Short presentation of TANDEM
The following are the most important activities that we aim to accomplish with the TANDEM association:
- Setting up a research centre regarding access technologies
- Setting up a support centre for special children
- Setting up a consultancy center regarding urban accessibility modification
- Setting up a sports centre for persons with social disadvantage and a research centre for sportive medicine and advanced prosthetics
- Setting up a sports club destined for both persons with disabilities and those without disabilities
In the following paragraphs I will outline briefly some specific elements for each of these goals, without entering into detail due to the fact that those require specific knowledge and a very technical language, characteristic to the domain.
Regarding the research centre in access technologies, the following activities are relevant:
- The elaboration of a speech synthesis platform in Romanian (text to speech) and the integration of said platform in a screen reader that is already available on the market and widely used.
- initiation of studies regarding the elaboration and implementation of a model of manuals in multimedia format, books that are necessary to visually impaired children but also to deaf-mute children.
- studies towards the design and optimization of new devices necessary to some categories of disabilities.
- studies towards the optimization of the interface of some applications that allow the access of visually impaired persons to specialized domains of activity: music, chemistry, physics, etc.
- monitoring of the way industry standards are implemented regarding the accessibility modification of web pages, etc
- design and implementation of a new multimodal, multifunctional portal platform with a view to aid the accessibility modification of public services, loisir, etc.
Regarding the second objective, the setting up of a support center for special children, some of the most important objectives are:
- attracting funding for scholarships, initiating competitions, vocational camps and workshops
Regarding the third objective we aim towards the following goals:
- Studies regarding the implementation of active accessibility features (smart phone apps with personalized maps)
- Setting up a school for training guide dogs
- Setting up a info center in partnership with the local authorities that will collect information regarding the sites where public works are in progress (renovations, interventions at the water or gas pipes, etc
- Elaboration of a standard signaling and protection methodology (both physical and acoustic) and imposing this standard to all entities, state or private, that perform works that involve setting up scaffolding, digging holes, etc.
- Studies regarding the external accessibility modification of public transport and the optimization of the internal accessibility features.
- The fourth domain of activities involves the following goals:
- The identification of as many sports as possible available to people with disabilities, both individually and as team
- Creating, in partnership with state authorities, schools for trainers and sports instructors for each of the sports branches and also establishing reconversion centers for trainers that are specialized in those disciplines but are not familiar with the specific methodology and the physiology of the sportsman with disabilities.
- The last but not least of our objectives is the creation of a sports club aimed at the integration of persons with disabilities by involving them in different sports together with persons without disabilities
A few words regarding the main philosophy of our association:
- First and foremost, TANDEM is not an association addressing exclusively persons with disabilities; its main goal being exactly to disperse the communities organized solely on the basis of handicap and not on real competence and real affinities and, as much as possible, integration of people at a higher socio-professional level.
- Second, TANDEM tries to propose and establish bridges of communication through continuous social dialogue, between people with disabilities and the other people. In this respect we aim to moderate situations where people can meet each other, communicate, situations that will allow the acknowledgement and valorization of the socio-professional and social potential of both parties. This is why we aim to organize mostly competitions (scholar and sports) with mixed teams.
- Thirdly, TANDEM aims to promote education and culture as the basis of any society and without which integration and social inclusion are not possible.
In order to make our efforts more efficient, we have decided to focus our activities at the moment on our fifth objective, for the following reason:
Sports is a high social impact activity, which allows us to reach a wider public audience and thus identify prospective financing opportunities in a timely manner.
Also, the media exposure of sports competitions is wider than for any other objective we could propose. The means to promote these activities are more diverse and have crystallized into the following projects:
In the past 3 years we organized a cyclo-marathon of 1200 km from Bucharest to Sighetul Marmatiei for a charitable cause, also we rode from Arad to London for the start of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games (a campaign funded by Dolce Sport) and we also established the national speed record for a blind person (Craiova airport in the winter of 2011).
During the next year we intend to participate (by ourselves or through the sportsmen from our sports club) at two or three paracycling competitions abroad where we intend to establish contacts with other similar associations and to develop partnerships.
We also intend to challenge the world speed record for a blind person which belongs at the moment to a Turkish man and is of 320 km/h. The reason for this project is the high international media impact which would help in fund raising.
Another of our projects would have us track the course of the Danube from its springs to the Delta by boat and the tour of the Black Sea in a kayak (called “Pariul Marii Negre” in translation “The Black Sea Bet” – the Romanian title of the famous Joules Verne book Kéraban the Inflexible).
Other projects include mountain climbing and sky diving.
All these projects require us to attract a series of sponsorships and the interest and help of the media to promote them.
A few words about me
I am Florin Georgescu, I am 37 years old, I am a person with sensorial deficiency (visually impaired). From the age of 7 up to the end of the high-school I have been schooled at various institutions for visually impaired children. Thus, I started 1st grade at Targu-Frumos, the next 7 years I spent at the Buzau school, 9th and 10th grade in Bucharest and the last two (11th and 12th ) at Cluj. After high-school I graduated from the school of Balneo-Physio-Therapy in Bucharest.
This long road offered me the opportunity to be very familiar with the specific problems and situations of the whole system of schooling for visually impaired in Romania. Later, I discovered and wondered at the concept of inclusive learning and the viability of the elements that make the corpus of laws and strategies for the socio-professional integration of persons with a potential for social exclusion.
Later, I enrolled and graduated from the Faculty of Psychopedagogy at the University in Bucharest, followed by a Master in Integrated Education and, in the end, a doctoral degree at the Doctoral School of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences from Bucharest University with a thesis on “The impact of access technologies over the learning process of high-school students with visual impairment”
I mention all these things in order to justify, somehow, the inside knowledge I had the opportunity to acquire in the areas of handicap, normalization and integration of persons with social disadvantage. The specific of this knowledge was also increased by the research activity I undertook as an employee of the Institute for the Prevention and Reduction of Social Exclusion of Handicapped Persons, the only one with this profile in the country. Unfortunately this institute was dissolved and now I am employed by the Direction for Handicapped Persons under the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection.
I started to approach cycling thanks to my friend Alexandru, in the beginning as a means to fight the daily routine and sedentary life, and later wanting to give a different meaning to this hobby. We started by taking part in various cyclist manifestations (cyclo-caravans from Bucharest to Constanta), then undertook a trip of 1200 km to raise funds for a friend that required a kidney transplant and finally last year we planned and organized the marathon Arad-London in 3 weeks for the start of the Olympic Games.
More details on these projects and their media coverage can be found on our Projects page.
Other hobbies include music (I am a not too good guitar and sax player), chess (mediocre, I’d say), literature and informal social situations….