We are happy to announce you that the project of VIEWS International “VIP building bridges between Europe and China through intercultural dialogue” has been approved by the Executive Agency (EACEA).
The whole project consists of 6 activities which are aiming at the development of intercultural dialog, youth policies and extending of the opportunities for visually impaired people from China and Belgium. All in all, we would like to build a relationship of trust and confidence between VIEWS International and our Chinese partner ZhangCheng Blind Massage Professional Training School, as well as a better knowledge of each other’s cultures.

This project includes at the beginning only 2 participant (China & Belgium) countries having in mind the perspective of extension of the pool of participant countries for the future cooperation.
Chinese and Belgian environments for visually impaired people are quite different in cultural, technological, and social terms. For example, during the preparatory visit our youth worker encountered a surprised reaction from the Chinese colleagues about the fact that in Belgium visually impaired and blind people actually can work. This project is devoted to explore alternatives and possible ways of life for visually impaired people trying to maximize the opportunities and broaden the horizons.

From October 2012 to September 2013, 148 young participants and youth workers and 112 trainers, facilitators and staff would meet in the framework of the project participating in various activities. The project starts with a feasibility visit and a job shadowing in Belgium where VIEWS International would host a youth worker from China showing the methods of work and the adaptations and facilities visually impaired people have at hand in Belgium. The shared experience of the Chinese colleague would be highly appreciated as well as it would help us to improve our work by seeing the possible alternatives and means of work with visually impaired people.

Then, Belgian partners would go to China for a study visit and job shadowing in the partner organization, and in the end there will be a Youth exchange taking place in China and an evaluation visit summarizing the results of the collaboration and building up the future possibilities of cooperation.

We are indeed looking forward to start the activities, work hard and open up our horizons in an encounter with another culture.

Phase 1. Feasability Visit from 25 – 29 November 2012:

Two participants from our Chinese partner will come to hour headquarters in Belgium in order to set up our colaboration, to discover nonformal and formal educational opportunities for vip in the French Community of Belgium and to discuss further stages of the current project.

Phase 2. Job Shadowing in Belgium (28th of february to 19th of March 2013)

The goal of this phase is to learn about youth work in the hosting organization.
Two youth workers from our chinese partner, accompanied by a translator, will come to Belgium in the above mentioned period, in order to discover and learn from the way of working and dealing with and for the blind and visual impaired youngsters in VIEWS International.

Phase 3. Study visit in China (from 5th to 16th April 2013)

  • to discover nonformal and formal educational opportunities for vip in China 

Phase 4. Jobshadowing in China (26th of June- 15th of July 2013)

  • to learn about youth work in the hosting organization

Phase 5. Youth exchange in China (2-15 July 2013)

  • to encourage intercultural dialogue between young people with and without visual impairment from Europe and China through art and outdoor activities

Phase 6. Evaluation visit in Belgium (26th of August – 3rd of September 2013)

  • general evaluation of the project results and of each activity in particular
  • discuss possible follow-up activities
  • create tools to support the collaboration between the 2 organisations.

General presentations booklet of VIEWS International

Attached you will find a downloadable presentation of VIEWS International and ist Projects in PDF-Format. This presentation was developed during the Project.

Project Outcomes and results for download

Huisheng and Luyao: the impressions of some participants for the project for cooperation between VIEWS and China

I’m really pleased to have been chosen to participate in this program. Indeed, it was my first experience abroad . Through this exchange, I was able to travel to the heart of Europe , the continent that I love the most. I was immediately able to discover the life of the people who live here, their education, their conditions of work, minimum wage and Social Security, etc. , all of which is very different from what we know in China.
What strikes me the most is the spirit of independence of the visually impaired people (VIP). Indeed, almost all VIP from Belgium can live and manage their daily lives independently, which greatly impressed me.
Another important point is education. Each student has their own educational support, which certainly greatly increases the quality of learning. VIP can, thus, have the same degree as the sighted people, which I never would have imagined until now.
Moreover, in Europe the visually impaired people, can work in almost all areas , whereas in China , massage is the most common occupation for them.
In addition, the minimum wage in Europe proves to be sufficient to ensure an acceptable quality of life.
Social Security is also a special tool of the European system for VIP because it guarantees a good quality of life , including retirement.
All this gave me a general idea of humanity and has changed my thoughts , my mind , my views and those of my friends to.
This unforgettable experience will accompany me and encourage me throughout my life.

