The National Rehabilitation Center for the Blind took part in the international project for empowerment of young visually impaired people. 8 young people - students from the towns of Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna took part in 5-day seminars in the Arla Institute – Finland and Sonneheerdt Foundation – the Netherlands in the frameworks of the project. The participants had the chance to make useful contacts with their colleagues from Estonia, Lithuania, Finland and the Netherlands. The rich social program afforded a lot of pleasant moments for the participants.



One of the participants in the seminar in Finland – Rumiana Dimitrova shares her experience with us:

Finland – an exciting experience, combined with useful work, friends and a lot of positivism
Rumiana Dimitrova

My personal impressions in Finland are excellent and memorable. I am especially delighted about the perfect and irreproachable organization in every single aspect – the warm welcoming; accommodation; the too abundant food and about the coziness that we had during those five days as well.

I think that the seminars were very varied, dynamic and interesting. Most of them made me think about my behavior and my independence as well. I think that in some of the practical tasks we had the opportunity to unlock our imagination, to show handicraft, social skills, improvisation, teamwork, way of communicating in the different groups, creativity in solving a common problem, etc.

Indeed the feedback was useful on the one hand for us – the participants, and on the other – for refining the training for the next groups. I would like to give an idea about a training that I think would impress both the participants and the trainers. This seminar may be called “Intercultural links” – similar to the one, during which we talked about the different traditions, but it could be enriched further more and to experiment in the following way: every member of each group should try to learn some words in all the other mother’s tongues of the participants (hallo, thank you, I love you, etc.).

All the afforded materials were useful and accessible for me. The instructions for each seminar were very well presented and clear. The tests that we made were in very high-level English and may be it would be better if they are worked up in a more easy to understand language, since we had some difficulties in translating some of the questions.

It will be useful for all the participants, trainers and managers of the project to create a contact-list with a postal address, e-mail, icq number, skype name, so that everyone communicate in the way that he/she finds easiest.
A web site could be made, on which information about the project is uploaded and to open up a forum, in which we could exchange our impressions and experience and to give recommendations for the further execution of the project as well.

If this proposal is difficult to be implemented, the same aim could be achieved by exchange of e-mails, but all the participants should register in a list, where a common e-mail for all the participants should exist and only if there is the need of personal correspondence, then it should be sent to the personal e-mail.
At the end of my impressions, I would like to wish all the initiators, managers and executors of the project to keep on the development and refinement of the trainings, to keep on making the same good impressions for the other participants as they did them for us.

Boian Michev says some words about the seminar:

I also have to express my gratitude to you for the invitation to take part in Fourth transnational partnership meeting of the Gründtvig / SOFI Network in frame of the EU Socrates/Gründtvig.

As a whole, I express a very high opinion of the training I had the chance to take part in.

First of all, I would like to focus my attention to the seminar, its topic and the way it went off. The empowerment was a really new area to me, although it’s very close and strong-related to what I study and my professional interests. The people bound up in our training were very good professionals and they managed to organize all workshops and items of the meeting in a way nobody felt tedious about it. The attitude of our hosts was so warm and in my modest opinion, it helped the participants to do their best and to enjoy the empowerment. I paid attention to the new and original methods our trainers used. They made me impression, because they easily heighten the interest and the concentration of the participants with their great diversity.

Students from different countries were divided into small groups to discuss their points of view on a particular topic. It contributed easier communication and broke lots of cultural and lingual barriers between the representatives of different countries. We were tolerant towards each other and towards different position and this learned me how to work in a group, to listen better and to accept somebody else’s ideas if only their arguments are really better than mine. This gave me a good vision about my coevals from foreign countries, their interests the way they thing and so on.

The chance we had to make a trip in Amsterdam and the afternoon spent in the swimming centre tended to the success of the whole event. Because combining useful work with pleasant and interesting social and intercultural activities and sport always lead to a happy end. Evenings were also time in which participants had the chance to have good talks, to be together in the hotel and outside for a walk as well. Me, personally, made a few friends I’m still in touch with and I am very glad about it. I do enjoyed the last free day in The Netherlands, when the Bulgarian group accompanied by a few foreign fellows visited Apeldorm and had a good sightseeing and shopping tour of this small, beautiful city.

The accommodation and all the other conditions of the hotel were perfect, so no one could have any complaining of it.

At the end I will indulge to express my appreciation to you and our interpreter for the really excellent attitude!