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VIEWS News February 2017

Dear readers,

The shortest month of the year has gone by at the speed of light. The weather is getting warmer, days are getting longer, and things around Views are as hectic as ever.

In this issue, you will learn about the Erasmus+ project "Beyond Barriers and Borders" and its first transnational preparatory meeting. Besides, you will hear about the EU Web Accessibility Directive, a real milestone in the field of accessibility. On a less serious tone, you will experience Carnival through the eyes of Clara and Paola, two visually impaired volunteers here at Views. And then, of course, there will be another episode of "Portrait of the month", with yet another remarkable guest.

Enjoy reading!

Strategic Partnership “Beyond Barriers and Borders”

The project “Beyond barriers and borders” aims to encourage the exchange of competences between young visually impaired people (18-30 years old) and older people (50+ years old). The partner organizations are VIEWS International, the Polish Association for the Blind (PZN) and the Austrian Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted (BSVO).

The project consists of three 5-day trainings in Warsaw, Liège and Vienna targeting 30 visually impaired people (18-30 years old) from the partner countries.

Here you can find out more about "Beyond Barriers and Borders" and its first preparatory meeting, which took place at the beginning of this month.

EU Web Accessibility Directive

Last October, the European Parliament adopted a very important directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile apps. The directive rules that, from now on, websites and mobile applications of public authorities within the EU must be accessible also to disabled people. This is a crucial milestone towards an inclusive digital society, in which disabled people have access to online content on an equal footing with other people.

Here you can read more on the Web Accessibility Directive.

Carnival through different eyes

As you know, last week-end was very special: it was the last week-end of Carnival, a really important celebration here in Belgium. And not only in Belgium, in fact: its neighbour, The Netherlands, takes it also extremely seriously.

The last Sunday of Carnival is particularly renowned in Maastricht, which starts getting ready for it months in advance: the Carnival Prince is elected already the November before! On the last Carnival Sunday, brass-bands play around the city, and bars and pubs stay open until 3 in the morning. The best moment, though, is on Mardi Gras at midnight, when all Carnival-related objects are burnt, drowned or buried, to say goodbye to the Carnival Prince and his Kingdom of Folly.

Two of our volunteers, one blind and one partially sighted, went to Maastricht on Sunday itself, to experience the magic of Carnival. Read Clara and Paola's very personal (and somewhat contrasting) accounts of the day.

Portrait of the month

Here's the third episode of our column "Portrait of the month". This time, our guest is a young man who has already "won many battles", to say it with his own words. Here you can read Evaggelos' inspiring interview.


Call for 2017-2018 adapted EVS placements in Belgium

We're glad to announce that applications to the three adapted EVS projects here at VIEWS International are open! As in previous years, young visually impaired people can be hosted in one of the following projects:

    • Co-ordination of Sainte Marguerite & Orchidée Rose;
  • Views International;
  • Irhov.

Here you can read about VIEWS International's adapted EVS projects more in detail.

Purchase of a Braille printer

Up to now, here at VIEWS we've always gotten Braille documents for our blind members printed at specialized centres, with a remarkable waste of time and efficiency. That is why we are going to purchase a Braille printer through the action « Lab Cap 48 », and we would also love to get some help from you.

  • How: with a generous gift or the sharing of the link to the fundraising page.
  • When: As quickly as possible: the first associations that manage to raise 50% of the set amount will get it doubled by CAP48 and the CBC.

Here's a link with more information on our fundraising adventure.

Thanks for your help to meet this challenge!

6th March: demonstration in Brussels

On 6th March, at 12.00, people will be demonstrating just outside the European Parliament (Place du Luxembourg), calling for a strong and ambitious European Accessibility Act. Though the European Parliament was expected to strengthen the European Commission’s proposal, its Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection has recently published a draft report which waters down the European Commission's proposal rather than strengthening it.

Well, if you believe in the European Accessibility Act as a powerful tool that can improve the lives of 80 million disabled people in Europe, join the demonstration!

1st April: ICC-day in Belgium

Do you remember the international summer camp we told you about in the last issue? Well, ICC Belgium wants to promote it in an event that will take place on Saturday, 1st April 2017, from 9:00 to 18:00, in the Royal Institute of Woluwe (at walking distance from Josephine-Charlotte underground station, reachable from Brussels Central). The goal of the event is to give more information about the camp and offer some workshops simulating the ones that will take place this summer. The event is completely free of charge and can be attended by anyone, with no age limit: pupils, students, parents, and anyone wishing to learn how visually impaired people can lead perfectly normal lives, also thanks to new technologies.

Interested? Click here to find out more about ICC-day and subscribe to it. Don't wait too long though: subscriptions close on 26th March!

ESN: Survey 2017 | Say YES to accessible mobility!

Every year, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) launches an online questionnaire to study the Erasmus+ experience from the students’ perspective and use the results to suggest improvements to governments and universities.

This year's questionnaire wants to assess the challenges and enablers of mobility for students with disabilities across Europe. So, if you have completed an exchange period abroad, or you wanted to but couldn't for some reason, fill up the questionnaire. And remember: the survey is open until the 15th of March and takes about 25 minutes to fill in!

Questionnaire on visually impaired people and unemployment

We're looking for young visually impaired people from Italy, Germany and the French-speaking part of Belgium to fill up a questionnaire about employment. Click here to find out more about the questionnaire and hopefully fill it up!

Cancellation of Dinners in the Dark

We're sorry to announce that we had to cancel both Dinners in the Dark, which were supposed to take place on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of this month, due to logistic reasons. However, we'll promptly let you know as soon as the dates for the next ones are set.

Erasmus+ Youth Projects

We remind you that the upcoming deadlines to present calls for proposals for Erasmus+ Youth projects are the following:

  • 26th April 2017;
  • 4th October 2017.

Should you need any help with your project, don't hesitate to contact our Executive Office at we'll be more glad to support you throughout the whole process.

Call for articles

Have you recently bumped into a particularly interesting event, initiative or piece of technology? Don't hesitate to share it with us: we'll help you spread the word! 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", like Evaggelos and the others 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!

That's all for February, dear readers. When next issue comes out, it will be spring already, full of birds, flowers and new exciting projects and events!

The VIEWS International Team