Today, having resolved my impressions and experiences, I can honestly, with firm conviction say that Wheel Power Challenge was one of the best workcamps I’ve ever participated in.
Inspired by young, enthusiastic and able-bodied Sarah Chu, this project had several aims to start with: increasing public awareness of equal rights for people with disability; tackling numerous faceted of social exclusion such as inadequate transport and inaccessibility of public buildings.
Sarah led our group skillfully and with a great sense of humor. Among other things she trained a bunch of local youngsters and camp volunteers to handle wheelchairs. She also drew our attention to the way in which human intervention in the environment feeds social exclusion.
I was deeply touched that so many young people where sincerely interested in improving things for us, the disabled. If such a project had been organized in my home country, I do not think that there would be any interest from able-bodied people.
In fact the best part of this marvelous experience was the caring, altruistic, willing attitude of the volunteers involved.
We slept, cooked, ate, danced, sang together. We went across the city by bus, ferry, metro and on foot. We visited a great variety of eating places facilities and sights.
And most importantly, we, foreign volunteers, felt us warmly embraced by the local workcampers.
I was, as I believe where others, impressed by the expression of high moral values such as the respect shown by local campers. It is something that I think Europe lacks.
Last but not least, Sarah’s passion and enthusiasm were so contagious that it has inspired me to try and investigate something similar in Serbia and the Netherlands.