On 15 January, the European Disability Forum organised a webinar on the European Commission’s “DiscoverEU” programme. The following topics were discussed: what the project is about, what are requirements of participation and you get to know the opinions of people who have already participated in the “DiscoverEU” programme.
Moving on to concretes. The aforementioned project has started in 2018. It is address to young people, more specifically of 18 years old. Participants receive a travel-pass, which allows them to travel by rail throughout the European Union countries. Traveling is not everything. Thanks to this project, young people can broaden their knowledge about the culture of European countries, meet new people and improve their language skills.
What about people who need a support of others because of their disabilites? This problem has been solved as well. While filling an application form to the project, it is possible to determine what kind of help you will need. Then we can get an extra travel-pass for our assistant or some other kind of help in special cases.
The last three rounds of the project involved a particular number of people: Round 1 (15,000), Round 2 (15,000), Round 3 (20,000). Including people who needed additional help in the first round there were 30, in the second round 101 and in the third round 110. in fact, the majority of those declaring special needs actually managed themselves. However, there are stories like Javier’s. Javier is a boy who moves in a wheelchair, he can’t talk either. This does not mean that he cannot participate in the project. Along with three assistants, he was able to explore Netherlands which was his dream. Such cases show that there are no barriers in this project and anyone can benefit.
So this project is an amazing opportunity for young people. The surveys carried out after completion show that most people are satisfied with their travels. Over half of the people declare that they have increased their foreign language skills, and as many as 37% still maintain contact with people they met during the project. If you’re under 18 or over, you don’t have to worry because a very similar project has been announced for people between 13 and 30 years old in 2021.
If you would like to watch whole webinar click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlQN1eN5Vvg&t=1797s