EU funds help: A house with a strong story was built in Brno (VIDEO)
29. 5. 2023
A new modern five-storey building for the provision of services to blind and partially sighted people was built in Chaloupkova Street in Brno - Královo Pole with the help of an EU subsidy. "It is a dream come true," says Hana Bubeníčková, director of TyfloCentrum Brno, which owns the building.
Brno - "Josef Chaloupka's House of Services for the Blind" is a literal translation of the inscription in Braille on the facade of the new building standing on the site of the former house of the Brno poet Josef Chaloupka. He once expressed the wish that his house be dedicated to the blind, which was fulfilled in 1937. First, a hostel and workshops for the blind were built here. Later, the house changed hands and was again used by the blind only in 1990. In 2005, it became the property of the TyfloCentrum Brno, a public benefit society founded by the United Organisation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (SONS).
There was no money left for reconstruction. "The old barrier building was in a totally unsatisfactory technical condition. Nevertheless, we stayed there until the sewer system under the house collapsed and we had to actually leave the house in 2011," recalls Hana Bubeníčková, director of TyfloCentre Brno. She has been the head of the Brno TyfloCentre for twenty-three years. She was worried about what would happen to the house. In the meantime, the services have been moved to rented premises in the same street and the workshop 600 metres away. "We decided to take advantage of the fact that the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union and apply for money from EU funds, demolish the house and build something completely new," she said.
In 2017, the Brno TyfloCentre managed to obtain a subsidy from EU funds in the amount of 38 million crowns for the construction of a new house. It's been decided. The poet's old building went down. In 2019-2020, a modern five-storey building was built on its site. Here, TyfloCentrum Brno now provides a wide range of services to the blind and partially sighted in premises that meet the needs of modern times.
NEW PREMISES AND MODERN TECHNOLOGY
Blind visitors in particular are pleasantly surprised upon entering the house, as it is equipped with a voice beacon for navigation, guide lines and contrast elements. Behind the glass front door is the reception. Opposite, there is a shop with products from the local workshop HapAteliér, which is located in the back part of the ground floor. Recently, the store has also expanded its range to include compensatory aids for the blind. The basement is used for technical facilities and there is a space for experience activities in the dark. On the upper floors, there are workrooms, classrooms, club rooms, and a training kitchen for clients and social facilities.
During the year, 600 blind and partially sighted clients will use the services of the Brno TyfloCentre in the new building. "Blind and visually impaired people come to us for the first time mostly to consult us. We're finding out what's bothering them. For example, they have no idea what compensatory aids they can use or how they might spend their leisure time. Often, they do not even know what social benefits they are entitled to. These are varied topics that we discuss with them," says Director Bubeníčková.
Clients are often enthusiastic about the way they work here with the most modern technology available here. "Compensation aids based on technology and computers have shown that it is very important for experienced blind people to talk to blind people who need help with technology. That is why we employ visually impaired people with appropriate training and qualifications as trainers and social workers. Computer work is taught by blind tutors. Peer consultancy is highly valued by the clientele," says the director.
Although the majority of the clientele is over fifty years old, thanks to new equipment and an experienced team of instructors, the number of younger clients is growing. "Young people are very interested in our courses in the training kitchen, and they are also attracted to the other skills courses," says the director. The client involvement in the work process is also emphasized.
"Our social-therapeutic workshop HapAteliér helps people with visual impairments to maintain and develop work habits and manual dexterity. Over twenty people attend it four times a week on regular dates. In addition, we also run a sheltered workshop called HapAteliér. We currently employ six visually impaired people in the fields of ceramics, basketry, and cardboard maker," added the director of the TyfloCentre in Brno. They see the potential to further develop the services offered.
Photo: TyfloCentrum Brno, Deník/Eva Bártíková