Center for Inclusive Education in partnership with DISES organized roundtable “Including all children in a changing world” from June 25 to 30, 2017 in Sofia. Professionals from 5 continents shraed their experience in the following broad areas:
- Innovative and collaborative pedagogical practices for educators working in challenging global environments
- Advocacy and policy development in support of the human rights of special needs populations and their families
- Research and scholarship in international special needs and inclusive education
- The school in Teteven was located on a hill and the streets of this small mountain town were narrow thus making the access by 50-seats bus impossible. It was necessary to reach it on foot from the city centre which would cause difficulties to the elder participants.
- Most of the participants were US citizens with multiple food preferences.
- The hot weather at the end of June caused discomfort to all American delegates who are used to much more powerful air-conditioning.
- The visit to a Roma Centre in Filipovtzi Living District in Sofia and the need to guarantee the safety of the foreign delegates were a real challenge.
- The programme included an excursion to Vitosha Mountain with trekking and the participants had different physical abilities and training.
- We organized a visit to the school in Teteven several months before the event in order to get familiar with its location and the options for participants to reach it from the centre of the town. We decided to use a minibus to take the elder ones and those with difficulties in walking directly to the building, twice if necessary. We chose a pleasant and quick route for the others as a walk from the centre to the school.
- Our online platform for registration has a Special Dietary Requirements field for participants to fill in. Thus we were able to gather all the information in advance. When making the menus we took all needs and preferences in mind, we prepared multiple food options and established a system to differentiate people with specific needs which worked perfectly. All participants were highly impressed.
- We chose working halls in the hotel and transport vehicles with powerful air-conditioning so that all requirements of the American participants for low temperatures in the summer were fulfilled.
- We did a special briefing regarding the behavior of non-Bulgarian participants in the Roma District. During the tour around the houses we all moved as a group, taking photos was not allowed as well. We were accompanied by psychologists familiar with the peculiarities of the ethnos and who work with youths and families from the neighborhood.
- We hired professional mountain guides for the excursion in Vitosha Mountain. We developed in advance two types of itineraries – one easier and one more difficult depending on people’s abilities. Upon arrival at the starting point we divided people into two groups according to our preliminary plan. At the end of the trekking all participants were extremely delighted by the walk and the shared beauty of the mountain.
The event was a great success. Please convey my thanks, appreciation, and admiration to your entire staff.
Tom Gumpel, DISES Executive Director
I hope you all are appreciating the wonderful event our team pulled off. I am so grateful to have had you all by my side.
Dr. Eileen Raymond, DISES Past President
You did a great job at the same time efficient and human. Thank you again!
David Rodrigues, University of Lisboa