The Orizonturi Foundation’s “Blogging the Dream” project is well into its hands-on practicum phase, and some participant blogs are already up and running.
Through the “Blogging the Dream” project, funded by a Rising Voices micro grant, a blogging club was created last year for mental health service users. The club's members are being trained on how to create and maintain blogs, with the eventual goal of developing one collaborative blog. The Orizonturi Foundation, based in Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Romania, has been helping those with mental health issues for almost 15 years, and hopes that this blogging club will help decrease the stigma that people with mental health issues face in Romania.
The project began with a technical training period, where participants learned how to blog, use digital cameras, and upload pictures. Since January, however, the project has moved into the practicum phase, where participants have been able to review and practice what they've learned so far. During this time, blogging club members are also becoming more familiar with the Internet, and have been able to work on their blogs and get comfortable with blogging on their own.
I learned about this program [Blogging the Dream] through Mirela, who I want to thank very much. Together with the Orizonturi Foundation, she has taught me how to use the computer. I always come to this course with pleasure and willing to learn something new. I joined the program because I enjoy writing and playing games on the computer but here I learn how to work on the computer. My gains from this program are the friendships with those I study and the lessons I learn from them.
Geta, a 46-year-old blogging club member, also shares her views:
I got involved with this program [Blogging the Dream] to learn new things, and now I’m able to slowly navigate my own way on the computer. Communicating with more people is what participation in this program means to me. I already feel closer to people since starting this program. The theoretical training was interesting and I learned new things. I will use the knowledge gained to create my blog and communicate with more people.
Here are some of the participants’ developing blogs (in Romanian):
And it's not just the blogging club members that are benefiting from the Orizonturi Foundation's access to the Internet. The project blog explains how the organization's literary circle and English club often use the Web for research, and that some mental health service users have set up email accounts and received a crash course on the Internet during social hours. The project blog elaborates:
A number of the blogging participants are also active in these groups and take pride in showing off their blogs to fellow organization members. In turn, spreading curiosity and interest within their immediate social networks. We can only hope this continues to branch throughout our entire community.