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VIEWS News December 2016

Dear VIEWS members, partners and friends,

2016 has almost come to an end, at the speed of light. While you read this, you'll be probably preparing the Christmas dinner, with presents already under the Christmas tree. There are many things we want to share with you on the last issue for this year, so as to close it in the best of ways.

In this issue, we'll tell you more about the European Disability Card, a pilot project addressing free movement supported by the European Commission. We'll also show you an incredibly promising device developed by an Italian company, which has the potential to radically change the lives of many blind people. Moreover, our German friend Nina will tell us all about her mobility experience in Pisa. Last but not least, as promised in November's issue, we'll present the first episode of our new column "Portrait of the month", with a very special guest.

Enjoy reading!

European Disability Card

This year's European Day of persons with Disabilities marked the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UN CRPD). The 2-day conference, organized by the European Commission and the EDF on 29th and 30th November, focused on the progress made in the EU to promote the rights enshrined in the Convention. Many topics were addressed: the transition from a medical model to a human rights model in the last 10 years; the link between the UN Convention and the creation of efficient EU social policies; the rights of women with disabilities and the need to protect them from multiple discriminations; advances in the area of accessibility and freedom of movement within the EU.

Concerning the subject of free movement, Petra Tiihonen presented the European Disability Card, a project she's managing with the financial support of the European Commission and which, if implemented, will make things much easier for disabled people wanting to travel across the EU. Read more about the European Disability Card.

Horus: a wearable assistant

Technology has become an integral part of blind people's daily life: smartphones, laptops, navigation systems... Advances keep happening at the speed of light, and Horus is the tangible proof of this amazing and incessant momentum. An assistant who discretely guides you through your daily activities, without being anthropomorphous. Read more about this ground-breaking device here.

My 3 months in Pisa

Nina is a 26-year-old blind girl from Germany. She loves languages (she's doing a MA in French and Italian) and she spent the end of 2016 in the beautiful city of Pisa, with tower and all. Her aim, however, was not just to visit famed monuments: she participated in a project called “VIP Awareness raising on unemployment”, financed by the EU and the Erasmus+ programme and co-ordinated by us here at VIEWS International. Read more about the project and Nina's enriching experience.

Portrit of the month

Here's the first episode of our brand new column "Portrait of the month". We had the great pleasure to spend an incredibly interesting (though virtual) half an hour with Jessica Schröder, a German woman who's already achieved incredible things at the age of 33: she has travelled far and wide and is a strenuous defender of blind people's rights. If you'd like to find out more, read Jessica's full interview.

Call for articles

Have you recently bumped into something (assistive technology, event, project etc.) that you think may be of interest to other visually impaired people out there? Share it with us, so that we can help you spread it around. Send your articles to or to by the 15th of each month. You can use the same addresses if you'd like to feature on our column "Portrait of the month" as Jessica Schröder did. For questions, you can use our mailing list and Facebook page. Finally, don't forget to regularly check out our calendar, with all the latest events taking place around VIEWS. These info channels are also yours, so don't hesitate to use them!

So, that's all for December... and for 2016, indeed. We hope that you'll have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, full of laughter and presents with your loved ones. See you in January, with another issue of this newsletter!

Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you all!

The VIEWS International Team