PENS students for inclusion
As shown by the estimates of the European Commission in its “European Disability Strategy 2010-2020”, the number of Europeans with disabilities is considerably increasing and many young disabled people in Europe have to face daily negative social experiences such as: hostility, bullying, social invisibility and approaches that tend to focus only on helping rather than empowering, without creating the conditions to allow people with disabilities to realize their full potential. To face these challenges, we believe it is necessary to sensitize young people to new thinking patterns towards disability, by involving them in innovative educational paths, to question their own prejudices and to break down the most common stereotypes on disability in order to create a more inclusive and supportive society.
The project "PENS - students for inclusion” has been created within this framework: by writing the review of performance with disabled and non-disabled dancers, 80 students from the secondary schools of Bologna, led by their teachers after the completion of a non-formal education training, they will be able to use their most precious weapons, pens, to write against handifobia and to fight for the inclusion of disabled people in their communities. Thanks to the organization of a competition set up by ESC volunteers, all the teachers of Italian language and literature of the secondary schools of Bologna will be invited to take part to a non-formal education training on the theme of inclusion of disabled people through the perspective of Art, in particular dance, led by choreographer Anna Albertarelli who works with groups of disabled and non-disabled dancers. After the training, teachers will hold a workshop in their classrooms using the tools provided by the coach to help students deconstruct their stereotypes on disability and invite them to write a review of an integrated dance performance. The reviews will be evaluated by a journalist, who will select the three best reviews and reward the winners during the final event that will take place in June 2021, during which students will be able to attend a live performance with disabled and non-disabled dancers.
The main goals of PENS project are:
1. increase in the knowledge on disability and an increased sensitivity to solidary inclusion among students and teachers to fight the social invisibility of this issue, to boost integration of disabled groups and to develop new thinking patterns towards disability.
2. increase in the volunteers’ knowledge on organizing non-formal education trainings for schools, to improve their technical and organizational skills both on the human side and their civic commitment.
3. improvement of students’ critical skills through an innovative model of non-formal education that aims at eliminating the most common stereotypes about disability, to fight against discrimination and by increasing the sense of solidarity of the local community to build a society more careful about everyone’s needs.