AKIM Jerusalem

January 2015

As in the past, AKIM/Jerusalem [akim-jerusalem.org.il] continued to welcome volunteers of all ages from countries all over the world for periods of 3 to 12 months. The volunteers did very useful work in the association's hostels and apartments and in the Ben Yehuda School for Special Needs Education in Jerusalem. Also, the sponsors' annual 3-day trek "Miles for Smiles" [trek.akim-jerusalem.org.il] took place and reaffirmed its efficiency as a good and proven method for fundraising.

In the frame of the ELLA project, AKIM-Jerusalem prepared a manual for the training apartment program: "The Training Apartment Manual“.

The film "Beyond Words" about Shmuel, a gifted artist, is now available on the ELLA website ella-ella.eu and akim-jerusalem.org.il

"Happy Smile", Croatia

March 2015

The city of Bad Homburg, which has a twin-city arrangement with Dubrovnik/Croatia, asked IB-Behindertenhilfe to support the „Happy Smile“ association from Mostar. "Happy Smile", was founded by parents of people with disabilities and has about 100 members.

Two times a year "Happy Smile" gets a small allowance from the community, otherwise, the association relies on sponsoring and contributions from the parents themselves.

Since 2011 "Happy Smile" are allowed to use two small rooms five days a week, in which to provide creative activities for young adults with disabilities. Many of the participants, who have finished school, would otherwise have to stay at home.

This project is the only one in Mostar and the surrounding region. „Happy Smile", in cooperation with the city of Mostar and an inclusive school are planning to develop new ambulant and residential services for people with disabilities. Together with a representative of the „Krotienhilfe Bad Homburg e.V.“, experts from IB-Behindertenhilfe visited the organisation in March 2015 to learn about the situation of people with disabilities in Bosnien-Herzegowina. In a meeting with the mayor of Mostar they exchanged ideas about possibilities of mobilizing support, such as the transfer of know-how and a joint Aktion-Mensch project.

Representatives of the organisation „Happy Smile“, a school of special education in Mostar and the community of Mostar visited IB-Behindertenhilfe in July to get to know the ambulant and residential offered there. Hopefully this was the beginning of a partnership, which will be fruitful for both sides.

Theatre Pitershed, Russia

July 2015

In preparation for joining the international federation of Caravan2000, Theatre Pitershed, Russia - the new partner - organized a festival meeting with the motto:

"Any person, regardless of gender, age, skin color, nationality, or disability, can act in the theater!"

The title was "Creative space, equal opportunities", and the purpose was, among others, the creation of the European Movement for Diversity and Understanding in Russia and its future development in cooperation with KARAVANE Switzerland. The results were the planning of a theatre hall, a theatrical shop, and a club KARAVANE friends in Russia.

In addition to the director Mrs. Irina Rogaleva and the coordinator, Mrs. Helena Gorbinova, and the members of the youth theatre Pitershed, the General Consul of Switzerland in St. Petersburg, Mrs. Michelle FALLETTAZ participated. Furthermore the Theatre Two and Ivan Solovyov Moscow, the Studio Theatre "Children of Silence" St. Petersburg, the organizer and initiator of the project, Mr. Otto Walser, Chairman KARAVANE Switzerland participated. We learned that the theatre Pitershed was involved in the documentary film „Worlds“, produced by Ms. Olga Spirkova, which was shown on the film festival „Berlinale“ in Berlin/Germany.

Actors and fascinated audience of Theatre Pitershed

July 2015

IB-Brandenburg Nordeast was allocated the „Erasmus+ VET-Mobilitycharter“ for the high quality of their mobility projects. We congratulate IB-Brandenburg for this extraordinary achievement!

In July 2015, 35 youngsters from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and Poland camped together on the property of IB in Neuenhagen, near Berlin. They attended cultural events, did sightseeing in Berlin, swam in a nearby lake, climbed together in a high-wire forest adventure course, and played soccer.

The highlight of the get-together was a soccer tournament, in which 5 multinational teams competed. The project was funded by Erasmus+/Youth in Action.

Seven trainees and their trainers from IB-Neuenhagen and Frankfurt/Oder went to Kaunas/Lithuania for an internship. The event took place in the frame of the „Europe Inclusive“ project and was funded by the LifeLongLearning program/Leonardo da Vinci. The participants had a chance to apply their skills and learn new methods of housekeeping, cooking, and baking.

Furthermore, they informed themselves about the country, the people, and the culture. All participants got a data medium with photos and daily reports and finally a European mobility passport.

Dinner with the mayor of Antalya

July 2015

On the occasion of the visit of Mr.Thiemo Fojkar, chairman of the IB-management board, in July 2015, the community of Antalya offered the IB to establish a joint company, the main purpose of which would be to serve the interests of people with disabilities and disadvantages in the region of Antalya.

The community of Antalya wants to develop concepts, that are innovative and exemplary. This is what the municipal rehabilitation centre, which was designed together with IB-Behindertenhilfe, focuses on at this point in time. In addition to the already existing rehab-centre, Mr. Fojkar visited the second one, which was opened later on in August. More conversations were held concerning potential cooperation in offering professional education in Turkey, together with the Darülaceze Foundation and the city of Antalya.

