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Nature Symphony
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Nov 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

CSEI "Elena Doamna" Focsani (School Center for Inclusive Education) is schooling a total of 299 pupils with special educational needs (whatever deficiency), of whom 116 are hearing impaired. This project has emerged from the need identified in Vrancea county regarding the low degree of tolerance between young people with hearing impairment and young people without disabilities. One of the factors that favored the occurrence of this problem is due to the fact that the two categories of young people don’t know each other very well because they don’t involve in joint activities. Another factor would be the low level of motivation of these young people to interact due to both the low level of information of the local community regarding the young people with hearing impairment and reluctance of both categories of young people to participate in joint activities and the existence of prejudices in the community. The impact of this problem on young people with hearing impairments is low self-esteem that leads to reduced opportunities for social and professional insertion, the rise in unemployment and delinquency. Another characteristic determined by this problem would be reduced social adaptation of the two categories of youth that influence the increase of social exclusion, the decreasing number of sign language specialists, and all these together lead to poor quality services for people with deficiencies. The purpose of this project was to increase the degree of tolerance between young people with hearing impairment and young people without disabilities. The objectives of the project were: 1. to increase the motivation of interaction between the 30 young people aged 14-18 years from Turkey, Estonia and Romania, with and without hearing impairments, throughout the project. 2. to facilitate social interaction among 30 young people aged 14-18 years, from Turkey, Estonia and Romania, with and without hearing impairments during the 9 working days. 3. to acquire and enhance participants’ knowledge about auditory disabilities by the end of the project. The activities of the Youth Exchange took place in Romania, one day in Bucharest and the others in Lepsa, Vrancea county. The project started at 01.05.2015 and ended at 01.12.2015. The youth exchange activities took place from 01 August 2015 – 11 August 2015. The project provided practicing outdoor activities and mountain hiking as a means of promoting a healthy lifestyle among young people and also as a tool to develop self-respect and respect for others and concern for cultural diversity. Our project aimed to use outdoor activities as an engine to promote interaction among young participants who learn best when they are engaged in joint activities. The groups of participants at the exchange were from Romania, Turkey and Estonia and they consisted of 10 young people from each country. The Youth Exchange involved 30 young people aged 14 - 18 years: all three groups were composed of 5 persons with hearing impairment and 5 persons without disabilities, half of them- girls and half -boys. The activities were organized in such a way as to involve everyone, regardless of age, gender or disability. The project addressed young people eager to spend time outdoors, motivated to learn new things about tourist orientation, fishing techniques, hiking, recognition of flora and fauna, survival techniques and the international sign language. The outdoor activities in which the young people got involved were held on mixed groups, groups that changed from day to day so that participants could interact as much as possible. The activities were meant to increase their degree of tolerance, their knowledge of international sign language and their knowledge of the culture of deaf people. At the end of the exchange the participants improved/acquired: - knowledge and experience in communicating in sign language and knowledge about auditory disabilities; - communication skills in English and other languages (Romanian, Estonian, Turkish); - knowledge of different methods of non-formal education like energizers, team building, role play; - skills to work in an international team; - skills in managing the relationship with youngsters with special needs; - coordination skills, team skills, leadership skills; - they learnt what it means to bring a change in the environment where they live and they also developed the European and intercultural dimension; - participants also improved their social skills, networking skills, and they became more motivated to actively participate in the democratic life of Europe. We believe that by tackling this theme we made an important contribution to increasing social inclusion worldwide, promoting active citizenship and a healthy lifestyle.Through the activities implemented in this project, we explicitly promoted the concept of non-formal education and the concepts of diversity and multiculturalism.
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