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7th Study Session- European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary from 16-23 September, 2007

Developing Leadership Skills and Necessary Competences with Hard of Hearing Youth – Getting Strong in the Future

The background to the study session theme
Participation of hard of hearing youth at all levels in the mainstream society – education, employment, youth work, and other – calls for leadership skills with hard of hearing youth, ability to inform people and organizations about their specific needs and stand up for their rights.
The biggest challenge for hard of hearing youth, on the personal level, is the problem of communication. Leadership skills and increased confidence help break up communication barriers and change the biased attitudes towards people with hearing loss still prevalent in society.
On the organizational level, lack of leadership and organizational skills often impede the capacity of hard of hearing youth organisations in their work, be it planning and delivering projects or mobilizing human and financial resources. Organizations can be denied funding of socially important projects because of problems related to management of resources.
Lack of necessary competences or knowledge about existing possibilities prevents young people from establishing new organizations for hard of hearing youth. This is a special concern for IFHOHYP and individuals as organizations for hard of hearing youth are lacking at the international level. This, in turn, is one of the reasons why hearing loss as a disability is less visible compared to other disabilities.

Hence, it is clear that sustainability of organizations of hard of hearing youth should be built through development of leadership and organizational skills.

In Europe, the situation concerning people with disabilities in general is gradually improving in areas such as social inclusion programs, improved legislation, advocacy and awareness.
Hard of hearing young leaders need to be identified and equipped with competences in order to achieve on educational, personal and professional levels at par with society. As a precondition, they need the support to be able to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience to the mainstream world.

The 2003 IFHOHYP study session was devoted to breaking communication barriers; 2006’s study session was about safeguarding human rights of hard of hearing youth and producing recommendations to European, national and regional institutions about access to education, employment, information and rehabilitation. Many IFHOHYP members wished to see leadership as the main theme of the 2007 study session.

In light of this, aim of the study session is
To develop and improve leadership skills with the selected group of young hard of hearing youth workers, in order to empower them:
  • to raise awareness on how to overcome obstacles created by hearing loss
  • to develop and sustain existing youth organizations where hard of hearing young people participate, as well as to set up new ones
Objectives through which the aim shall be achieved:
  • To share ideas and experiences of active participation by HoH youth and to exchange practices of involving HoH youth in organizations and projects in different countries
  • To explore concepts of leadership and identities of hard of hearing young people
  • On a personal level, to build confidence and to develop leadership skills in order to become competent in teamwork, facilitation and public speaking
  • To explore themes of intercultural learning, human rights education and social inclusion as tools and means for involvement of hard of hearing youth in youth organizations and projects
  • To encourage participation and to provide hard of hearing young people with the tools for supporting the development of existing organizations plus initiating new ones at the local and international level
  • To develop skills in project management with participation as a tool for involving hard of hearing young people on local and national level
  • To develop new partnerships and to contribute to strengthening IFHOHYP
How many participants: Thirty participants from fourteen countries, mainly from member states of the Council of Europe. Two participants came from Canada and Pakistan.

The methods used were: training workshops; discussions and debates; working in small groups; brainstorming; theatre, ‘role games’ and simulation exercises in non-formal education methodology; study visits to the European Court of Human Rights; inputs by guest speakers from the European Disability Forum/Council of Europe and other institutions.

The study session was not about passive sitting and listening to lecturers (even though there were inputs), but it was about dynamic & interactive learning through experience. The methods of non-formal education were used to stimulate young hard of hearing people to work together to generate solutions and strategies to use them back home.

Study session Team
  • Karina Chupina, IFHOHYP president - Russia
  • Maria Lopez Garcia, IFHOHYP vice-president - Spain
  • Emine Berna Ç?b?k - Turkey
  • Aleksandar Bogdanovic, course director - Serbia
  • Goran Buldioski, Educational Advisor, Directorate of Youth and Sport, Council of Europe - Hungary
Adobe Acrobat document Report (size: 1.26 MB)