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The Eurodesk Cyprus, starts the New Year, spreading messages of acceptance and
social inclusion. The Social Inclusion is one of the fields of the EU Youth Strategy.
The main objective of the field is the establishment of an understanding society with
equal opportunities for all the citizens regardless of any kind of diversity, such as, origin,
language, religion, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities etc. The European
Union focuses on combating poverty, one of the main causes of exclusion. It should be
mentioned that the 2010 was the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social
By CLICKing on the following icon you may watch the official video of the European
Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.
/Issue 3 15/01/2012
Social Inclusion and European Union
Saint Barnabas School for the Blind : Interview from the Headmaster
Opportunities in Europe
Good Practices at a Local level
Toolkits for youth workers and trainers
European Union and Social Inclusion
. 17 27
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/Issue 3 Page 3
Saint Barnabas School for the Blind:
Interview from the Director-Part A
The Eurodesk Cyprus had an interesting conversation with the Headmaster of "Saint
Varnavas" School for Blinds, Mr Andreas Chapoupis, about the people with Visual Im-
pairment (VI) and the challenges they face.
Mr Chapoupis, firstly we would like to tell us something about you?
I was born on 1950,I was loosing my vision gradually due to some accidents, at the age
of 17 years old I was almost blind and at the age of 27 I became blind. I attended the
primary school of Kato Varosiou, then the School for Blinds, then the Kykkos school for
boys and finally I continued my studies in the university, in Athens. I studied Greek
Language, History and Law. In 1976 I started working as a teacher in the School for
Blinds. I also worked in Acropolis Lyceum and in the Ministry of Education and
Culture. In 2000 I worked as a headmaster assistant in the School for Blinds, since 2003
I am the headmaster of the School for Blinds. I like football very much and I go to foot-
ball matches. As a result, in 1997,the "Association of Sport Journalists Cyprus" gave me
the award of the "Best Football fun" and in 1999 the UEFA awarded me as the
"European Football Fun".
Could you please tell us something about the School for Blinds (foundation,
The School for Blinds is the only educational institution for people with VI in Cyprus. It
was founded in 1929 and it can be characterized as a landmark in the field of special
education in Cyprus, especially for people with VI. Since 1960, the School for Blinds has
been established as a public educational institution. Today, together with the Kindergar-
ten and the Primary Education the School for Blinds is working as a Center of Education
and Rehabilitation for all the ages. The objective is, the people with VI to acquire some
skills that are going to facilitate their mobility and their access to the written texts, they
are offered 15 training programmes. You may find more information about the pro-
grammes in the website of the School.
How is the everyday life of a person with VI, how does he cope with his/her
responsibilities; (mobility, household, computer, work, family)
Concerning my mobility, personally I have a driver. Sometimes, when I want to go
somewhere I call a taxi, when the taxi arrives, the taxi driver touches my shoulder telling
me that the taxi has just arrived. I am very good at cooking, when my children were little
I used to boil them eggs and also prepare their sandwich for school. Our oven has a
system that helps me to understand that the food has been cooked. People with VI may
use special designed computers with speech and screen reading system, some of the
computer have a Braille screen.
31 March 2012
March ing wi th
School for the Blind
1 April 2012
Fairy of the School
for the Blind
School for the Blind
A new and innova-
tive activity. The
going to have a
dinner in the dark.
The activity will be
implemented at the
end of March. The
aim is to raise
awareness about the
people with VI.
Do you believe that people with VI have as many opportunities as the rest of the
Now, because of the legislative regulation, there must be a percentage of 10% of people with
disabilities working in the Public Administration and in the education, as a result, people with
VI may integrate in the labour market. Moreover, for services that need telephonists blind
people have a priority. For blind secondary education students the School for the Blind offers
supporting services. Concerning the higher education, there are books in Braille system and
books that use a speech system.
According to you, which are the most appropriate ways to raise awareness about
people with VI?
I agree with the continual efforts that aim to raise awareness, but I would suggest that the
people with VI, especially the young people, should have continuous training in order to be
able to inform the whole society about their needs. You should have in mind, that the society
changes step by step.
What do you think about the EU police for people with VI?
The EU promotes policies for people with VI about their access in education and the labour
market, in Cyprus we are trying to follow and promote them. Every year the "Pancyprian
Organisation of the Blind" hosts 3-4 EVS volunteers. It should be mentioned that one of them
was included within the 10 best projects in Europe.
In Cyprus, is there a Youth Club for people with VI?
Unfortunately, there is not a Youth Club for people with VI because of the small number of
people with VI. There are also some practical difficulties due to the fact that people with VI
live in different cities.
Finally, we would kindly ask you to give us some contact information, in case
someone wants to learn more about that topic?
The general public may contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at
+357-22403300 and by fax at +357-22403340.The mail address of the School for the Blind is
School for the Blind "Saint Barnabas", P.O.Box 23511- 1684 Nicosia.
Saint Barnabas School for the Blind:
Interview from the Director-Part B
Book reading in Braille
The OPTACON devise
Helps people with VD
to read texts that are
not in Braille format
A person with V who
is using the computer.
In the computer is
installed a speech
system and screen
-.24-29 2012 .