ITALIAN “PILGRIMS” IN BELGIUM – 23 -27th of September 2019

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”Henry David Thoreau

“Traveling is useful if you can experience new habits: different traditions, different food…traveling means the capacity to adapt to new housing situations and find new strategies that help you overcome the difficulties. The participants activated the capacity to face unexpected situations, like it happened with the flight cancellation.”, said the educators from IRPEA Foundation after the return from Belgium.

Both Italian partners, Fondazione IRPEA and Associazione C’entro participated to the exchange week in Belgium, hosted by the team of ANDAGE in the area of Charleroi, Arville and Daverdisse villages.

The first destination of the mixed groups: Bruxelles, the heart of Europe! Then a visit in the rural area, by Fourneau Saint -Michel, to the “Iron Museum”, together with another group of people with disabilities form the Saja de Aye daily center.

While the professionals met for a common reflection of thematics linked to the autonomous life of the persons with disabilities, the two groups of participants had an unofficial “coffee contest”, comparing the Belgian coffee to Italian one…without declaring the winner, with a spirit of absolute “fair play”!

The moments of leisure accompanied the more intense ones, like the visit to the MUDIA Interactive Museum.

The mobility week ended with a visit to a symbolic place, with a high historical value: the Boiz du Cazier coal mine in Marcinelle, close to Charleroi, unfortunately known as the site of the mining disaster form the 8th of August 1956, where 252 men died inside. Among them, numerous Italian immigrants. Making the visit together with the Belgian friends reminds all of us the recent history of our old Europe, where all of us need to be hosted and to host in turn.

The farewell was not easy, but both Italian and Belgian groups come out of this experience with a wider understanding of local and national values and the desire to engage in new travel experiences.

THE FRENCH GROUP IN CROATIA 5th to 12th of June 2019

It was a very pleasant and interesting experience both for the hosting professionals and for our beneficiaries. The French beneficiaries are very sociable and adaptable. The professionals had a chance to learn a lot from guest professionals regarding the French social system. Hosting beneficiaries were very happy to host the guests and to show them the City of Pula and it’s surroundings. The communication was very spontaneous.

These are the words of the Coordinator of the Croatian team from Vila Maria, Tina Načinović. This positive feedback highlights the importance of this type of opportunity both for the persons with disabilities and for the professionals working with them. The possibility to experience directly the places, the tastes, the smells, the habits of a new country has an enormous educational value.

But when we speak about the right to have access to art, to beauty, we always keep in mind the need to educate people in this pathway. And to the educational part the leisure aspect is also precious. The rich Program proposed by the team of Vila Maria combined all these elements, offering to the French participants opportunities of cultural and culinary experiences, light-heartedness moments and guided training contexts.

CROATIAN GROUP IN BELGIUM – 29th of July-2nd of August 2019

Between the 29th of July and the 2nd of August 20219, the Croatian group from Vila Maria, Pula, was hosted in France, at Morcenx, by the group of Caminante.

The Program proposed by the hosts was extremely diverse, combining visits to the museums with lunch and dinner time in particular places that all the participants enjoyed, like the picnic at the water mirror and the night market.

The French and Croatian professionals accompanying the 2 groups had two moments dedicated to the exchange between them, giving them the opportunity to reflect on the activities planned and on the overall objectives of CHARME Project.

The trip to France was highly professional and interestingly organized. They did a great job presenting the area we were in. The colleagues were extremely kind and charming. They showed us many interesting places and introduced us to the tradition, culture, cuisine and sport of the province.

Our beneficiaries were very delighted with the host’s acceptance and good communication despite language barriers. The week was filled with many different activities. The beneficiaries were a little tired, but also very happy because they had a chance to visit and get to know a part of France“, says the Coordinator of the Croatian team, Tina Načinović.

CROATIA IN ROMANIA, 15-19th of April 2019

Hosted by the partner DGASPC from the IASI County, between the 15th and the 19th of April the Croatian group from VILLA MARIA, Pula, made its mobility to Romania in Hirlau, close to the city of Iasi, in the Romanian region of Moldova.

The host partner prepared with care and enthusiasm the welcoming of the Croatian group made of persons with mental disabilities and their educators. The Program proposed was very rich and diverse, combining the cultural activities with breaks and moments of pure relax.

