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Workshop n. 2




Reporter: Tanya Kuderova (CIF Czech Republic)

 The purpose of this workshop was to make a comparison and an exchange of different experiences and practise in various countries in their relation with people with special needs. There was a need to focus on the distinction in the various countries as far as the legislation, policy and practise in the care for such people.

Due to the limitation of time, the issue was addressed mainly from a point of view of the education of children with special needs, both in the mainstream model and special education within special schools.

Integration or inclusion of children with special needs in mainstream schools was agreed to be an important but but also demanding, specific and delicate process. Much attention was given to the problem on how to make the integration successful, as well as the necessity of making the right decision about the child’s placement itself.

During the workshop there were two reports describing the present situation and also an historical overview of care for the disabled in Slovenia and Italy.

One could see that in some countries there has been a long tradition of integration which leads to an approach of total integration. The special schools in these countries have been mostly closed down and nowadays nearly everybody is educated within a mainstream school (i.e. Austria, Italy, Norway, Sweden).

On the contrary, there is a long tradition of education in special schools in other countries, where integration has been defined “silent integration”. Here (e.g. Slovenia, Czech Republic) the period of “official integration” has started quite recently.

In the workshop there were also two case-studies presented.

The workshop formulated a discussion on a number of issues, as follows:

·         No matter where the child is educated, it is necessary to fulfil his/her special needs;

·         Integration should start as early as possible;

·         Curriculum – its requirements and a possibility of its reduction;

·         Segregated education of teachers for special schools (children with special needs) and teachers for mainstream schools;

·         Lack of special equipment;

·         Integration from the point of view of “non- handicapped” population;

·         Parental involvement and organizations.


The workshop concluded that:

·         The respect for each individuality is a must;

·         In the case of integration there should be another teacher in the classroom and the number of pupils should be reduced;

·         It is also necessary to take into consideration a situation that particular school;

·         The majority felt that there should be a choice: You need a variety of possibilities, as a complete integration isn’t necessarily beneficial for all children with special needs. For these children we have to find more acceptable forms of  intervention to help them integrate, such as special units in regular schools or weekly visits to mainstream schools, reciprocal or two sided inclusions, etc..

              As long as there is a positive result that helps the child, even a partial integration could be an answer.



Workshop n. 4



Reporter: Carole Beck


Our group focused attention on an aspect of Multicultural Education seldom explored – the area of white privilege. While research is now emerging, it has been slow to come about – perhaps because it spells discomfort for so many who consider that they are the mainstream.

White privilege is unearned privilege – it is simply the status, ease of living and doing that naturally apply to individuals because of skin color.

Briefly, white privilege makes one the standard against which all others are measured. It makes courtesy and trust more natural outcomes of involvement with others. Bank loans, home mortgage, credit cards and other accounts are easier to obtain because of whiteness. One need not fear refusal at a business establishment because of skin color, and children are less likely to hear unkind words about their skin color, racial or ethnic group if they are white. And the list goes on.

If this problem is to be corrected, it will require acknowledgement and sacrifice on the part of white individuals who support equity.

We were fortunate to have in our group a participant in a new British program which involves mentoring school children whose education is in jeopardy of failure. We learned about this program of learning mentors which is being practiced in Liverpool, and seems to be successful in helping diverse children find more comfort in school and comfort in learning.

We exchanged ideas and practices, and jointly declared there is much work yet to do before equity of opportunity in education is available for all children everywhere. Thank you.



Workshop n. 6



Reporter: Sabine Grundmann



Among seven other participants I took part in this workshop. Fabio Cappello and Ketty Tirzi introduced the system of social cooperatives, their history and legal system. I’d like to share some of the information with you. In the report I’ll call them social coops, otherwise I’ll get stuck with the word cooperative all the time.

The social coops have their background in the history of the coop-system in Italy. They were formed in the early 1920s according to political and church tradition. The traditional meaning of a coop was: the busuness belongs to the workers and one worker one vote. It was introducing democracy on a basic level.

