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Talk Forum: A stage for young people with disabilities in Moldova

Talk Forum is a project aimed at promoting the inclusion and motivational messages of young people, especially young people with disabilities from different regions of the Republic of Moldova.

In the 2018 edition, young people talked about challenges and accessibility, about their dreams and achievements. Alina Găină, the project coordinator, answered some questions about the problems and causes of the project and came up with an encouraging message for the young people who are thinking about implementing such an idea.

The idea of ​​organizing the "Talk Forum" came after attending a working visit to Romania. The Media Center for Youth had activities involving children and young people with disabilities, but the team was working on creating video or text messages. After that visit, Alina noticed that young people with disabilities in Romania have more courage and more freedom, so they said to organize an event in which the scene belongs to young people. Speeches, motivational messages, power and courage - this became the "Talk Forum" after four editions.

"Talk Forum" is a motivational event of the discourse of people with disabilities. The Media Center for Youth did not intend to solve the problem immediately, but rather to give young people with disabilities a platform of expression, to bring the people of Moldova an event on rights and inclusion. In the speeches, the young people talk about love, education, accessibility, discrimination, family - problems are successful and recognized, and this is the first step for them to be accepted by the society, eventually resolved.

The "Talk Forum" event, like any other project at the beginning, was like an adventure. Alina knew that she wanted to see the disabled young people on stage, with their strong messages that we and our family or neighbors could hear. The Media Center for Youth also wanted this "Talk Forum" to be a good step for removing stereotypes. So, at the beginning, they were glad to have Moldovan NGOs supporting the inclusion.

Alina and her team faced some challenges in terms of accessibility. In Chisinau, there is an event room, at most two, that partly complies with the accessibility norms. Another challenge was communicating with young people. The organizers were envisioning the event in a specific way, and they had to paint that picture to the young participants. They also included artistic moments for each edition. Every time a speaker was called, a young artist was invited to give an atmosphere to the event. The biggest challenges, however, were the accessibility and the movement of participants.

The Media Center for Youth plans on making event to continue and would like the event to be recognized nationally, not just by young people with disabilities, but by various groups. Currently, the audience is mixed, however, seats remain in the room, so they expect more people to join them. Such events could be organized in districts. It would be a wonderful exercise through which young people would express themselves and the authorities could hear their messages. Also, the event would be an opportunity for young people who have little chance of expressing their opinion. The “Talk Forum” Team is waiting for calls, messages that ask for advice on organizing a "Talk Forum". Obviously, one should not steal the concept, but we can adapt it for the sake of the community.

Alina recommends young people and NGOs that want to organize something similar to give it a try. It may work, or it may be a failure, but certainly the lessons learned will ultimately bring results. One more tip would be to try to work with other organizations, with public institutions. Support can come from where we expect less.

For updates on the Talk Forum, follow Centrul Media pentru Tineri in social media.

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