We want to zoom in on a dynamic association with a noble theme: the socialization of the visually impaired.
Of course, you know what it is to be blind, but you know what it is to be visual defiscient and all the shades around and all the difficulties which come with. The association Vue d’Ensemble (in english “overview”) helps to face with seriousness and lightness, with knowledge and optimism, with competence and user-friendliness. Here is our meeting with Yves Wansi, its president.
Yves Wansi of the association Vue d’Ensemble, can you describe yourself in a few words ?
I am a speaker entrepreneur, co-founder of the association Vue d’Ensemble, with seven other people and current president of this association.
What is the goal of the association Vue d’Ensemble ?
Our association militates against the sedentarization of the visually impaired and proposes projects allowing them to socialize.
Actions Three-fold view:
- Information: whether on medical research, on possible funding to regain its autonomy, on studies or training or other associations. We try to gather all the information on everything that the world could find there.
- Hobbies: Innovative and unusual for allied visuals, these are activities for all, blind, visually impaired and sighted, although it is important to mix so that the lights are not the crutches of the blind. On many types of activities, such as dinners in the dark, language drinks, rock climbing, night hiking, fashion shows, literary coffee, theater in the dark, tandem bikes, afterworks, Expeditions … We were recently in Siberia, Poland, Germany and from next to Italy and the Himalayas.
- Professional insertion: The goal is to help people with disabilities to find a job, develop their careers and seize opportunities. Organize symposia, seminars and conferences. This is also available on the creation of cv, cover letters, preparation of job interviews. It is also reported on the financing of professional integration.
Why created the association Vue d’Ensemble , why the low vision in particular?
We created the association Vue d’Ensemble because I am concerned, I am myself visually impaired and suddenly I do what I know. As I said in Cameroon, I come from “goat grazes where it is attached”. I also campaign in other associations, like Lab inclusion, an association for the deaf, I work with people with cancer or an association of young entrepreneurs …
How did you create your association Vue d’Ensemble ?
A few years ago, when I discovered my disability, I went through a difficult period for 2 years. I finished deciding that I needed to move on. I had a lot of difficulties reading and I realized that I had to operate. My operation takes place in 2005, in Strasbourg. My vision then stabilized and I hoped that my life would resume. I’m not really aware of my disability because I always saw myself as what, but I learned to accept it and live with it.
I went back to school and met many young visually impaired people who had not gone home. I then realized that the blind and visually impaired were reluctant to join traditional associations, I had to launch our own association which will not be a simple association of visually impaired, but an association to upset the codes . Between 2009 and 2012, I met a lot of people, ophthalmologists, psychics and visually impaired, to create the association Vue d’Ensemble and its three components.
Can everyone integrate this association, is it an association open to all?
Of course ! The youngest member is my son, he is 17 months old, and the senior is his 75 years old. There are whole families, really everyone can participate. The average age around thirty. We have more than 120 members.
What are the main actions of the association Vue d’Ensemble? Which ones are most successful?
Hiking by night, dinner in the dark, dance classes (salsa), singing lessons, climbing … There are really a lot of things that work well. We really made the buzz with the Baikal project last year.
On the other hand, we have to stop the literary café because it requires a lot of work and we have so much to do that we have more time for that.
How do you organize all this, what are the means at your disposal?
The association Vue d’Ensemble does not receive money from the state, which allows us to be free. We receive a lot of donations and we live with patronage. The activities that we propose are paying even if the prices are advantageous. And all the members are volunteers, who take care of their projects very well. They are really into the projects of the association, it could allow some to find work, to socialize, to meet people … Everyone has found his interest.
Is not it a little complicated to find activities that interest everyone, seeing, blind, of all ages and all walks of life?
No it is not complicated. We dared, from the beginning and it worked. We thought from the beginning that we had to find activities for everyone to find us. We did not all believe it at the beginning, it sometimes had to convince ourselves to start. There were flops, of course, but there were really many successes right from the start. I think it’s because we dared to show that it was possible. Disability is not a brake, we can live like everyone else and it is valid for all handicaps.
What is the biggest action taken by the Association Vue d’Ensemble so far?
It is Baikal, we could reap more than 100 000 euros in 6 months. It was a huge project.
Lake Baikal is a frozen lake in eastern Siberia, the largest freshwater reserve in the world. In winter, it is a very famous place for expeditions. We went there, it was quite an adventure. We slept on the lake, crossed the lake, we talked about us on France 5. Beyond disability, we wanted to show the ability of the disabled to excel, to transcend, that everything is possible with the will.
Our expedition was reported in a film, which won 2 awards and was broadcast on France 3 and in schools. The film is called Baikal Challenge, Beyond the Light, by Olivier Weber. A version is available on our site.
We went from February 2017 to March, the film was released in October and he still lives. This experience helped raise awareness. 16 participants made the “crossing”, in valid / invalid pair. It took a year of training.
There is clearly a before and after, companies call us to give lectures on team building, with our team of broken arms, we managed to create a “dream team”.
We are preparing an expedition called “Himalaya together”, we would just like to climb the mountains with many participants who are visually impaired but really very athletic. We would also leave with a disabled cripple child and his father, both very brave.
Is there a project you would particularly like to pursue in the future with the association Vue d’Ensemble?
There are two. The first project is to create a job co-op so that the visually impaired and visually impaired work together in one company. A project that is already well advanced.
And also to create a solidarity bicycle repair company run by blind people, which I hope to launch in 2020.
We are also thinking about opening a restaurant in the dark and other projects like that, but these two really hold me to heart.
What is your best memory with the association Vue d’Ensemble?
It’s not really a memory, it’s more a statement, a realization … It was last year, at the first concert of our choir group. In the association Vue d’Ensemble, we have all types of cultures and on stage there was an African, a gypsy, a Moroccan, French … A real multicultural skewer. And I was blown away because we managed to mix lots of cultures with amazing ease. We get on well, because we have fun together and that in all activities, it’s something that I live every day.
How can you support your association Vue d’Ensemble?
By giving us some money !!! No, seriously, you can simply get involved in the projects of the association, coming to our activities. The best participation is to come and get involved with us.
The final word ?
My dad used to say “you must never regret not having tried”, so try things so you do not regret later. And do not hesitate to follow the news of Vue d’Ensemble, for example on facebook!