Translation of the original article in Greek: Labros Chantzis
The No. 1 School of Gastronomy in Greece, in collaboration with the social enterprise “Me Alla Matia”, organized a special dinner in partial darkness conditions, intending to raise awareness towards people with vision problems on the occasion of the World Day of Persons with Disability on December 3rd.
This blind dinner, in particular, was a unique adaptation of the successful POP-UP Restaurant Project, which has been an institution in Gastronomy for the last four years. Under the guidance of chef Sotiris Kontizas, selected groups of Culinary and Hotel students experienced full participation in all stages of operation of a professional kitchen and a restaurant.
The guests had the opportunity to experience a holistic experience, with specially trained volunteers from the organization covering their eyes with blackout masks and guiding them to their table to enjoy the reception dish by activating all their senses. This action allowed sighted people to think about the obstacles faced by people with visual impairment for a moment, thus cultivating their empathy.
The guests, representatives of the Media, Sports, and organizations fighting for the inclusion of people with disability, expressed enthusiasm for the experience they gained, as they had the rare opportunity to experience a particular aspect of the daily life of blind people, such as enjoying a restaurant dinner.
The “Most Innovative Institute of Vocational Training in Europe”, within the framework of a multidimensional corporate social responsibility plan, has included in its agenda a plethora of actions that promote the need for the inclusion of vulnerable social groups and people with disability, promoting the concept of equality despite any differences. The need for inclusion becomes even more urgent if one considers that one in ten of our fellow human beings has a disability, which is not always visible.
Me Alla Matia NPO was founded in 2018 by a self-organized group of people with disability with a vision to eliminate the underrepresentation of disabled people in public discourse. Its action focuses on counseling and educational programs related to disability, accessibility, and inclusion. It maintains the eponymous information platform, implements the #SpeakUp campaign with protagonists with disabilities, organizes free information days for students, and coordinates advisory programs for companies, organizations, and municipalities.
Watch a video report here: