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The right to choose

Kharkiv public organization
rehabilitation center for disabled people and theirs family members.
Adress: Kirgizskaya 10, phone (+38 067)418-32-09,
e-mail pravovibora@ukr.net

On the Sunny Beach of Bulgaria

Everyone is looking forward to the warm and sunny summer, and it does not matter if you are an adult or have a great rest and recharge with positive and unforgettable impressions, I want everyone!
And, finally, this long-awaited moment comes! When you can forget about work, and training, and all the everyday affairs, from which you would like to escape during the year, and plunge into the warmth of the sea waves, or go for a fun company in the distant mountains. The main thing - to bring with him a good humor and lofty mood.
Well, if things are collected, once again checked the availability of tickets and documents, I suggest to go to the Black Sea to Sunny Beach of Bulgaria.
From July 27 to August 6, an international project "Path to Independence" was held in the cozy hotel complex Happy Land.
The project was sponsored by the Global Children's Fund (GFC, USA), the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Polish Api Api Foundation, and the Global Given Global Charity Platform.
The "Path to Independence" united purposeful youth, who seeks to learn and receive new knowledge, share their own experiences and develop further, without stopping at the achievement.
Much effort had to be made to organize the project, its venue, a set of participants, specialists and volunteers.
Not sparing the forces, health and leisure time, the wise, charming, educated and truly sincere woman was engaged in the process of organization of the event - Valentina Antonovna Butenko - director of the Kharkiv youth public organization for the people with a disregard for the "Pravo vibora".
Valentina Antonivna took care that the project participants not only relax, sunbathe on the beach and swim in the warm waves of the sea, as well as find out a lot of interesting and useful for themselves.
The " Path to Independence " introduced the participants to the international experience of the employment of people with visual impairment in the United States and Germany.
The highlight of the project was the colleagues from Poland - three fun and inflammatory girls who are the leading instructors of spatial orientation. Every day, despite the unbearable heat and the desire to relax, the girls conducted individual sessions on spatial orientation for both participants and volunteers and specialists. The technicians showed the new techniques of possession of the reed, the ways of finding things that fell to the surface of a certain plane, gave advice on how to behave in unfamiliar terrain, and gladly shared the advice and experience of making the path with a white cane be safe and reliable.
Pilates classes were held to support physical fitness, and every morning all went out to exercise, to flex muscles and to be alert throughout the day.
It so happened that the women's team prevailed on the project this year, so that in order to really relax from the presence of men and constant women's concerns, two professional and sensitive psychologists - Inna Greciana and Oksana Bogdanets conducted daily trainings and lectures on femininity.
At every lesson, the girls discovered hidden traits and talents, learned women's wisdom, shared the secrets of success, made each other gifts and were in harmony with the world around them.
I hope that all the girls' knowledge and advice are hidden in the box of wisdom, and after the rest they continue to use them, giving their relatives joy, happiness and love!
In order to really get on the path of independence, Gps-novagation sessions, training on touch devices and spatial orientation were organized for our participants from our Ukrainian specialists-the spouses of Igor and Halyna Kushnir.
And what is independence with no computer literacy skills ?! Yes, and in this area everything was at a high level, because the professional of his business, patient teacher, athlete and programmer Andriy Butenko individually conducted classes for everyone who wanted to master the work on the computer.
For the men who participated in the project, the highlight of the rest was the board game of a sea battle, which was brought by a specialist from Kharkiv Stanislav. This is a strategic game that made players think, risk, enthusiasm and, eventually, win or defeat.
" Path to Independence " is really the project that corresponds to its name. His goal is to integrate young people with visual impairment into society, to learn how to make decisions and make choices independently, to reveal their abilities and individuality. The volunteers who took part in the project, the students of the M. Drahomanov KPU student at the faculty of tiflopedagogy, had the opportunity to acquire practical skills and experience for future activities. Girls learned the important intricacies that are needed in working with a person who has a visual impairment.
During the whole event between the organizers, participants, specialists and volunteers, a completely friendly and democratic atmosphere prevailed: everyone individually chose the lessons that they considered important and interesting for themselves, went to the beach, spent their free time in a convenient way. There was no leadership, intimidation, that someone would be sent home or restricted in mode or out of territory.
Those classes that were mandatory (morning exercise, pilates and psychological trainings) were considered compulsory for everyone, and the organizers and specialists visited them.
For all, the rules of the project were the same, so nobody disturbed them, which, in fact, testifies to democracy and respect for personal space and individuality.
I wonder how the project was created, which caused difficulties in its organization, and, most importantly, what needs young people with visual impairment in modern realities?
Then read an interview with a charming woman, a tireless teacher and a professional teacher - the director of the Kharkiv public organization "Pravo vibora" Mrs. Valentina.
- How did the idea of creating the "Path to Independence" project come from?
- First we had the project "School for Mum", which was devoted to mothers and their little children who have visual impairment.
- "School for Mum" is a summer school of extramural parenting, in which parents with children of early and preschool age take part.
- By the way, next year the project "School for Mum" will be 10 years old.
- Of course, children grow up and there are new inquiries, new questions to be solved. Yes, we realized that much remains unresolved, both from the side of the parents and from the children.
"That's why we launched a project aimed at helping young people to become successful and independent."
- Today a few children and parents are aware of our project, not all of them have heard about it in various circumstances. In particular, many children are educated in boarding schools where they are being cared for, they are not independent, they get used to what they are all deciding for. And when it's time to choose your own path - education, the choice of profession, employment, the children themselves suffer because of their complexity and stereotyped thinking.
- Our public organization tried to overcome it.
- Among our members there are many successful examples of socialization, integration, employment of totally blind youth. We wanted to share this experience, share practical advice and knowledge, and those who also want to become independent and independent.
- "The path to independence" lasts for the fourth year in a row. Has his place always been Bulgaria?
- The first two years of the project took place in Evpatoria on the basis of the National Paralympic Center of the National Assembly of Invalids of Ukraine. This was a convenient place for rehabilitation: a gym, a swimming pool, courses for studying spatial orientation, lecture rooms and individual classes.
- In Evpatoria, we can no longer run a project, therefore, we began to look for the locations that specialists and youth from abroad could come to visit.
- Bulgaria is a warm, sunny country, it's a wonderful holiday, the sea and the opportunity for young people to go abroad, because not everyone can afford it.
- In your opinion, in such projects, which classes should be held that will help young people with visual impairment to become successful and independent?
- To make a person independent, she must learn to serve herself, monitor her physical form and health, and independently navigate in space. Also, psychological training plays an important role in integration into society, in particular, it is training for goal setting, development of communicative skills and self-presentation.
- Why it is important, give a concrete example. Recently, two guys who just got a masseur's degree turned to our organization. During the summer, they went to hospitals in search of work, but never worked.
- I offered them their help, they say, we will be together to look for the desired vacancies.
- We know that job search begins with a resume, so, and we began to compose it, in fact, on this and stopped.
- Yes, I'm sure not only these guys can not make a resume, but for many others it is also not easy. And what about talking about an interview, a conversation with an employer ?!
- A photo is needed for the resume, so for the guys we organized a photo session.
- They are truly great masseurs, I know them as specialists of their business, but they have to be able to imagine themselves, to be interested in a potential employer. But they feel quite sketchy and unsure of a new person, they start to be ashamed of something.
- How has the "Path to Independence" project changed from its first start to its extreme, which has just ended?
- There is nothing constant in the world, there are always changes, new methods, techniques, devices for the rehabilitation of people with visual impairment appear. When the project was launched for the first time, it was an attempt to create a model for young people that would really help young people on the path to independence, which we are investing in the very purpose of the event.
- This year we really wanted to conduct Scandinavian courses within the project, because this type of sport rehabilitation has many positive reviews from the blind people and, indeed, it is the physical load that helps with orientation in space and helps maintain physical development.
- Also, I would like in the future a more convenient location, so that everything is tailored to our needs. When we are in a youth camp, we provide a place to live, but we also need premises for rehabilitation work.
- I would like in the future, so that at the project we learned to cook and eat as a whole.
- I would also be very happy to bring young people from other countries to our project to share their experience of independence.
Of course, in order to overcome the language barrier, one needs to learn a language in order to communicate all together.
I have to say that in our organization twice a week, Polish lessons are being conducted and we are already preparing for the coming of our friends and colleagues from Poland.
- Have difficulties with a set of participants, specialists and volunteers?
- This year there were more problems with the set of participants. In the end, it turned out that we had a magnificent flower garden, each flower of which was a unique necklace and decoration of our project.
- Regarding the volunteers, we have not managed to prepare them properly for their work this year. This was an experience for us, and we already plan that during the year there will be meetings with volunteers, in which they will be taught how to properly accompany a person with visual impairment, as well as helping young people with visual impairment.
- Can anyone become a party to the "Path to Independence" project?
- The main criterion for participation in the project is the desire of the participant to become on the path of independence.
- "Path to Independence" will be held in the future?
- I think that, of course, this project will continue to live, develop, become more qualitative, will bring together more participants, specialists from other fields will be involved with it and will be trained in other important areas necessary for youth.
- I note that the project "Path to Independence" lasts for a year: we have youth trips to Poland for the exchange of experience.
- And in general, our organization always holds many lessons, lectures and trainings that help young people get closer to independence and become on their way.
- At the conclusion of our conversation, what would you like to wish to young people with visual impairment, which feels somewhat uncertain and is afraid to take a step in this beautiful and boundless world?
- First of all, be active, secondly, work on personal growth, be interesting to others and remember that people look at eyes, but your ability to communicate, support the conversation, your successes and the aspiration for the future!