In the 1970s the need for special services for people with disadvantages were more and more recognized. Based on the experiences with coops the first social coops were founded. The goal was to provide services for people with disadvantages and to earn money.

In 1991 the law number 381 formalized the concept of social coops in Italy and basically made it a lot easier to found a social coop because of a simplified tax and benefit system.

A social coop must meet certain requirements: one is a minimum of five members and another is that with their work they have to provide services for people with disadvantages.

There are different types of social coops. We mainly talk about the type of a social coop where 30% of their members must be:

·         physically handicapped, or

·         mentally handicapped, or

·         former prisoners/ex offenders


Their goal is to work according to their abilities, come up with own ideas, earn money and share it. The members decide on how it is shared. They have to be market oriented and that secures work on a good level of quality.


The social coops offer new chances for people with disadvantages to find work. Very often social coops recognize a social problem earlier than the communities and come up with an idea on how to deal with it.


When a social coop is successful, makes good money and the number of their members is growing, they try to build another coop to spread the idea of doing something for somebody else. They try to show that work is not only a tool to earn money with, but a chance for many to participate, be involved in society, live independently and be self-sufficient.

 Three example of social coops:

1.        This wonderful band “Ladri in Carrozzella” we heard the first evening. Six of the eight musicians are members of a social coop. Their earned money goes into the coop and all the members benefit from it.

2.        FIAT, the big car company, provides cars to a social coop. They adapt them to cars that people with handicaps can drive, and their members run a driving school for these people.

3.        Some regular businesses work together with social coops. They hire the members to work for them and therefore meet the requirement that you have to employ at least 7% of the working force with “handicapped” workers.


Nowadays social coops are basically accepted. One problem is still the public opinion. It is necessary to spread the idea to the public that everybody profits on the long run  when people with “diversity in abilities” can do their share for the community and live independently.


The law from 1991 is far from perfect, but it has started a good thing. For me and also the other members of our group it was a new and interesting subject. We discussed and compared it to our experiences with existing groups in our countries. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to analyse and discuss the local aspects of social coops.


I’ll take home many new ideas and a lot of questions. Thank you.







Workshop n. 8



An experience in Genoa Italy



Composition of the Group:


2 Educators from Italy

8 Social Workers from: India, Italy, U.S.A., Sweden and Germany

1 Psychologist from Argentina

1 Medical from Portugal



Facilitators : Corrado Roncallo –Educator working as a projects coordinator for U.C.I.L. in Genoa

                     Giovanna Lucchini – Coordinator Social Worker at the Mental Health Department in Genoa


U.C.I.L. is a Municipal Service which arranges programs and projects on a joint basis with the Genoa local Health Department and Mental Health Services for vocational training and employment of clients.

One of the programs is the so called “BUS program” for individuals who need mental health cares. This encourages introduction into the work place of those in need of calibrated support to initiate and/or maintain re-socialization through employment.


All the group members spoke about their individual experiences in the respective countries. Every body in the group appreciated the program of Genoa.

However members felt that in their own situation they would face many difficulties to start a program like that:

1-       getting financial support

2-                 cooperation from companies

3-                 professionals to work for this program

4-       not in every country the Government is open to encourage and support project for mental health clients

5-       prejudices against field of mental health


In Portugal since one year three ministries (Health, Social Security, Employment) are involved in a project called “Forum socio-occupational” which helps mental health clients to go back to their previous jobs o to get training for a new job, and became productive citizens.


There were times when diversity in behaviour was accepted as something belonging to the community (ex. in small  villages, etc…). With industrialization the society became selective and excluded diverse behaviours and ways of life which are non productive,


We should recognise the positive ness in diversity and make it strong.


We must believe that every individual has his own strength that can be developed.


Ti live with diversity should non be considered a punishment but an enrichment.