Impact: Evaluation about Visitors and Guides
Does the exhibition leave lasting Impressions on Visitors?
The numerous guest books powerfully demonstrate that the after the visit to the exhibition people feel the urge to give expression to their thoughts and feelings. Perhaps especially noteworthy is that 98% of the comments are positive. Three general categories of the comments may be discerned:
- 32% express their gratitude for the experience,
- 37% are satisfied with the experiences gained,
- 31% invest some time in analyzing these experiences and reflecting on them.
One effect, which is achieved by Dialogue in the Dark, is especially important: the feeling of gratitude towards the blind companion. The blind person is seen as the person who helped to overcome anxiety and insecurity during the journey through the darkness. Gratitude and admiration evolves from that: social distance changes into interest, and pity into respect.
Thus is clear that Dialogue in the Dark gives a fresh impetus, one that alters thinking patterns, makes stereotypes disappear and creates a new accessibility to the unique world of blind people. One’s own values and ideas are questioned, limitations are experienced, and through the encounter with people of another culture and life-reality a dialogue is developed that goes far beyond the visit of the exhibition. Dialogue in the Dark has succeeded in establishing a place for social and emotional learning. The values of other people are taken with interest, reflection and communication about being human begin, and empathy develops. This happens regardless of age, sex, level of education and cultural or social background.
Does the work as exhibition guide influence the life of a blind person?
From passive receivers to active contributors
Dialogue in the Dark has great influence on the development of the personalities and identities of the blind staff members. Being a guide changes self-perception, relations with the seeing population and increases self-esteem. Blind people gain strength in their acting and communicating competence, take responsibility, work together in a team and learn to defend their interests. Their own income helps them to be independent and strengthens respect among family and friends. For many blind people their first work for Dialogue in the Dark is their first paid job. They can gain experience and qualifications, which can be useful on the labor market independently of Dialogue in the Dark. Blind people change from passive receivers of welfare to active contributors to society and are able to live a self-determined life.