Youth Exchange in the Czech Republic between 16. – 23. July 2007
Blind Friendly zobrazení
Partneři - LOTYŠSKO
Participants:Renata Aižinaitė; Vilmantas Balčikonis, Rasa Rimkūnaitė, LinaDragūnaitytė
Groupleader: Indrė Bitinaitė
AboutLithuanian Association of the Blind and Visually Handicapped (LASS)
LASSis the oldest and the biggest organization of blind people inLithuania. It unites visually impaired people for common activities;represents their rights and protects their interests; tries toachieve the true integration of the blind and visuallyimpaired into the open society; prepares programmes in such fields asrehabilitation, upbringing, occupational training and employment,health education and etc.; cooperates with governmental institutions.All activities of LASS are dedicated to create psichological andmaterial well-being for the visually impaired. Nowadays, organizationhas about 7000 members.
LASS isoperating in the whole territory of Lithuania, it has branches andrepresentatives in all districts and counties. LASS is the member ofThe World Blind Union and The European Blind Union.
Lithuania,officially the Republic of Lithuania, is a country in nothern Europe.It is situated along the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea andshares borders with Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Russia. Lithuaniais a new and active member of the European Union (since May 1, 2004).In 2009, Lithuania will celebrate a millennium anniversary of thefirst mention of Lithuania’s name.
Lithuania is situated inthe very geographical centre of Europe. In 1989 the French NationalInstitute of Geography determined that the very geographical centreof Europe is 24 km North of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Thisfact has been included in the Guiness Book of World Records.
The official statelanguage is Lithuanian – one of the oldestliving languages of the world so closely akin to Sanskrit, the mostarchaic Indo-European language.
The capital of LithuaniaVilnius is an administrative, cultural, political and businesscentre. About one seventh of the country’s population live here.The Old Town is the heart of the capital, the oldest andarchitecturally the richest part of Vilnius. It is one of the largestold town centres in Europe, covering almost one tenth of the city’sarea.
Other popular places inLithuania are Trakai (animposing town on water), Kaunas (the secondlargest city, interesting for its historical and cultural heritage),Klaipėda (anice-free port, Lithuania`s gate to the world),Šiauliai (the spiritual centre of NorthernLithuania), Curonian Spit (one of the mostbeautiful unspoiled natural spots in the whole Baltic area).
Culturallife in Lithuania is active and diverse: local and internationalfestivals, concerts, exhibitions are organized all the year round.Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country. Formillions of people all over the world, it was precisely basketballthat put the name of Lithuania on the map together with its starplayers such as Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, ArvydasMacijauskas, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas and others.
Lithuaniannational food is good and delicious – particularly the meats,breads and cheeses. The most popular traditional dishes are“zeppelins”, potato sausages, potato pancakes. There is a greatvariety of different kinds of beer produced using old brewagetraditions. Lithuanians as well as foreign visitors consider localbeer to be among the best in the world.
Education in Lithuania
Lithuania is rapidly developing country. Growing economy simultaneously changes the situation of visually impaired people. Integration, situation in education system, jobs, and adopting environment – these are the questions that we are going to cover briefly.
What concerns visually impaired people and education in Lithuania, there are two schools devoted for visually handicapped people (one in Kaunas and one in Vilnius). During the soviet regime these two schools used to gather all visually handicapped people from all over the country. After the integration law become truth, handicapped people started to learn in public schools. But a big part of them faced ignorant and unprepared teachers. Some teachers are afraid to teach handicapped people. In some schools classes are too big (for example 30 people). In school handicapped person gets reader allowance (to pay for person who reads to you). This allowance is too little but still some support. I have learned in public normal school and I managed to pass the exams quite well. In conclusion, visually handicapped people face a lot of difficulties in schools, but if they put efforts, if they have a goal, they can reach it.
In university situation is similar although financial support is better then in schools. The reader allowance is almost two times bigger. If handicapped student has to pay for the semester, the government repays four fifths of the price. Unfortunately I could say that provision of the compensatory technique is poor. In this aria there is great need of government financial support. Despite all this there are visually impaired people studying massage, law, programming or social work.
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