At Wednesday 23 November we started with a icebreaker: Everyone shows their national dance and the other participants follow. We had fun, although not every country has a well known national dance.

In the morning we had input from expert Simona Giarratano from European Disability Forum speaking about UN CRPD, the EU Disability Strategy and she told us about the basic tools we can you use for lobbying, advocacy and raising awareness.
When doing this, is it very important to know for about Whom the message is, Why you have this message, What the message means and How you want to deliver it.

Presentation was followed by group work session to find a solution for real-life  problems in application of one article from the Human Rights convention. My group had chosen for Education (article 2 of the CRPD). One other group had chosen education too, another two groups were working on employment. In these areas there are problems that hard of hearing people needs to deal with every day, these two very important things make or destroy one’s life.

Advocacy group proudly presents their poster

During lunch break we searched for shop with some personal products. We knew we needed to walk for a minimum of 20 minutes to find it, so we ate or lunch very fast so we have had more than a hour to do what we were needed to. Unfortunately in France shops are closing during lunch time … We found after long research a pharmacy that could help, but on that moment we knew: we would be late.

Back in the youth centre we went on with talking about mass communication for awareness raising. I didn’t like this subject, because it felt like nothing new for me. This part of day wasn’t that interesting because many things I already knew about, but on the upside I had a lot of examples to share and help the others.

On the wall next to Sabine - plenty of success stories

We ate by the international coffee break very nice and sweet Turkish food. Then we had been deeper into the subject: we needed to present our success stories in 60 second in a presentations. The most wonderful success story was of Angkie Yudistia , she wrote a book about her life as “the deaf girl without limits”. Everyone received its freshly printed translation in English! That is something absolutely special and I admire what she just done with her life, it’s impressed me a lot. I was the only one who refuse to present my success stories, because I wasn’t confident enough to stand in the front of the group and feeling all the pair eyes following me.

After end of the workshops at 6 pm we had a feedback group: everyone in mine was quite positive about the day, the organization and about indispensable work of the team members.

After dinner we came together: this night is all about your organization and country. So we learned some interesting facts about all these different countries and people.

One of the "bees" searching for most interesting facts from different countries

Did you know that there is a tradition in Turkey that when a stranger is knocking on the door, that they have to let this person be in their house for three days? Or that men throw cold water on their women in the Easter in Slovakia because they believe it will keep them healthy and beautiful?! I did not know about that either, but now I will hardly ever forget it.

By Sara Kwekkeboom. Photos by Paulina Lewandowska.