Project VI was a one-week training course that took place just outside Swindon in the UK. The course brought together participants from five countries to learn more about visual impairments and to support the UK based charity Victa Children in hosting their family weekend.
About Victa Children: This is a UK based charity that support children and young people who are blind or partially sighted, as a charity they also provide support and advice to their families. Victa was established by families that were looking to create a support network for their children and each other. Now they are a national charity that support families all over the country. Victa support children and young people by creating a range of activities and events thought out the year which now also include international exchanges. Act Global started to support Victa in 2013 when we took some of their young people on an exchange to Bosnia and Herzegovina (Blog on that exchange). Since then we have made a number of events and are committed to supporting the charity to make diverse and international projects.
This project fell into two parts. The first was the initial training which allowed for participants to learn about the different types of visual impairments that exist and what support needs come with them. We also engaged in a number of exercises that allowed participants to simulate how life is for blind and partially sighted young people. At the end of the course participants also looked at how we can implement changes into their current activities to make them more inclusive for these type of young people.
The second part of the course was the Victa Family weekend. Around 250 people attended the weekend made up of 70 families for all over the UK. The weekend involved several activities for the parents and children which included Canoeing, Climbing, Zip Wires, Go Carting to name a few. The weekend also hosted a fancy dress disco with a Wild West theme in the evening as well as workshops and support groups for the families. Participants on the course supported various groups to engage in the activities and became an additional level of support for the young people to engage.
This course was a lot of hard work but great fun. Additionally to learning about the topic of visual impairments it was also a great intercultural experience. Each country was able to share their countries perspective on the course and we also had one evening dedicated to cultural learning which was the Intercultural Evening. Each country gave a presentation, some made quizzes, games share songs etc. It was really fun and a great learning experience. After the presentations we also shared food and drinks for the countries.
We are really grateful to Victa Children who allow us to support this project and too all out international partners that took so much time and attention to find such great participants. Thanks to all for a great project.
Our International partners for this project were:
– Hellenic Youth Participation (Greece)
– Associatia Babilon Travel (Romania)
– Association of Citizens CEFE Macedonia Skopje (FYR -Macedonia)
– Fundacja Rzecz Wspierania Kultur Alternatywnych i Ekologicznych (Poland)