The local project “Terra Cognita: The Historical Center of Cluj-Napoca Accessible to Blind Young People” is developed and coordinated by Babilon Travel NGO and funded by the Municipality and Local Council of the city of Cluj-Napoca, and covers the period 30 March to 30 November 2015.
Terra Cognita is a natural follow-up of the project “Terra Mirabilis: Tourist Tracks for Visually Impaired Young People” implemented in 2014. The project aims to document and promote a pilot tourist route in the historic center of Cluj, adapted to the needs of young blind people from Romania and abroad.
The main objectives of the project are:
- to create tourist guides for the identified tourist track, written in Braille and using tactile diagrams to make pictures accessible to the blind youngsters, both in Romanian and English;
- to transpose these tourist guides in digital format (MP3 audio guides, PDF);
- training a group of four English-speaking volunteers, able to accompany young blind people on the identified route;
- to create conditions for the development of future youth exchanges and youth workers mobilities from Romania and abroad, exchanges that would empower them to develop similar projects in their cities.
The main project activities consist of workshops based on non-formal education methods.
The aim, objectives and impact of the project “Terra Cognita: The Historical Center of Cluj Accessible to Blind Young People”, on local, national and international level are designed to support events that will take place under the programme “Cluj-Napoca: European Youth Capital 2015” and to support the candidacy of our city for the title “European Capital of Culture 2021”, according to the development strategy of Cluj-Napoca.
By disseminating and promoting the project we provide increased visibility and awareness of Cluj-Napoca.
The project is highly trans-sectorial (tourism, culture, education), a priority in EU programmes and innovative (tactile maps, diagrams and charts – first used in Romania for such purposes), which contribute to the development of synergies between cultural and other areas of public life.
Involving the preservation and enhancement of historical, architectural and religious heritage of Cluj, in the light of social inclusion and cohesion on local, national and European level, our project “Terra Cognita”, can be classified in the category of cultural and youth projects.
One of the goals requires partnerships with similar organizations in the country and abroad, encouraging the promotion of intercultural dialogue, highlighting the ethno cultural diversity, national and international development cooperation, cultural exchanges and encouraging the development of partnership between youth organizations, nationally and internationally.
Through close collaboration of the partners involved, the Special School for the Visually Impaired, the City Hall through the Tourist Information Centre, the Ethnographical Museum of Transylvania, the project contributes to the development of local cooperation.
The tourist trail itself and the documentation adapted for the blind increases the access to cultural act for blind people and contributes to increased awareness about the values of tradition, history and cultural and religious heritage.
Involving 4 blind and non-blindyoung volunteers, the projectsupports and promotessocial inclusion and cohesion. Alsothis results inpromoting the idea ofvolunteeringamong young people andincreases the number of future volunteers.