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VIP exchange on art, sport & non-formal activities in Liége

VIP exchange on art, sport & non-formal activities in Liége

This youth exchange provided an opportunity for young blind, partially sighted and sighted, from different EU countries, to meet, discover artistic and sportive adapted activities, as well as their cultural heritage. This youth exchange was hosted by VIEWS International in Liege, Belgium, from July 6th till 16th 2012. The group of participants was formed by 36 participants from

  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary
  • Slovenia
  • Italy
  • Romania
  • Belgium.

Each group was composed by 3 visual impaired plus one sighted participant, one group leader and one accompanying person. The dissemination of results was including a photo exhibition organised at the end of the youth exchange; first in Liège, the hosting city, followed by local photo exhibitions in each project promoter countries.
The methods used to implement activities for the youth exchange were:

  • ice-breaking games
  • simulations games
  • work in small groups
  • debates
  • presentations,
  • questions / answers,
  • brainstorming
  • listing ideas
  • workshops.

Before the youth exchange was starting, from July 4th till July 6th, an advance planning visit was held in Liège, with the purpose of making all necessary arrangements before the start of activities.
This exchange was financed with the support of the Youth in Action Programme of the European Union.

Below you will find a report including the impressions of a sighted assistant who was participating in this exchange.

I am sighted. Though not having a perfect vision, with the help of contact lenses I can see nearly everything. Buildings, faces, subtitles.

I came to the YE in Liege with a hope to create something interesting in cooperation with people who didn’t have that much luck with eyes as I did but, on the other hand, were way more bright and talented than me. And I guess, we did manage to do it.

For me, this Youth Exchange was all about people. It was exactly people - musicians, students, dancers, do-it-yourselfers, interlocutors, storytellers, friends, activists, volunteers, etc. - which built such a rich environment in L’Espace Belvaux.

People shared their knowledge, people talked to me in the evenings and amazed me with unbelievable anecdotes and narratives, people organized it and made it possible, people made me feel very welcome there. People and two dogs, to be precise.

There, I liked waking up as each day I had a thought that this day would bring me something new and unexpected. Actually performing a full-scale song in a self-organized orchestra with all the possible variety of instruments with people who a minute before had no clue how to hold a musical instrument (and performing it really well eventually, I should say), doing some yoga, tasting a Bulgarian yogurt soup with cucumbers (what a combination), stalking people in green clothes to snap-shoot them for a task from a photo workshop, etc. I could learn something from nearly every person and what is even more important, people did smile back at you when you start talking with them, which is, by the way, was very encouraging.

In my opinion, during this short period of time we happened to build up a cozy communal environment from a scratch. Though with different characters, opinions and hobbies, we still could become friends.
I like noticing the impact of the YE not only to the project itself but on me and my life after it: sometimes I walk down the street humming a Hungarian folk tune, now I take photos minding the side of the light following Philippe’s and Olivier’s advices, thanks to Sarina my playlist abounds with pieces by Japanese composers, Carmen’s tips on massage immediately pop up in my head when a friend of mine complains of stiffness in his shoulders, I have Nikola’s voice guiding me when filling in a questionnaire for another project or vacancy, Daniele’s multi-instrumental capacities inspire me to take up my forever postponed course on harmonica.

And these are just few examples. People from the YE filled me with memories, knowledge, skills, stories which I am very thankful about.
Svetlana