The project was a part of the EU-financed (and co-financed by DVV International) initiative “Learn to act”.
20.08.2019

Strengthening financial independence of visually impaired individuals

Education and lifelong learning can ensure the wellbeing of people in different circumstances and with different needs. The EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2019 participant, project “Learn to manage finances by ourselves” in Belarus, explored the opportunities of teaching visually impaired people a range of ICT skills for them to become more independent, experience learning in a safe and friendly atmosphere, and realize the value of constant self-development. Besides that, the project had an essential impact on the image of disabled people in Belarussian society. In the interview, Mikhail Antonenko, the head of the Centre of Successful People in Minsk, briefly talks about the project and its outcomes.

What was the main idea of the project?

“The main goal of the project was to promote the inclusion of visually impaired people in the educational process in the sphere of modern computer technologies and to create conditions for independent use of modern banking tools.”

The project goal was achieved through educational seminars, where participants used guiding materials based on a tactile writing system of Braille and on the audio functions of mobile banking applications

During the project, 8 seminars in 6 different regions of Belarus were organized. I myself organized the seminars, as well as a trainer Alexandr Severin, and both of us, despite visual impairment, lead a successful and fulfilling life.

This is also the peculiarity of our project, when blind people become adult trainers themselves and prove that people with sight disabilities can live independently and get lifelong education.

What did the project achieve?

“As a result of the project, blind people were able to use mobile banking applications without visual control and were able to perform banking operations independently using the functionality of their mobile phones. The acquired skills helped to improve the life quality of blind people, their independence from others, as well as increased the financial literacy of the project participants. The banking providers learned about the needs of their new customers and took steps to adapt mobile banking applications for the blind.”

Among other skills, participants learned how to carry out transactions, open accounts, control cash flow and expenses

What was the best practice of the project?

“This project demonstrated new forms and methods of work on inclusion of visually impaired people in the society using adaptive financial instruments and engaging all the stakeholders in the educational process: adult learners, state authorities and commercial banks. The project had an impact on the integration processes that began in Belarus when the country joined the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and became an important indicator of how a small initiative can turn into a catalyst for major changes in the future. We have made the first steps to transform the public’s consciousness towards people with disabilities and have demonstrated the importance of education in the lives of blind and visually impaired people. We gained valuable experience in teamwork and were able to implement the principle of peer-to-peer education.”

 Learning to manage finances by ourselves

  • Category: National projects
  • Coordinator: Centre of Successful People
  • Country: Belarus
  • Focus: people with visual impairment
  • Life skills approach: integration of disabled individuals into learning
  • Resources: website of the centre with materials and articles

Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: the Centre of Successful People

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Innovative methodology includes learners in meaning-making

"The change is in the simple things like finding laughter again, doing family shopping, going back to work, being part of a group where once they were hermits." - says Alice McDonnel about the impact of "Self-care and well-being" project, which participated in Grundtvig Award 2019 on Life Skills, on the participants. The idea of the initiative is underpinned by principles of co-production, mutual trust, and empathy. In the following interview, Alice tells more about the experience.