Our learning


What we did....

Our partnership of three organisations involved in the lives of people who have labels of learning disabilities worked very well together. Each organisation recruited local adult learners who had learning disabilities and one or two staff members and they travelled in small groups to meet together with the partners at various events.

There were 5 events, two in Czech Republic, two in Slovakia and one in Scotland. Translation was available in each event except the second event in Slovakia where communication was in Czech and Slovak. Each event involved a stay in the location of 4/5 nights with a range of formal and informal activities that everyone could participate in- ranging from conferences, visiting people in their own homes, participating in a street demonstration, meals together, games together, concerts, dancing local dances, street events, mountain climbing, group meetings, deep discussions, visits to Institutions and other living/working arrangements for people with learning disabilities. All travel within the country visited was on public transport.

What we learnt

The learning was fantastic. During the events we learned about each others cultures, as well as the similarities and differences in our services to people with disabilities. All of the adult learners from each partner country thought hard about each activity, discussed questions to ask and asked them of staff in institutions, other people with disabilities, local people, colleagues and each other, all as part of trying to understand what ordinary life meant for each of the people they met.

Because staff and learners travelled together, stayed in the same places, ate together and participated in the same activities all of the group got to know each other well and learned more about ordinary lives for the people in their own countries as well as the partner countries. There were opportunities to have full discussions about what makes the content of an ordinary life and how to meet the challenges raised. People participating overcame many challenges to participate in the project and for many their participation was life changing.

After returning from the mobility event the adult learners shared their experiences with others in their locality or neighbourhood  informally and formally in different ways and the discussion continued when events took place in their own countries with the learning deepening over time. A key learning was that "our stories are similar we (people with learning disabilities) have common issues in that other people may not take us seriously or listen to us properly or notice our wisdom and the contributions we can make and our way of seeing the world is not valued but in different part of Europe some people are working and living in their own homes and have active ordinary lives while in other areas there are people who are just the same but are having to live in institutions."

Each of our organisations has learned many important things from each other and each of us left the project with an idea s from its partners that we would like to put into practice in our own country. 

The adult learners all gained confidence in themselves and their abilities, everyone took the task extremely seriously and really applied themselves to the visits, the learning and the dissemination. At the same time we all had tremendous fun with each other and friendships and connections were made that people will always remember and some of them will endure.

See the videos page for more information on each set of meetings and what was learnt there.