Let's start! Our first Transnational Meeting in Budapest
Our project has been running with Polish and Greek partner organizations since June 2019 to create a common, experience-based, non-formal learning methodology based on our techniques used in the Sign Language Playground: the background and goals of the project are presented in more detail here.
It is a great challenge and exciting task to manage and organize such a large-scale project, especially for the first time we are involved in an international project. Deep water, no doubt - but it feels great to swim in this deep water with partners who are familiar with routine European projects, from whom we receive tremendous help and support, both professionally and humanly.
The first face-to-face meeting was preceded by many online discussions and consultations, and in the first week of November, teams from Polish and Greek organizations arrived in Budapest for a four-day meeting with intensive training and a super-comfortable MagNet Community House. What was our goal? It is primarily about getting to know each other and agreeing in person on the framework, working methods and objectives within which we want to operate the project.
What is the ultimate goal of our project? Creating a methodology and training material to provide an international youth mobility program in the first week of September 2020, in which deaf and hearing young people learn about their rights and opportunities in a nonformal, free, integrated and democratic environment. At the first meeting, we aimed to create the first 15 activities of the planned methodology and training material.
In the preparatory phase of the meeting, we started working together with the activities used by the JEL Foundation. We pre-selected 20 activities, analyzed them as the main points along which we need to adapt them (language barrier/lack of hearing/other accessibility problem; interpretable/uninterpretable; age group; integrated/segregated group; role of trainer and co-trainer, etc.). The games were presented, tested together, and then the members of the multilingual, multi-hearing team commented, we formed the activities based on the above aspects, and then we analyzed and collected together what competencies the given exercise allows to develop. This process took place in intensive, active, experiential collaboration. As a result, we managed to deal with 18 non-formal games / activities during the meeting and record them in such a way that they can be tried and tested in the countries of the organizations with young participants.
The meeting took place in a very good mood, which was based on the fact that we were able to cooperate very well already in the preparatory phase, this is also true for our new partner, who is already experienced in running Erasmus + programs. On the first day, we had to jump on the challenge that the participants are multilingual and have different hearing states, while the program itself is conducted in English, which is a foreign language for all participants. This was assisted by participant and external sign language interpreters, who translated the spoken English into Hungarian, Greek and Polish sign language for the hearing impaired participants, so that 3 interpreters worked at the same time throughout the meeting.
Deaf participants of different nationalities used international sign language among themselves. This linguistic diversity and the constant pursuit of accessibility have resulted in a very exciting and open atmosphere from the very first moment. The partners are well versed in the world of working with young people and non-formal education, so there was no need for long consultation, a common working language and method were soon put together that we were able to work very effectively with, despite the many aspects and needs to keep in mind. The joint professional work was fast and active, this was emphasized by everyone in the joint evaluation.
We look forward to the next meeting in Warsaw in February 2020, where we will adapt the nonformal methodology of our Polish partner PZG OPOLE! :)