I’m LI Luyao am a young and Chinese non- sighted girl.
I am one of the radio journalists who presented the Beijing Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
At the same time , I was one of the actresses who participated in the first theatrical performance of blind MAETERLINCK entitled under the Sino -European cooperation , organized by the Association for the Visually Impaired people in China.
I am currently in charge of the artistic group of a school for the visually impaired people.
I am very happy and grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this meeting between Europe and China. This allowed me to understand the living conditions , education and the way visually impaired people work in Belgium.
During this exchange, I was very impressed by the Belgian culture and the work done by VIEWS International for Youth VIP.
During our observation project of the workplace in Belgium, I visited a school and a kindergarten for VIP, the training school for guide dogs, as well as the center of activity of the VIP in Brussels. I also met a blind man working at the police station in Charleroi, and I could also observe the conditions of the VIP families. In addition, VIEWS International invited us to visit an exhibition of photos taken by our VIP friends, one of their activities.
I particularly appreciated the aid methods introduced by VIEWS International for its youth workers and VIP volunteers adaptation to the environment , I think including the creation of tactile maps and provision of instructors mobility for the identification of key sites for their lifestyle . I think these efforts are an important aid to their movements.
I hope that my experience will be useful for China !
I would like to thank VIEWS International for its efforts and for giving me the opportunity to observe the living conditions outside the Asian continent. I am convinced that the VIEWS International staff has done its best for the organization of this project. I am confident that our work will be very successful.
Li Luyao

Study Visit in Beijing (the impression of one of the participants Laurence Michel)

Participants : Anca, Bart, Benoît, Carmen, Cédric, Laurence, Loula, Svetlana
From 5th to 16th April 2013

Within the context of the third phase of a collaboration project between Belgium (VIEWS International) and China (a specialised school for visually impaired people (VIP)), our group of 8 young people (totally/partially sighted or blind) went to China, in Beijing, during ten days. It is question of a study visit that we realised in order to prepare the youth exchange which will take place in July 2013.

Saturday, 6th of April:
Arrival at Beijing. The group found its bearings arround the hotel and discovered the city. That walks allowed us to turn towards the hotel. The day was quiet, but at least, allowed us to get over the time difference.

Sunday, 7th of April:
At first, the Belgian delegation met Zhang Cheng, director and founder of the massage school « Zhangcheng School of Blind Massage ». He told us that his school was a free private institute, financed by the massage parlours he created. Our Chinese partner exists from 1998. Since its creation, the school already has trained 2000 young people, all of them blind or visually impaired. This pupils are selected on the basis of three criteria: low incomes, motivation and passion for Chinese traditional medicine (massage and acupuncture). As after each presentation or visit of association, the Belgian delegation could ask questions, which influenced constructive and interesting debates.
During lunch time, our hosts were very keen to make us discover Chinese traditional food: total exotic new surroundings! Thanks to our 3 interpreters, we easily could discuss with Chinese people who were, besides, eager to learn a bit of French!
To finish the day, our group visited one of the school massage parlours. Each one could benefit from a very nice massage session; some of them asked again for more!
In China, massage belongs to traditional medicine, in the same way as acupuncture. Body massage is a massage that you receive being dressed.

Monday, 8th of April:
We began the day with a visit of « Enable Disability Studies Institute ». This institution exists for 4 years. It is a non profit organization which is a platform of support for associations looking after disabled people in the field. It also supplies juridical help and psychological consultancy. The director of the association explained to us that he made a field report about the disabled person’s situation in China, for the United Nations. The conclusions of that report drew the Chinese autorities attention. The laters apparently seemed to be opened to the improvement of disabled person’s lot (for example, by subsidies for a working disabled person, or quotas for disabled people appointments).
After that, the group went back to the massage parlour for a cultural exchange: we discovered and tested Chinese board games, and at the same time, Carmen and Bart initiated our hosts into western ones, which was a good opportunity for knowing better each other.
Thanks to Benoît, we experimented petanque (sport with bowls played in the South of France) adapted for VIP.

