A Comenius Language Assistant from Turkey was hosted by the Second Language School of Serres in the year 2007-08. The fact that she was a person with mobility disabilities made this case particularly interesting. A number of issues had to be taken into consideration such as providing her with suitable accommodation and transport, health insurance and company. In addition the group of teachers had to cooperate closely in order to cater for her needs.
Zeynep brought a new dimension into our school. Adult students, some of whom were experiencing similar problems, often identified with and felt closer to her. A number of actions and projects were implemented with her help including exploring common Greek and Turkish traditions in music, food, shadow theatre (Karagkiozis). She organised a Turkish language course, particularly popular, especially among teachers.
Her contribution was considerable in terms of combating stereotypes and prejudice against people with special needs and from different nationalities. As for Zeynep, she was enthusiastic about the chance given to her to travel abroad, make new friends, get practice in her future profession and become familiar with another neighbouring culture. As for me, her mentor, it was a unique, empowering experience. Zeynep's strength and will was inspirational, and the problems encountered made us become more inventive.
Below you can have a look at the presentation of this Assistantship at the State Scholarships Foundation's (IKY) Induction Meeting, in Athens, 09/12/2008.