With this article, I would like to tell you about the experience we had during the Youth exchange “Revise your story” from April 12th to April 19th 2019.
The Belgium team was composed of Anthony Reyers, Joyce De Ceulaerde, Youssri Mejdoubi, Suzan De Hoog and I (Ibrahim Tamditi).
We went to Bulgaria to the city of Sandanski to have an exchange about story telling.
The four other countries that were present were Turkey, Italy, Slovenia and of course Bulgaria the hosting country..
We arrived in Sofia where we were welcomed by the staff members of hosting Bulgarian association (Vizionner Foundation). When the other groups arrived we took the bus to Sandanski.
The hotel was accessible and we made a tour to get to know the different rooms in order to be independent in the hotel. We were in double rooms or triple rooms. The bedrooms were with a balcony and a fridge. During this week we could rely on skilled staff members to learn how to tell a story, how to draw attention, what is important in a story, what tools are more appropriate to tell a story…
They were very reactive to adapt the activities when the group or an individual made a request. We discovered the culture of the country and the situation of disabled people living in Bulgaria, the music, the food… Thanks to cultural night we discovered many things about other countries and we made a presentation of our country. During the week we had the opportunity to go to Melnik the smallest town in the world but famous for its wine.
Another day and fortunately a very sunny day, we went to the mountain to take advantage of the scenery and to use it if we wanted for our story because we had to create a story in group of 5 for the end of the week.
And after a workshop about photos, which have a very big place in the society even though we are blind (Instagram is booming), we went to a park close to the hotel to try to make photos and asked the sighted people to describe them to see how good a blind can take pictures.
The last day was the moment to present our stories and groups chose different supports to tell the stories: pictures, videos, comics or written text.
This kind of exchange is a very nice way to meet people from other countries to learn about blindness in those countries. They are different things in different countries that can inspire us or give us the need to help them to develop something or give the possibility to create a partnership in the future if we want to organise a Youth Exchange. You can develop your social skills, your social network and you get out of this week with a rich knowledge about blindness in Europe. I just want to stress how important this kind of experience is for young people (improving English skills) and I highly recommend you participate as a volunteer or a participant if you have the possibility.
Ibrahim Tamditi for Views International