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Content

  1. Preface
  2. Report from the board
  3. The sub regions
  4. Financial report
  5. Looking to the future
  6. Members of the Board as of December 31st 2007
  7. ICEVI-SUBREGIONS within Europe

1 Preface

This report is the first formal annual report of ICEVI-Europe.
On March 8th 2007 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the association of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment, European Region, was founded.

After more than 50 years the association now has a legal status.
This is not only important for the strategy that ICEVI-Europe will develop and the activities and internal matters which are involved; it is also important for the external links that ICEVI makes with colleague institutions for visually impaired people, national governments, and the European Union with its various committees.

This report aims to outline the activities of ICEVI Europe during 2007.

The Board would like to thank everyone, who has contributed to the realisation of the aims of ICEVI-Europe.

The board hopes that you will enjoy reading the report and we would be happy to receive your comments.

This report has been approved in the meeting of March 2008.

Huizen, the Netherlands, April 2008
On behalf of the Board,

Hans Welling
Chairman

2 Report from the board

In 2007 the Board had one meeting in Sevilla, Spain.

The internal structure of ICEVI-Europe, as well as the realisation of its aims, especially the exchange of knowledge and know-how, were matters for discussion.

Since ICEVI-Europe now has a formal status, some information materials could be made up.
At the end of 2007 the printer’s proofs of the flyer and the brochure were available.

The Board was pleased to be informed about the preparations for ‘Theory Meeting Practice’ - The European Conference on Early Intervention for Families with Children with Visual Impairment, Budapest (Hungary) in 2008; and also the European Conference 2009. The theme of this conference is ‘Living in a Changing Europe’.
This theme was chosen because Europe is changing in many fields, for visually impaired and blind people, as well as the professionals and their professional organisations.

Exchange of knowledge and know - how was a frequent topic during the fifth workshop on the training of teachers of the visually impaired in Bratislava – Slovakia.
Steve McCall and Mike McLinden lead the workshop. The central theme was:
‘Exploring the Role of Learner-Centered Instructional Approaches’. Twenty persons, mainly from central and eastern Europe took part.

In 2007 the website (www.icevi-europe.org) was enhanced and three newsletters were published.

Thoughts exist about organising a conference with representatives from several east European countries, to see in which way a training programme could be developed over several years.
At the end of 2007 no concrete plans were yet made.

During the report year, a working group of representatives from several European Universities in the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Denmark and Hungary had a meeting with the chairman of ICEVI-Europe in order to discuss the possibility of setting up a European Masters Degree for professionals who are working in the field of rehabilitation and education of people with a visual impairment.
The progress of this programme depends on the financial support of the European Union.
The Board also discussed in the meeting, the Target Group of ICEVI.
Historically ICEVI has aimed at professionals and professional organisations for the education and rehabilitation of children and young adults.
Recent developments in Europe necessitate a reconsideration of this.
The Board came to the conclusion that ICEVI should stand for International Council for the Rehabilitation and Education of people with Visual Impairment.
It would become an association of professionals and professional organisations, which offer support to people with visual impairments, regardless of age or other impairments.
Further discussion will take place within the Executive Committee of ICEVI-World.

3 The sub regions

Central Europe

In 2007 a teachers training workshop was run in Bratislava, Slovakia. In June 2007 the ICEVI Dublin Programme Committee met in Prague, Czech Republic.
Currently Terezie Hradilková and Krisztina Kovácz, representatives of ICEVI-Central Europe, have a share in the organization of a conference on Early Intervention – there have been three meetings so far, one in Budapest, and two in Grave, the Netherlands.
Regrettably there were no regional meetings and the contact persons did not meet in 2007, most contact persons are fully settled in their field of work and we communicate by email. It can be difficult to unite together, since each country from this sub-region is used to collaborating with partners from outside the sub-region.
Looking to the future: after their experience with workshops on early intervention, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands working together once again, have started to prepare an Early Intervention conference, from August 27-29 2008, in Budapest, Hungary.
Also we are preparing for the Dublin conference in 2009 – we are trying to share information on ICEVI – Europe with a view to getting people to come who can deliver lectures of a high level of quality.

Terezie Hradlikova

French speaking region

During the year 2007, the main objective was to consolidate the links established between the French speaking countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France). The organization of the Conference of November 2007 contributed to strengthen these links. Each contact person has been involved in this project to make it a success. The main topic of the conference was to think about evolution and change in the organisation of support for visual impairment in our countries.
The programme was structured as follows:
- 1st day: introduction by Hans Welling, presentation of the organisation in each country, point of view of some actors in the changes (associations of professionals, association of parents, institutions)
- 2nd day: presentation of new professional practices or European projects from each country
These two days were rich in information and exchange. The presentations were of good quality, very well prepared and always answering the formulated question. They provoked much discussion. We learned from each other and shared our knowledge and experiences.
This time of exchange was a way to rekindle interest in ICEVI and to make it better known. Approximately 40 people took part in this meeting. In addition to the participants from Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland; professionals from the French establishments (Nantes, Nancy, Yseure, Toulouse, Illzach, Villeurbanne, Ambarès, Plénée Jugond) came to Angers. The principal professional organizations in France: GPEAA (Group of teachers and educators), ALFPHV (Association of psychologists), FISAF (Federation of services and establishments) were included in the organisation and supported the project.