Meeting with United in Diversity, Nis, Serbia

September 2015

Three representatives of IB-Behindertenhilfe traveled to Nis in the south of Serbia to meet members of the partner organisation „United in Diversity“. The participants discussed the eventuality of conducting additional joint projects, such as a bilingual and inclusive daycare facility for children.

The information center for people with disabilities in the region, which also functions as a contact point, is working continuously: All kinds of activities are provided on a regular basis, as reported by the parents of the young disabled people with great enthusiasm. In addition, a „Cookie-Café“ was set up, which employs people with disabilities and helps reduce existing reservations in the general public about coming in contact with them. A great success for the organization and for the cooperation with IB-Behindertenhilfe!

"Your Chance", Lithuania

September 2015 – July 2016

From Sept. 1. 2015 – July 1. 2016 the partner Dienos Centras (JCD) carries out the project „Your Chance“: The target group members are young people with learning disabilities from institutions of Dienos Centras and young volunteers from Austria, France, Germany, and Spain.

The main objectives of the project are:

  • Find time to listen and look straight into eyes;

  • Learn to cry and support each other;

  • Don’t be afraid to laugh and just be together;

  • Always believe that this is the most wonderful day of your life.

The Volunteers at JDC work together with youngsters with intellectual disabilities doing: pottery, art, sports, household chores, IT, music, technology, wool felting, theatre, and more. The volunteers support and help young people with special needs who are not capable of working in a group. In addition to the daily activities, the volunteers carry out many public projects such as: organizing exhibitions, concerts, and sports festivals for the town community. The main goals of the projects are to show the abilities of young people with intellectual disabilities and to change the public's attitude toward them.

The volunteers organize special events for nondisabled young people in general educational institutions with the aim of promoting the idea of volunteering and changing young people's attitudes towards their disabled peers.

DIFFERENT?! (People laugh, because I’m DIFFERENT. I laugh because they are all the SAME) - I AM DIFFERENT AND PROUD, YES, I AM DIFFERENT! The target group of this project was five young people with intellectual disabilities, two without intellectual disabilities, and three carers from Lithuania and Spain.

From Mai – November 2015, one pre-meeting, one evaluation meeting, and two mobilities took place in Spain and in Lithuania. The project idea was designed by youngsters with disabilities, who have many questions about their identity. The general aim of the project is to help youth with intellectual disabilities to understand and experience their culture and history, their similarities and differences, and their strengths and weaknesses.

The project motto: "The best prediction for the FUTURE is the PAST“ The objective for implementation is to offer each participant enough space for him/her to participate, experiment, create, have fun, and learn in non-traditional ways.

The general aim of the project was, that we all gain experience that can help us in everyday life:

  • youth – better social skills;

  • youth leaders - new methodology and new working methods;

  • experience that will enable us in the future to make other projects of better quality and that add more value;

  • to create strong partnerships between countries, professionals, and young people with disabilities, and that all these benefits will continue long after the project ends;

  • to change public attitudes and to show that young people with disabilities, also have many capabilities.

The project's results were presented to the members of the local and international community during and after the project. We now hope that these presentations will have a long-lasting impact on the design of future policies regarding youth with intellectual disabilities.

"Steptember", Turkey

September 2015

Turkey: The Turkish partner „Spastic children´s Foundation of Turkey“ (SCFT) continued also in 2015 with the fundraising-program „Steptember“, which began in Australia in 2011 and which they attended in 2014 (see Newsletter 2014-15): From Sept. 2nd – 29th altogether 435 teams, supported by 2530 volunteers from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mugly, Samsun, Adana, Antakya, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, and Kocali participated with a total of 246.309.610 steps.

The 17-month project “Creating Educational Programs on Anti-Discrimination on par with EU Standards” will end in March 2016. The project is part of the European program "Civil Society Dialogue Between EU And Turkey", which SCFT is conducting together with the Italian partner CESIE. In order to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities in Turkey, the project aimed at adjusting the elementary school curriculum in accordance with the European Union policies.

In order to reach the goal of the project the following actions were implemented by the project team: Mutual study visits took place in the two partner countries. The visits offered opportunities to gain knowledge of current regulations and practices in the struggle against discrimination against disabled individuals. The first visit was conducted in Istanbul and included a visit to İstanbul City. The second visit took place in Palermo, Italy.

The final output of the research activity was the compilation of a comparative report on the educational practices in the field of disability anti-discrimination in Italy, Turkey as well as in two other selected EU countries, England and France. The team also developed recommendations for alternative classroom activities. All training materials (activity cards, introductory guides for teachers and informants, animation movies, and more) were prepared by the project team. 43 guidance teachers and vice-principals in 21 schools subsequently underwent training. Following that, awareness seminars were conducted for nearly 17,000 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders in 21 elementary schools in the district of Ataşehir’s. These seminars give attention to what is understood by disability and the discrimination against disabled individuals in Turkey. The project will end on 14th of March 2016 and all results of the project will be submitted to the Ministry of Education of Turkey.

