On July 22, the final webinar of the School of Inclusive Volunteering was held, which trained more than 85 participants from non-profit and volunteer organizations in Egypt, as well as people with and without disabilities interested in developing an inclusive culture. The broadcast of each webinar on social networks was watched by another 250 people. The purpose of the School was to train participants in volunteer activities, in particular, to conduct inclusive socio-cultural events aimed at including people with disabilities and representatives of other socially excluded groups in society.

The training program included four webinars, each of which was aimed at revealing a specific topic. 14 professional speakers from Belgium, Egypt, Russia, Germany and Latvia shared their experience and gave practical advice on creating and promoting inclusive volunteer projects. The webinars were planned to tell the participants about creating volunteer inclusive projects from idea to implementation. The webinars were in English and Arabic, and each translation was provided by volunteer translators from Egypt. Sign translation was organized for deaf participants.

At the presentation of the School on July 1, speakers and organizers talked about how training at the School will take place, which means inclusion, shared their personal stories in this area and inspired participants to work with inclusion (https://youtu.be/wMaKyuEPWQI)

At the first webinar on July 13, “Volunteering as a form of public activity of citizens,” they talked about inclusion in general and about possible ideas for projects that are needed and relevant now for volunteering in the field of inclusion. Speakers Oleg Kolpashchikov, Head of the Inclusive Tourism Commission of the Sverdlovsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society, organizer of the First World Congress of Persons with Disabilities, President of ANO “White Cane”, Patrick Modave – consultant on organizing sports and leisure for people with disabilities, representative of the “Armenian Camp” in Belgium and Islam Abuali – para-swimming champion in Arab and African countries, motivational speaker, triathlete shared their stories of working with people with disabilities and experience of organizing volunteering (https://youtu.be/37NHYsP1LEA)

At the second webinar on July 16, the school participants plunged into two important topics – raising funds for projects (fundraising, interaction with partners, Pro bono services) and submitting the project to the audience (managing social networks, attracting new volunteers, interacting with the audience). The speakers talked about how social networks are used during the coronavirus period and what social projects they have come up with in isolation! Colette Freg Haggara, one of the founders of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, a consultant to the Alexandria Library Art Center, owner of a dance and fitness studio, shared her experience. Aryuna Soktueva, a deaf-blind girl from the capital of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, told how she became a volunteer guide in her dialect and throughout Eastern Siberia. And Dmitry Cheshev, a blogger from Russia, a person with a disability, shared his experience of using different social networks to work with the audience. (https://youtu.be/h7Rsp0NoPSE).

“Volunteering opportunities for people with disabilities is a great initiative that is so necessary in our country, where people with disabilities do not participate in volunteering. The benefits of volunteering for people with disabilities and their inclusion as individuals without disabilities are endless, like pride, skill development, empowerment and social interaction. From what I heard from speaking with the speakers during our webinar, non-disability volunteers who work with people with disabilities see positive changes in relationships and strengthen their social interactions.

It is my hope that the School of Inclusive Volunteering will foster the participation of people with disabilities in volunteering and explore the constraints they face, such as discriminatory attitudes that view people with disabilities as passive. We must start by realizing, changing the vision of disability; volunteering is a tool ”- the speaker Collette Freg shared her opinion.

The third webinar on July 20 was devoted to the basics of project management, creating your own inclusive social project and examples of inclusive projects in sports and tourism. Speakers from Russia, Latvia and Egypt, using their own examples, talked about how to manage the project. Renat Anpilogov, a businessman, creator and head of the Globe4all service, an international information project about affordable tourism and travel without barriers, shared his experience in creating a platform for affordable tourism. Victoria Dikhor is a clinical psychologist, psychologist at the First World Congress of Disabled People, teacher-psychologist at the Center for Inclusive Education of the Ural Federal University, senior lecturer at the Institute of Physical Culture, Sports and Youth Policy of the Ural Federal University, author of textbooks, scientific articles and head of research groups on working with people with disabilities. Nada Tabet is a Public Speaker, Founder of the Village of Hope for Development and Rehabilitation of People with Intellectual Disabilities in Alexandria. (https://youtu.be/PKUJ0tnVVyg)

The final webinar was held on July 22, where speakers and participants summed up a short summary of the School and sorted out the topic of organizing social and cultural events, talked about how to hold inclusion days and organize large inclusive events with the participation of different social groups. Vera Simakova is the head of the Blagoe Delo non-profit organization, Thomas Kraus is the initiator of the international movement for organizing congresses with the participation of people with disabilities, Anna Mirkina is a public figure, the finalist of the Russian Cup and the Cup of Continents 2019, a member of the Russian Paralympic wheelchair dancing team and Vlada Khmelevska is a sociologist, musician and one of the active members of the “Extrability Latvia” organization. Professionals in the field of organizing inclusive events spoke about their steps in the implementation of inclusive projects. (https://youtu.be/cFH2yxS9jqo)

“One of my friends told me about this School and I decided to participate because I enjoy working with people with special needs. In fact, inclusion is very important because people with disabilities need to participate in “everyday” life like others. I want and will work on inclusive projects. Egypt is very different from Russia in this regard, it seems to me that here people with disabilities go to special schools and colleges, where they can participate in many special events, but they miss a lot of things outside these schools, ”said a webinar participant, Somai is a speech therapist , a master’s student in speech therapy.

The training webinars are over, but there is still a competition of projects ahead, which the school participants must prepare on their own with the support of the organizers and speakers. Projects will participate in the competition, the winners (two representatives from Egypt) will take part in the IV Russian Congress of People with Disabilities from villages and small towns in the village. Kinel-Cherkasy in September 2020. It is the largest village in Russia with a developed inclusive culture. All students at the School will receive certificates of completion of the course. Activists of the School of Inclusive Volunteering will take part in the annual Sails of the Spirit expedition to the Mediterranean in September 2020.

“I learned about the School for Inclusive Volunteering through Claire Malik, who was the sign language interpreter for this project. Me and a few of my friends were interested. I love the very idea of ​​inclusive volunteering. I would like to start a project, but I don’t understand how I can help, so I will need help, ”said John Emad, a deaf school participant and artist.

Thank you for supporting the project of partners in Egypt: Rotary Club of Alexandria “Cosmopolitan”, “Village of Hope for the Development and Rehabilitation of People with Intellectual Disabilities” (VHDRPID). We also express our gratitude to the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom and the Rossotrudnichestvo agency, the Ural Federal University, the Ural State Pedagogical University, the Globe4all project, the Institute for Management Design and Competitive Strategies.

The school is represented by the best teachers in Russia and abroad with vast experience in preparing social projects in inclusion.

Let us remind you that the School for Inclusive Volunteering is a project implemented with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund of the President of the Russian Federation.

School participants map: