We are aware that success brings responsibility. The opportunity for learning is in fact an opportunity to share our own knowledge and use it for the common good.
This year, the Giving Back to the Community initiative is focused on one organization, because this way we can contribute and achieve so much more and therefore this can result in a bigger and broader impact. Therefore, this year we will be focusing our business knowledge and experience on the IRIS Center for Education, Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Counselling for the Blind and Partially Sighted.
We will share our ideas and experiences with their students in order to empower them as equal members of society with equal opportunities, especially in the field of employment. Blind and partially sighted people are often deprived of work experience, identifying interests, career opportunities and capabilities. The IRIS Center, which is the only educational institution of its kind in Slovenia and offers customized education programs for blind and partially sighted children and adolescents, cannot provide real work experience, so working with employers is the right solution, and the experience is equally valuable to the companies.
The center operates a kindergarten, primary and secondary school and a boarding school. The programs include:
We get 80% of our information from the environment through vision, and this represents a significant obstacle to blind and partially sighted children. Therefore, the children learn, play and learn about the world, its features, phenomena and events differently. It is difficult to describe waves, a sailing sailboat, the crowd on a train, a slope at a ski area, a different type of cuisine, a museum exhibition, an office building, a work environment and similar things. We see it, we can imagine it, but the blind must recognize all this actively and directly through experience, by feeling, hearing, smelling or tasting it.
How can we participate:
1. Participation in the Career Fair for the blind and partially sighted
The Career Fair is aimed at informing the blind and partially sighted about work opportunities (interviews, presentations, etc.) as well as giving employers the opportunity to find out more about the blind and partially sighted and their abilities.
2. Sponsoring work experience for a day
Enabling a blind or partially sighted pupil/student to spend one day at work with the help of a mentor.
3. Helping to develop a business plan for the opening of a multipurpose facility, which would provide an opportunity to gain work experience and to develop business ideas
The multipurpose facility would allow the implementation of various programs for students with visual impairment and additional disabilities. The multipurpose facility could serve as a shop with products made by the blind and visually impaired, it could offer tourism products (experiential tourism – dinner in the dark, hostel, etc.) and a place where young people could develop their career plans. The shop would also offer work experience for blind and partially sighted students.
Anyone who would like to contribute to any of the proposed suggestions please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +386 (0)51/363 363 for more information.
Blind and partially sighted people want to work and be active members of society. They are often unable to do many things because of their visual impairment, which does not mean that they are incapable of doing those things. Just think about how you would feel if you lost your vision overnight. Are we less capable than we were the day before or do we just need an environment that understands and supports us? We want to create an understanding environment with mutual cooperation.
Katjuša Koprivnikar, Principal of the IRIS Center