Our House of Europe

October 2015

In the framework of the same program, ten trainees in the fields of bricklaying, painting, and gardening from IB-Brandenburg Nordeast completed an internship in Turkey. They also received a European mobility passport.

"Our House of Europe", from October 24th – 30th, 2015

41 young people with disadvantages from France, Poland, and Germany met for seven days in Bernau, near Berlin, to learn about the theme „Europe“. The focus of the meeting was a simulation of the European Council. Furthermore, the participants got to know Berlin and Bernau via rallies, visited facilities for young people, and organized evenings where each country and its culture were presented. All of them had a lot of fun and they look forward to the next meeting, which will take place in Dunkerque/France in the Autumn of 2016.

International Inclusion Congress, Vienna

November 11th – 14th 2015

The big ELLA-Congress took place in the Europe-House/Schloss Miller-Aichholz in Vienna/Austria. The participants included representatives with and without disabilities as well as the members of the ELLA Advisary-Committee and the project management group with their assistants.

The title of the Congress was: „United for Inclusive Education: Moving Beyond Traditional Learning“. The aim of this event was, to evaluate the project results in two years after ELLA's inception and to communicate these results to a broad public. The Austrian partner ÖJAB, who hosted the event and was responsible for its administration, invited top-class guests from the political and administrative spheres as well as students and teachers from all over Austria.

The congress was held under the patronage of the Austrian Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer. After the welcoming by Mr. Michael Thiele, Managing Director of IB-Behindertenhilfe and Vice-President of Caravan 2000, and by the Managing Director of ÖJAB/Austria, Dr. Monika Schüssler, inaugural addresses were held by Dr. Robert Bechina, Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Expert on Disability-related issues/Austria and by Mr. Mag. Billy Batware from the regional Academy of the United Nations, Head of Management, Strategic Planning and External Relations, Austria.

Although not all reports were delivered in easy language, the participants with and without disabilities listened attentively and applauded the presenters vividly. Later on, the results of the ELLA work packages were presented in separate workshops, in which the participants could try out the particular methods that were presented. In order to address the interests of all the congress participants, ÖJAB invited additional speakers from outside of ELLA, who administered workshops with the theme „Inclusive Education“. All workshops were attended by a good number of people who appreciated and applauded the presentations. A panel discussion took place on the last day, with the participation of the Minister of Social Affairs, Labour and Consumer Protection/Austria, Mr. Rudolf Hundsdorfer, Mrs. Mag. Bettina Glatz-Kremser, Member of the Managing Board of Austrian Lotteries, Mrs. Mag. Ursula Simacek, CEO of the Simacek Facility Management Group/Austria, Mr.3Mag. Michael Sicher, MSc, Founder of CEOS on Wheels/Austria, Mr. Nico Langmann Austrian Worldclass Wheelchair Tennis player, and Mr. Michael Thiele, Managing Director of IB-Behindertenhilfe/Germany (please see at ella-ella.eu/news).

The participants enjoyed the congress which ended with a glittering Inclusion party.

International General Assembly Caravan2000

November 2015

The general assembly of Caravan 2000/international took place in Vienna on Nov. 13, 2015. Firstly, the members of the Russian organization „Theatre Petershed“ presented their work. Their application for membership in the Caravan was unanimously approved by the international board, which met directly after the Assembly. Thus, Caravan 2000 now has members in 16 countries.

Information about Pitershed can be found at: https://vk.com/pitershed.Another application for membership was submitted by a Spanish organization, but since they were not present at the Assembly, the decision on its membership was postponed.

The Caravan's outgoing president, Ms. Magda Skiba, reported on the activities in 2014 and 2015, particularly those in the frame of the ELLA project. This report was unanimously accepted.

The most important topic was the election of the nine board members: The new president is Michael Thiele/Germany, and the vice presidents are Magda Skiba/Poland, and Ivana Stajkovic/Serbia. The other board members are Regis Alvin/France as treasurer, Irmela von Toerne/German as general secretary, Marita Jonols/Sweden, Tommy Papp/Greece, Tarik Bitlis/Turkey, and Osman Ozturk/Turkey. Kerstin Klepsch/Austria, Ino Cornel/Nederlands, and Stefan Rothschild/Israel were appointed as coopted members.

Inclusion for a Better Future

November – December 2015

"Inclusion for a Better Future" from Nov. 11th – Dec. 2nd, 2015Seven experts in the fields of social work and vocational education and two members of the Association for International Cooperation from Palestine, visited Neuenhagen to learn about the field of vocational education for persons with special needs in Germany. Also in 2015, IB Brandenburg Southeast welcomed a large number of Polish interns for several weeks, particularly in the field of gastronomy.

In the project „Healthy, wealthy and wise“, the participants learned about healthy cooking, how to deal with the culture of the partner country, and how to take responsibility in the group.

The target group consisted of 28 young gastronomy trainees from disadvantaged families in Poland, Finland, and Germany. The project gave the participants the chance to try out what they had learned, exchange information with their peers from other countries, and improve their social and verbal competencies.