Brief description of the organization
A team of young and proactive people with visual impairments runs Vizioner Foundation. They are guided by the willingness to keep learning and to share their knowledge and experience with others. The foundation was established in 2016 as an NGO, which reflects the clear vision of the founders for the future.
The mission of the organization is to support visually impaired people to communicate effectively in a business environment. They achieve this by fostering their personal and professional development. At the same time, the organization supports private companies, state institutions and NGOs to understand the practicalities of working and interacting with people with vision loss.
The activities of the foundation respond to the increasing interest of Bulgarian employers in hiring people with disabilities. Despite that, in Bulgaria individuals who are blind and visually impaired still suffer high rates of unemployment. The latter is mainly due to the lack of motivation among the blind and visually impaired, and their very limited access to adapted training courses for personal and professional skills development.
The team of the organization tackles this challenging situation by:
- creating training courses for visually impaired in public speaking, effective communication, teamwork, problem solving and other workplace essential skills
- providing training courses and assistance to the business companies, state institutions, and civil society organizations which enhance their capacity to work with blind and visually impaired
- facilitating career development for artists in various fields of art
- exchanging experience and expert knowledge with similar organizations on national, European and international level
- taking active participation in information campaigns and other initiatives related to people with vision loss
Problem addressed by the good practice
The main purpose of the activity was to encourage the participants to share elements of the cultures they represent (such as traditions, legends, myths or tales, common for the countries/ regions they come from), as well as practising their storytelling skills.
The participants of the youth exchange were young people coming from Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Slovenia and Turkey.
Summary of the good practice
Revise Your Story is a storytelling workshop, which took place as a part of a youth exchange project, funded by the Erasmus+ Programme.
The activity took place in the spring of 2019 as a part of the Youth Exchange Revise Your Story. The project was a result of the common work of five organizations: Vizioner Foundation (Bulgaria), Views International (operating from Belgium) and their representatives in Italy – Views Italia, The Slovenian Association of Disabled Students (DSIS) and the Turkish Association of Visually Impaired in Education (EGED).
The whole program of the exchange included several other activities, too, such as introducing to storytelling (principles of creation and presentation of stories) and sensory photography.
For the Revise Your Story storytelling workshop, the participants had to prepare in advance a story, a tradition, a legend, a myth, a song or a tale, common for the countries they represent. The participants were quite creative and some of them even performed their stories in front of the whole group or involved the rest of the participants in their traditional dances.
The participants had a lot of fun, practiced their storytelling skills (which was the main topic of the exchange) and found many things in common.
As a reflection of this activity, the organisers and the participants noted that it is very enriching one’s understanding of the term “culture”. In addition, it has a great potential to break the ices and pull together big groups of people, as many cultures that might seem different, still have many things in common.
The good practice is easily transferable to any country/cultural context.
More information about the youth exchange is available on the official website of the organization. A YouTube video made at the end of the activitiy, representing the key moments of the exchange was also published.