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Members Voice: "We were given advice and guidance on real-world situations"

We hear from EASPD member Hand in Hand Foundation, about the success of their soon to finish EU project on strengthening the social acceptance of people and children with disabilities.

At the end of November, the Hungarian project Komplex Érzékenyítő Program (KÉP) or  "Shape!" - Sharing and adapting a complex sensitisation programme in the Central-European region in English will come to a close.  Hand in Hand Foundation in Hungary is the coordinator of project whilst the Comenius Pedagogical Institute in Slovakia and the Key – Association of Social Educators in Romania participated as partner organisations. During the 2-year project, we set a goal of strengthening the social acceptance of people and children with disabilities. Based on feedback and the number of participants, we succeeded! During the project we reached 1100 people; teachers, children and their parents took part; we introduced the professional materials developed in the project and involved them in the activities. KÉP was implemented thanks to the co-financing of the European Union's Erasmus+ programme.

We are proud to say that the cooperation of the partnership was successful even in the pandemic, we took the challenges arising from the continuous changes of situations and worked with them the best we could. We organised 3 trainings, which were attended by a total of 34 teachers from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. We were delighted that 2 of these trainings were carried out in person, thanks to the flexibility of the participating professionals, who did not regret spending their summer holidays learning and developing.

Educators have always been very positive about the trainings and said that they will certainly use the new knowledge in their daily work. As one of them put it: "We learned a lot, we were given advice and guidance on real-world situations." Several also stressed the need to meet and think together with teachers from other institutions so that they can learn from each other's cases and already gained experiences as a supportive community.

After the trainings, the participating teachers held disability sessions and project weeks in the local kindergartens and schools, in which 550 children participated. In the summer of 2021, we organised an Awareness-raising Fun Dayin all three countries, where parents could finally try out too sensitisation games and get acquainted with the world of people with disabilities. There was a huge amount of interest in the events, with a total of 517 people attending.

In the project we worked with teachers on a number of easy-to-use, readable materials that can be useful beyond the sensitisation training that provides the backbone of the KÉP. It is worth scrolling through the materials published soon on our website in connection with a sensitisation session, event or a parent consultation. Our goal was to develop a complex programme that helps all professionals to strengthen social acceptance at personal, professional and community level, all through practical examples and situations.

Materials will be available in Hungarian on the website below from January 2022. In case of interest toward the sensitisation programme, project partners are open to develop KÉP further and work with new partners in a future Erasmus+ project.

For more information, please visit http://www.kezenfogva.hu/kep

Author: MÓNIKA tÓTH, International Programme Manager at Hand in Hand Foundation, Hungary