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Over the course of six years, we have conducted 550 educational programs on disability awareness within a school context, involving 3,900 educators and 45,250 students. And we continue…

‘Schoolyard. Noise, children’s laughter, balls everywhere, whistles, and voices… A typical school break. Suddenly, absolute silence. The children gather in groups to observe the curious man with wheels who appeared at their school. Dozens of eyes fixed on him, watching his every move. Some mouths remain open, some whisper quietly among themselves, a few fingers point at him. What a strange man…’

This is our daily life at ‘Me Alla Matia’. Every morning, we visit schools to discuss diversity with  children —our own diversity as well as theirs. Essentially, our educational program, ‘See Life Through Different Eyes’, focuses on the uniqueness of each individual, aiming for solidarity and mutual acceptance in a more inclusive society.

With permission from the Ministry of Education, disabled people coordinate an open dialogue with students. As a program centered entirely on children, participants have the opportunity to define the scope of discussion, express thoughts, share emotions and experiences, and ‘shape’ the program’s flow.

The program begins with silence and inquisitive glances, and it concludes with questions, statements, exploration, collaboration, and enthusiasm. Every day, we gain dozens of new friends. Every day, we co-create a better world alongside tomorrow’s citizens.

❓ What do the children ask/tell us?

  • ‘Have you ever been accused of pretending to be disabled?’
  • ‘If you’re somewhere with stairs, how will you evacuate during an earthquake?’
  • ‘I felt sorry for you when I first saw you, but that feeling passed.’
  • ‘Have you ever envied someone who can walk?’”
  • ‘It seems to me that in Greece, you are more disabled than abroad, given the current situation here.’
  • ‘Do you have dreams even though you are blind?’
  • ‘Were you afraid you would never find a boyfriend?’
  • ‘Have friends rejected you because of your impairment?’
  • ‘Have you experienced bullying at school?’
  • ‘Does it bother you when someone pities you?’
  • ‘If you were our classmate, we would find a way to play football together. Maybe a little differently, but I think it’s possible.’
  • ‘Have you ever wished you didn’t have this impairment?’
  • ‘I never believed that a blind person could accomplish so much!’
  • ‘Have you dyed your hair blue to hide your disability?’
  • ‘My sister attends a special school, and I get very upset when people around us stare at her or make fun of her. It hurts when someone speaks negatively about her disability.

It is important for us to stand among our young “collaborators” with honesty, respect, and a willingness to break down stereotypes that prevent us from living beautifully and equally together.

At the same time, we are incredibly grateful for the ever-multiplying desire to participate and the patience shown by educators, as this program is entirely voluntary.

❓ But what do school teachers  say about our program?

  • The students were informed and sensitized regarding disability and the need to create an inclusive society centered around people.
  • Mr. Avgoulas was truly captivating. The children were enthusiastic and, most importantly, they learned about disability—something that can happen to any of us—without taboos.
  • In the dialogue with the students, there was openness and a two-way exchange of opinions with the motivational speaker, resulting in the reconstruction of their initial views on disability and redefining them with new perspectives.
  • Mr. Pitsiniagkas was very direct, comfortable, explanatory, and pleasant with the children, which helped them become sensitized and understand the concept of accepting diversity through personal experience.
  • The candid and concise speech of Mr. Avgoulas impressed both the students and the teachers who attended.
  • The success of the program is attributed to its design, which approached the reality of disability and each person’s uniqueness through an open yet coordinated discussion. Equally important was the contribution of the speaker-coordinator, Mr. Pitsiniagkas, who engaged the students in an extremely interesting dialogue with his sincere words.
  • Your visit and the conversation you had with the students exceeded our expectations and significantly contributed to cultivating an inclusive culture, which is also our school’s vision.
  • I believe it was the best way for the students and teachers to familiarize themselves with disability. The program dispels stereotypes about disability and fosters empathy and respect for diversity.
  • The children were activated by the subsequent conversation, and we confirmed that the message we all received was common: we dream of a society of inclusivity and accessibility, where no one is left behind, and everyone can work, have fun, and truly live!
  • Fear toward people with disabilities was decostructed.
  • The program structure was well-designed, using simple and understandable language, a friendly speaker demeanor, and informative videos combined with time for discussion with the students.
  • I was impressed by the way a disabled person interacted with the teenagers. The pleasant and comfortable atmosphere they created. Their exceptional insights regarding their disability, society, and the environment. The ease with which they provided information about everyday details while keeping the audience’s attention.
  • There was an excellent pedagogical approach to disability and children: the educational techniques used by the speakers to encourage children’s participation were done in an atmosphere of familiarity, safety, and trust. Educators and children exchanged many positive comments about the speakers’ directness, humor, and eloquence.
  • Konstantina’s straightforwardness was fantastic; she captured the children’s attention on the topic and engaged them in thinking and reflection at that moment.
  • The children were captivated by the speaker’s fluid and realistic speech. For the first time, we didn’t need to intervene as teachers to make them pay attention and not talk among themselves.
  • Juliana’s directness, depersonalization, and ease in responding to the children were impressive.
  • I was very cautious (negatively) about whether the children would pose difficulties. However, the speaker skillfully managed and held their attention. I noticed that the vast majority followed him, and in the end, we had questions and discussion. I believe they would easily follow him again.
  • It was captivating… especially if after the visit, discussions with the children about how they felt, their answers are compelling.
  • The discussion with Mrs. Paraskevopoulou and Mrs. Alexandridou sparked many conversations in the classes on the same and the following day. The children expressed the desire to approach other contemporary issues in a similar manner. They greatly appreciated that the speakers didn’t speak theoretically but shared their personal experiences. They were impressed by their directness and sincerity. They learned things and left the event hall with smiles and optimism.
  • In a survey we conducted via Google Forms, we saw that the majority of students found the event interesting and it gave them the opportunity to reconsider their perceptions of disability.
  • Mr. Pitsiniagkas is willing to answer any questions from the children without being solemn but not without seriousness, and this gives them the courage to ask real questions they have, to see the daily life of a person with disabilities in Greece and the rest of the world, not to feel awkward in front of him, and to understand the simple things they need to do to improve our society.
  • In a related questionnaire distributed, the students evaluated the program as excellent.

The positive impressions of the participants, but much more the impact observed on the children – even a considerable time after the program – are nourishing for us and confirm every time the importance of the program in building a world where everyone fits in.

ℹ️ Program Details:

  • The program is implemented in person or remotely and takes place for one teaching hour within the school hours, free of charge.
  • It is aimed at students of Primary and Secondary Education, from general, vocational, or special schools nationwide.
  • Ministry of Education License: Φ.2.1/ΜΓ/175633 /Δ7
  • See the program in detail
  • The places we have visited

☎️ Call us at 210-2627385 or express your interest in participating in the program at 📧 info@meallamatia.services.

❗ Don’t forget to mention the school unit you represent and the approximate number of children interested in participating.

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