30.

It was a strategic partnership project carried out by three organizations working for the visually impaired: the Polish Association of the Blind, The Austrian Federation of Blind and Partially Sighted and a Belgian organization Views International. In total, the project involved 10 participants from Austria, 10 participants from Belgium and 10 participants from Poland.

On daily basis, these three organizations that participated in the project operate for the benefit of the visually impaired. Their goal is to improve situation of blind and partially sighted in different areas.

Because of disability-related problems, project participants were accompanied by sighted guides during 5-day trainings. On average, there were four sighted volunteers for a group of 10 people.

Project activities addressed to the visually impaired from different age groups included:
- National Trainings in Poland, Belgium and Austria,
- Three 5 day trainings that have been carried out in Poland, Belgium and Austria.
- During these trainings blind and partially sighted project participants had a range of opportunities to master or learn new basic or key skills. The learning process was complemented with the use of friendly, accessible devices and technologies for the visually impaired (e.g. Braille, tactile cubes.)

The project appeared to be a reciprocal learning process for participants from two age groups.

Persons aged fifty and above with deficiencies in digital competences (use of computer, smartphone or other electronic devices) had been taught by young participants. In the same project, young participants of the project had an opportunity to learn from elderly friends daily-living skills, including, housework, cooking and folding clothes or taking care of children. In addition to that, project participants shared their experience related to the accessibility of education for persons with disabilities, employment opportunities or accessibility of sport activities and culture for the blind in their countries.

Joint international partnership, mobility and organization of trainings in Warsaw, Vienna and Liege, national trainings and workshops conducted over skype; all these have boosted the motivation of project participants to gain knowledge and experience. This meant the more attractive and effective learning process.

Participation in the project enabled its beneficiaries to master key and basic skills (counting, reading and writing.) Moreover, training participants gained knowledge of daily-living skills (cleaning, cooking, folding clothes, etc.) and had an opportunity to gain digital competences (how to use a computer and electronic devices.)

Essentially, project participants who took part in activities addressed to the learning process, have gained learning habits and are interested in further education and personal development. The essential change of their behavior and attitude has determined quality of their life. Project participants have increased their confidence, are more active in society and are convinced that their life is in their hands.

Activities and project results have gained publicity in various accessible publications issued by organizations participating in the project, information on the project gained wide coverage not only in countries participating in the project. Information about the project have been prepared for the European Blind Union. Additionally Views International organization operates in Europe and information about the project and its results have reached wide range of audience. All in all, the project can be an inspiration for different organizations. Our strategic partnership has proven that education for persons with the visual impairment can be more effective, attractive and of better quality for adult learners.

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