Our experience and observations show that blind and visually impaired individuals are particularly invisible in social and political life. Research conducted by Jolanta Kramarz of the SWPS University indicates that there is a deeply rooted stereotype of a blind person as incompetent. Sometimes blind people start perceiving themselves this way – they do not notice their own skills, which sometimes results from overprotective upbringing, and sometimes from insufficient representation of visually impaired people in public life.
We will address the problem by supporting 16 blind/visually impaired people from all over Poland who are interested in public matters. We will run training on public administration for them – teaching them how the law and offices work, where to find useful regulations, how to read legal acts and budget bills. We will run workshops raising their skills in making speeches, initiating and running debates, solving conflicts and coping with stress. Each person will be supported by experts in running a small project in their hometown, for instance, applying in writing to local authorities for a free verification of architectural accessibility of an office or requesting to participate in a selected committee of the local council. In this project we will put emphasis on fighting stereotypes on blind and visually impaired people. We will organise two press conferences to promote our activities.