Armed with the learning kit (and very limited knowledge of German!), the Reach & Match team flew the 23 hours required from Melbourne, Australia to Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, and finally arrived in SightCity–Germany’s biggest exhibition exhibition for aids for the blind and visually impaired–which was at the very lovely Sheraton Hotel Frankfurt Airport Conference Center.
This was the first time the Reach & Match learning kit has been exhibited in Europe, and the feedback could not have been better. Many teachers, resellers, distributors and other interested people, both sighted and visually impaired, were attracted to the learning kit’s colours and its innovative design.
Adults and children from around Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East were all interested in the design and kept the team busy for most of the exhibition. Large and reputable organisations such as ONCE from Spain also dropped by to take a look and was impressed with the design.
One of the highlights of the three-day-exhibition was when a one-year-old boy, who is blind, graced us with his presence, immediately fell in love with the Reach & Match’s tiles and was very curious about the sounds that were coming out of them. The Reach & Match provided him with a safe environment for him to learn his motor and directional skills, when can then follow on to more advanced learning outcomes such as Braille literacy.
Another highlight was when a young boy with visual impairment was immediately attracted to the bright colours of the Reach & Match. We had to provide some guidance, but once we did, he was reaching and matching in no time! He loved the Reach & Match so much he had to be dragged away by his mother!
Finally, there was a little girl, who was blind, but very energetic. She had a blast and was running around playing with the Reach & Match at a very quick pace. In the end, she was so tired that she had to lie down on the mat for a nap! She definitely won the award for coolest kid in the exhibition!
On the first night of the exhibition, all of the SightCity exhibitors were treated to drinks and a live performance by a band who were made up of members who were either visually impaired or blind, which was extremely impressive. It was great to mingle with other people who have a passion for helping people with visual impairment and other disabilities.
It was amazing to share our design to the people in Europe, and we hope to do it again soon. The team would like to thank everyone who organised the SightCity conference and all the friendly people who helped us out.