In France, the main action carried out was to act as a link between these different professional associations. After the participation in the conference of psychologists in Copenhagen in November 2006, the members of ALFPHV decided to commit the association to this European network. They want to have more exchange about their practice and to take part in the next meetings and workshops. The GPEAA continues to spread information about ICEVI to all its members and the FISAF (Federation of establishments and services) contributes to the dissemination of information about ICEVI by means of its network. Thus the main associations in the field of support for visually impaired children are connected to ICEVI.

In the French speaking countries, contact persons are now informed about ICEVI and able to diffuse more information to their colleagues. We hope that this will encourage French-speaking professionals to take part in future meetings and workshops and to make our voice heard in the field of visual impairment.

Catherine Thibault

German speaking region

In 2007 we published a discussion paper concerning inclusion, prepared in collaboration with Peter Rodney. This paper was announced in the ICEVI newsletter. We also translated it into German.
This topic is discussed a lot within organisations and institutions for people with visual impairments.
This topic will be a component at the VBS conference in Hannover 14th-18th July. Within the German speaking countries it is difficult to develop active structures. Most of the people and organisations look to the VBS (Federation of pedagogues for the education of the blind and visually impaired). It would make sense for the ICEVI Europe to work closely together with the VBS. Both organisations have the same platform and could help one another.

Karsten Hohler

Spanish speaking region

During the last term of 2007 there were several meetings in order to organize the I International Congress of Children, promoted by the World Blind Union, ICEVI International and ONCE. This event will be celebrated from June the 16th to the 20th, 2008. It is planned to have the attendance of 20 children from 14 to 16 years old from different countries all around the world. They will debate about education and visual disabilities.
A group of professionals from Chile have been trained in Spain for 15 days, in a programme supported by FOAL (Fundación ONCE para la solidaridad con personas ciegas de América Latina).
In October 2007 we were requested by ICEVI International to make a report about Cantaletras in order to say if it could be useful for ICEVI to use it in the EFAVI programme. Cantaletras is a software package designed for use in inclusive education, especially to teach blind children reading and writing skills. It’s a free, open source software that can be easily implemented in different languages and up till now around 400 teachers in South America have used it.
We have been in contact with Mr. Steve McCall in order to participate in research on procedures and policies in our country for producing accessible textbooks for children with visual impairment. One professional from our Resource Centre in Alicante has been appointed to take part in this research.
ONCE will continue promoting activities in its sub region and will try to improve contacts with Malta, Andorra, San Marino and Mónaco.

Juan Carlos Puig Costa

English Speaking Region

Preparations have been moving forward for the European conference in Dublin in 2009. As well as the hard work that has been going on in Dublin itself, William Stuart, from Ireland, and Mary Lee, from Scotland, attended the ICEVI programme committee meetings in Prague and Sevilla to discuss, with other European colleagues, the structure and outline of the conference. It promises to be a lively and interesting programme that will encourage participants to consider each topic within a variety of lecture, discussion and workshop formats.

Israel continues to keep the European committee up to date with the interesting and forward looking events that are taking place in the field of visual impairment in Israel.

Mary Lee

The Balkan Regions

The ICEVI representative for the Balkan regions visited Cyprus in November where she was involved in the organisation of a career awareness workshop for visually impaired youth and adults in all major cities (Lefkosia, Lemesos, Larnaka, etc.) under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. Compliments were given and it was decided to repeat this workshop once a year.

She also visited the Turkan Sabanzi School for the Blind in Turkey where she participated in the preparation of the 4th Balkan Conference. William Stewart has been invited to make an announcement about the European Conference in Dublin 2009.

In addition, the president of the European Disability Forum Mr Yannis Vardakastanis from Athens, would like to cooperate with ICEVI Europe.

Betty Leotsakou

East-European Region

Moldova, Georgia and Tajikistan are actively participating in the discussion of the EFAVI Group, within the global education campaign for visually impaired children.
There was a teacher training workshop in May in Bratislava, where experts from Russia, Georgia and Tajikistan participated. There we had a discussion with Hans Welling, President of ICEVI-Europe. Participants from Georgia and Tajikistan informed the group about the situation in their country, for the education of visually impaired people. Both of these countries are supposed to take part in the project EFA. It especially concerns Tajikistan, because, when this country gained independence, education for all became law. At this moment we are faced with the situation whereby Tajikistan wants to be a member of ICEVI-Europe, but in actual fact it is in the West-Asian region. Tajikistan has the same language as the other East-European countries and also has much in common with life, society and the environment with these countries; so Tajikistan is very welcome in the East-European Region.
The First International Art Festival for children with disabilities was held on 9-12-th March in St.Petersburg. This Festival was held with the kind support of ICEVI-Europe. About 200 participants took part, 97 participants were children with visual impairment. One of the main aims of the Festival was social inclusion and independence in the field of visual impairment.
The East-European Region and ICEVI-Europe are discussing a project that would involve carrying out several conferences on improving work in the field of vocational training and services for blind children. The plan is to share positive experiences and mistakes and to talk about methods for the improvement of this work.

