Between 20 and 25 October, Marie-Claire Lavater, Trainer at the Institut Régional de Développement du Travail Social (IRDTS), travelled all the way from French Guyana to Belgium to meet with us and other partners and talk about cooperation between youth in French Guyana and their peers in Europe. In her blog, she recollects her experience between Liège and Brussels.

Marie-Claire Lavater posing for a picture in front of a bridge in Liège

“IRDTS specialises in the professionalisation of actors in the social, medico-social and early childhood sectors in French Guyana. One of its objectives is to build bridges between French Guyana, Europe and the rest of the world, encouraging exchanges between social work students. With these exchanges, students gain a cross-disciplinary perspective on social work and complement it with the exchange of expertise with students and professionals from other contexts and cultures.

These exchanges will also be an opportunity for IRTDS to bring to the table examples of its field reality and raise reflections about the adaptability and innovation of social work practices accordingly. French Guyana’s geopolitical situation and the diversity of its resident populations will also bring to our European partners a different perspective on social work practices.

Networking is one of the strengths of social workers: in this spirit, we have met with partners to establish a gateway for young people with colleagues in the continental Europe region. This will enable young people in French Guyana to take part in internships and Erasmus+ youth exchange projects.

On the theme of disability, we have approached VIEWS International to conduct a study on the mobility and independence of young visually impaired people (VIPs). Known for its expertise and involvement in the field in Europe and internationally, VIEWS International remains one of our key partners.

In this context, Ms. Anca David, director of VIEWS International, has organized meetings with several partners who have been very responsive and are ready to welcome student-interns, including:

  • Loryhan asbl
  • European Disability Forum (EDF)
  • LaBaraka asbl
  • Center for Social Promotion for Educators (CPSE)

During our meetings, the partners recognised the need to take into account the requirements of social work students from IRDTS (French Guyana) when setting training objectives in the Belgian context.

Our conversations have been very fruitful, and we have been able to come up with ideas for new projects including exchanges with young people on disability, sport and culture in partnership with IRDTS, as well as participation in the advocacy effort to European authorities.”

Categories: Partners