Tuesday, 9th of April:
Firstly, the group visited the Chinese Braille Library (Beijing). We saw the different rooms, among others the reading rooms where the users could consult the books on site. The library is particularly specialized in books about massage and traditional medicine. In its four walls, there is an amazing tactile museum we visited, which deals with Chinese and world-wide civilization.
After the lunch break, the group met the association “China Dolls”. That non profit organization exists for 5 years. It attends children and adults suffering from weak bone illness.
Afterwards, we went sightseeing by going to have a look at Hutongs, streets very narrow in the historic areas of Beijing.

Wednesday, 10th of April:
At first, the Belgian delegation visited the association “One + One” which is a sociocultural organization. It publishes a magazine and suggests radio broadcasts for all the country. During that visit, we exchanged points of view with with the association young VIP, on different topics about VIP (studies, jobs, sport, art, mobility). Svetlana talked about the mobility lessons she gives to VIEWS workers and volunteers. The exchange, very rewarding on the Chinese side as well as on the Belgian one, got recorded to get on radio.
Then, the group went back to the Braille Library to see a play of theatre realised by visually impaired Chinese people. Then, Cédric talked about his theatre experience with a company of partially-sighted and blind actors. Finally, we tested the visual therapy room (massage for eyes and machines for exercising sight). Very impressive!

Thursday, 11th of April:
In the morning, the group visited the national association for blind people of China. It tries to set up a better social security for blind and partially-sighted people (financial help). It also suggests mobility lessons.
Afterwards, the group visited the “Beijing Union University). It proposes three domains of studies: specialized education, traditional medicine and musicology. That university essentially receives visually- and hearing impaired people, but there are also people without disability (those who study for working in special education). For disabled people, the establishment has got a helping service (transcription, lending of adapted material). Loula presented specialized education in Belgium, and then, Carmen and I talked about our personal experience of integration in ordinary higher school or university.

Friday, 12th of April:
We went sightseeing by visiting the Great Wall of China, shared in small groups. So, we could discuss with our Chinese friends in a much more relaxed way. Afterwards, we discovered the Bird’s Nest (the Olympic stadium which was built for 2008 Olympics).

Saturday, 13th of April:
Let’s go to the campus of « Loving Heart Society of Beijing University », in company with some of its volunteers. It exists since 1919 and is the most prestigious university of Beijing. Then, on the campus, we organised a cultural party with the two groups (Belgium and China) to make discover Belgium to Chinese people and China to the Belgium ones. On the programme: tasting Belgian products (Anca), and then, Bart, Beniît and Cédric presented Belgium (policy situation, folklore, comic strips). After that, Cédric (the magician) did us some magic tricks! Everybody dansed on the song that we chose (“Alors on danse” from Stromae), and our Chinese friends made us some demonstrations of singing. And to crown it all, some games of strategy with peanuts to transfer to one cup to the other… with the help of steaks, and blindfolded! Let’s say: “mission almost impossible”…

Sunday, 14th of April:
We discovered some more tourist places of Beijing city (the Beijing zoo for pandas, a temple, the Pearl Market, a acrobatic spectacle).

Monday, 15th of April:
At first, the group visited the massage hospital of Beining. Massage, considered like medicine, is reimbursed by the Social Security. There is a difference between the massage parlour which is preventive and aims at well-being (like at the massage school), and the massage at the hospital aiming to nurse.
In the afternoon, we said our farewells to Beijing by visiting the historic centre (pedestrian streets, the Tian’anmen Place).

Tuesday, 16th of April:
Departure from Beijing.

At assessment time, we can say that this study visit was an unqualified success: great exchanges and new friendship. A better knowledge, on both sides, of each one’s culture. A very warm welcome from our Chinese hosts. The ground properly get prepared for the youth exchange in July. That future group of young people will do, just like us, an unforgettable trip and rewarding discoveries.

Laurence Michel