Tens of Thousands of Students Experience Disability Awareness Program
04 December 2019

The "Focus on the Person" educational program, implemented by the Association of Social Responsibility for Children and Youth (SKEP), reached 42,055 students during its two-year collaboration with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), which supported the program with a grant.

The disability awareness educational program “Focus on the Person” is an open, immersive, informative, and awareness-raising program focusing on sparking dialogue between students and SKEP educators with disabilities.

SKEP educators with disabilities implemented 687 educational programs in 490 schools throughout Greece, of which 57 were in Attica, during the 2017 – 2019 school years.

Students' comments reflect gradual changes of in mentality and growing familiarity with the concepts of social acceptance and equality:

“They made us understand and be able to relate to a person with a disability, without being influenced by stereotypes.”

“Because he let us ask questions very openly, I stopped fearing I might offend him with something I might say. This whole experience has taught me that I can coexist with a disabled person just like with anyone else.”

“This talk made me change my attitude toward people with disabilities and learn that they can do almost anything that a person without a disability can.”

“It is very important to learn about the difficulties that people face from their stories and personal experiences.”

“I felt more familiar with people with disabilities than before.”

“I was struck by how informed he was and how well he answered our questions about disability issues. I was also impressed that he was able to break down several stereotypes that we probably had in the first two hours we met him.”

SKEP motivational speakers reveal their own daily routine. Vangelis Avgoulas, a lawyer who is blind, commented, “Every school visit felt like an investment by people with disabilities in creating the active citizens of tomorrow, and after leaving every classroom I felt more optimistic and happier, because I had come to find that, fortunately, there is hope!”

Konstantinos Samaras, a teacher who is deaf, adds, “Every day was a new experience. Different students, different age groups… Every time I feel satisfied because I have offered something in my own way, I have contributed to their sense of acceptance of diversity.”

The ultimate goal of SKEP's programs is smooth coexistence for all in a constantly evolving and changing society. The starting point is making the school a framework for equality of opportunity and inclusion in a community. A school that promotes empathy, dialogue, coexistence, acceptance, solidarity, and respect for everyone's uniqueness.