Liliya Plastunova

The Baltic and Nordic Countries

News from Lithuania

In May of 2007 there was a meeting in our school, of representatives from all the special schools for blind and visually impaired children, from each of the Baltic countries. There was discussion on possible future collaboration between our institutions. For the near future a decision was taken to organize sports competitions every year (every alternate year in another country). Hopefully we will also be able to develop our collaboration in a better way with the Nordic countries. ICEVI are also working together with the ministry of education to promote inclusive education.

News from Denmark

We are reorganising our training programmes and trying to combine the diploma level with our O&M training. Additionally we are involved in the European Masters programme under the umbrella of ICEVI.

The RoboBraille programme is going very well. RoboBraille automates the translation of text documents into Braille and speech. The service is available free of charge to all non-commercial users. http://www1.robobraille.org/websites/acj/robobraille.nsf

News from Iceland

In the spring of 2007 the Government of Iceland decided to establish a resource centre and funded the first stage. A working group was formed. A Braille specialist and three teachers were hired, two qualified teachers for visually impaired students and one currently studying at the Teachers University in Birmingham. Four O&M and TDL instructors, currently studying in Dublin were also hired. The number of specialists working in the field has never been as high as now.

News from Estonia

In the spring of 2007, two students, one who is blind and the other with low vision, graduated from secondary school with highest results. They were rewarded with medals by the Estonian Ministry of Education.

News from Sweden

A new national authority is to be formed. On July 1st, 2008, the Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education and the National Agency for Special Schools for Deaf and Hard of Hearing will merge.

During the spring session the Parliament is expected to pass a bill on the re-establishment of special schools for children with visual impairment and additional disabilities (MDVI). In 2001 it was decided to close the special school at Ekeskolan in Örebro. However, all the students already attending the school were guaranteed to finish their education at the school. From that year new students were enrolled only on a temporary/short-time basis.

Peter Rodney

4 Financial report 2007

Balance
  31-12 2007 (EUR) 31-12 2006 (EUR)
Cash 16.024,24 4.245,39
Equity 16.024,24 4.245,39
Total - -
Profit and loss
  2007 (EUR) 2006 (EUR)
Income
Contributions 11.170,00 11.488,20
Interest - 9,20
Other income 2.284,31 -
TT workshop Bratislava 81,25 -
Total income 13.535,56 11.497,40
Expenditures
Website costs 1.044,15 1.093,88
Printing costs - 4.012,99
Travel and accommodation costs meetings 570,00 1.840,00
Postage costs 131,25 2.697,29
Bank costs 11,31 -
Total expenditures 1.756,71 9.644,16
Result 11.778,85 1.853,24
Estimate 2008
  2008 (EUR)
Income
Contributions 11.000,00
Interest -
Other income -
Total income 11.000,00
Expenditures
Website costs 1.500,00
Printing costs 4.000,00
Travel and accommodation costs meetings 2.000,00
Postage costs -
Bank costs -
ICEVI World 1.000,00
Total expenditures 8.500,00
Estimated result 2.500,00
Equity as of 31-12-2007 16.024,24
Available for other projects 18.524,24

5 Looking to the future

The sharing of knowledge in the field of the education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairment will be the most important activity of ICEVI-Europe in the future.

In March 2008 the 2nd European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment, Huizen (The Netherlands) will take place.

In August 2008 the European Conference on Early Intervention takes place in Budapest (Hungary) and in October 2008 the Balkan Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Preparations for the European Conference 2009 in Dublin have to be finalised.

In 2008 hopefully further steps can be taken concerning the realisation of a European Masters in Education for everyone who is working with people with a visual impairment.

Depending on the discussion in the EXCO of ICEVI-World, ICEVI-Europe will think further about how to address the needs of those who work with people with a visual impairment at an elderly age.

The Board is planning to organise a meeting in 2008 with some European organisations to strengthen the cooperation with them.

Perhaps the sub regions will be a point of further discussion.
Some west Asian countries would prefer to be with ICEVI-Europe rather than the sub region ICEVI West Asia.

Members of the Board as of December 31st 2006

Advisors

ICEVI-SUBREGIONS within Europe

Baltic and Nordic Countries

English speaking Countries.

French speaking Countries

German and Dutch speaking Countries

Central European Countries

East European Countries

Balkan Countries


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