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Better Together - Wenn Anderssein normal ist
Start date: Mar 1, 2015, End date: Sep 1, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

This exchange aimed at bringing young people with and without a disability together and living the concept of inclusion. We also intended to provide an informal learning environment that teaches about history, tolerance, culture and politics of the three countries involved. As a group of 34 youngsters (age range 13-29) with their staff we managed to achieve the set objectives. Especially the contact between disabled and non-disabled young people helped to acquire different social competences such as tolerance, empathy, the perception of ones’ and others’ strengths and weaknesses. During different activities young people got to know each other, but they also experienced and expanded their own limits. This exchange offered all the participants regardless of their abilities the opportunity to leave their comfort zone in a safe environment. In addition intercultural learning was fostered and intercultural experiences were made. In order to achieve these objectives we used informal learning methods such as sports, exercises, games and dances. These methods offer a great potential of accessibility and participation and are therefore suitable for such a project. The young people thereby not only got acquainted but they also actively worked against marginalization and segregation. By experiencing the various differences in a group and perceiving that diversity as a unique power helped to show the youngsters a model of equal participation in our society. This experience boosted everyone’s confidence but especially the participants with a disability benefited in that respect. Since group work facilitates cooperation we used it a lot. It creates a sense of togetherness, needs everyone’s cooperation and is a lot of fun. To sum up our outcomes we can say that the young people participating in this exchange became more mature, experienced cooperative learning and a sense of togetherness regardless of handicaps and social backgrounds. This exchange also affected some of the young people’s future plans or perspectives. Now some aspire to work as social workers or educators. By experiencing and living a united Europe we all managed to broaden our horizons.
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