The activities varies from the bakery of Revis, employing persons with disabilities, to the visits in the historical city of Iasi (the Ethnographic Museum, the famous churches), the Wine Museum of Hirlau, to the encounter with the Romanian traditional music, dances and food. The religious and intercultural aspects characterizing that specific Romanian region were experimented through the involvement of a local Orthodox priest.

“Our beneficiaries were very satisfied and happy even though the trip was very long. We traveled from Pula to Bucharest by plane and then took the bus to Hirlau. We visited the city of Iasi including churches and museums. We also visited Hirlau. They prepared a cultural program for us and creative workshops. There were some tears during the goodbye”, said Tina, the project coordinator of the Croatian partner Villa Maria.

Second Mobility – Belgium goes to Italy – Padua, 25-29th of March 2019

From the 25th to the 29th of March the second mobility of CHARME project will take place: the Belgian group of Ass. Andage will be hosted for one week in Padua, Italy, by Fondazione IRPEA. The artistic and cultural program is very rich, including a visit to Venice, visits to the main squares and famous churches in Padua, exchanges between professionals, but also simple everyday moments – an evening party, a rugby match, musical games together.


Feedback from IRPEA Foundation

The exchange with Foyer residence of CAMINANTE from Morcenx was a very interesting experience. After few hours from the arrival by plane, we arrived in a completely new dimension: the language, the places, the habits, the food, the perfumes. But despite this diversity, the warmth of the welcoming made us feel at home.
For five days we lived together with the persons from the Foyer, dividing not only the physical spaces of the community, but also the emotions, the experiences, the smiles, the laughing, the music.
We are grateful to the host partner and to the persons directly involved for the way they organized the moments together, the excursions, the visits and the exchanges. But we are also grateful to the persons living by Caminante’s community, as they accompanied and kept us company in this unique experience, opening their home to us.

Luisa: The voyage to France went all well, I liked everything. I am very glad. I liked taking the plane, it was the first time for me. I would like to have the chance to go back there.

Carlo: The trip by plane was nice, I had fun. I also liked the chocolat, that is the chocolate; I liked touching the ocean’s water. I really had fun”.


IRPEA Foundation and Associazione C’ENTRO from Italy hosted in Morcenx by Association CAMINANTE

Feeback from the Educators of Ass. CENTRO

The mobility to France involved 5 persons with disabilities and 2 educators form IRPEA, and 2 educators from C’entro.
We were welcomed by a group of disabled persons who live by the Residence Catillon managed by Association Caminante, together with 3 of their educators.
They accompanied us during this pathway of visits and places specific for their area:
CAPBRETON, a touristic small city on the Atlantic Ocean, where we had a tasting of oysters and typical products, by the Hossegor Lake.
In DAX, a Roman thermal small city, we visited the Cathedral, the old city and the thermal fountain. Here we also tasted the Madeleines, typical French sweets, which were born right in DAX!
ATELIER of Chocolate in Bayonne was the occasion to have a visit to the Museum, where we were told about the chocolate’s birth and the processing.
The Biarritz Acquario was another pleasant and interesting experience.

These mobility days allowed us to share the daily life with all the persons who live by Castillon residence, from the breakfast to the dinner, from the evenings spent to play cards or to dance, to simple moments shared between us.
Two half days were dedicated to an exchange between all the educators involved: we were told about the structure of the host partner, about the type of organization Caminante is, and we learned about their educational approach and planning. The Italian educators shared the same information regarding their home organizations.

The welcoming was amazing, the French colleagues paid attention to all the details: we had a detailed daily program, calculated and made in order to respect the rhythm of all the participants, sustainable for all of us.
We perceived a lot of opening towards us, the desire to stay together and to confront with each other, beyond all the language barriers: we spoke some French, some English, some Spanish and Italian, in a language mixture which allowed us to understand each other very well.
The persons with disability, both Italian and French, got along well and felt at ease together, showing a high level of integration capacities and demonstrating that communication and the desire to stay together go beyond a linguistic aspect.
We noticed that the context of the residence is very well organized, built around the person’s needs and dreams: a context organized by rules, but with the possibility to choose and decide, therefore full of tranquility.
We had a really good time: it was an enriching professional experience, but mainly a human experience of fullness and sharing.

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