The “Empathy in Darkness and Silence” project was launched for IETT drivers serving on Istanbul roads. 12 thousand drivers will participate in the work done by the visually and hearing impaired guides. Thanks to the project, it is aimed that the drivers develop empathy for the difficulties faced by disabled citizens.
What do visually or hearing impaired citizens experience? What challenges do they face while trying to reach the places they want to go? An extraordinary project has been initiated for IETT drivers to understand the difficulties faced by disabled citizens and to act more sensitively towards them while performing their duties. A unique experience is experienced in the works at the "Dialogue in Darkness and Silence Museum" located at the Gayrettepe metro station, accompanied by visually and hearing impaired guides. Drivers experience what the visually and hearing impaired passengers they encounter in daily life, especially when getting on public transportation vehicles. It is planned that 12 thousand drivers working in IETT and Private Public Buses will complete this project in groups.
Dialogue in the Dark
With the experience of dialogue in the dark, drivers are accompanied and guided by visually impaired guides to explore and develop their other senses instead of their sight, in a dark, zero-light environment. An IETT driver who participated in the first group study said, “I thought we had night vision goggles in our guide. You are in a dark void, you do not know where to go, where to put your hands and arms if the instructor does not direct you, you cannot move. All people, as well as all drivers, should have this experience.” Visually impaired guides allow drivers to see in a “new and different” way by touching, smelling and listening on the 30-minute track. The main purpose of Dialogue in the Dark is to benefit from the abilities of the visually impaired and experience real life from their perspective.
Dialogue in Silence
In the dialogue experience in silence, the drivers experience nonverbal communication in a completely silent environment together with the hearing impaired guides in a special area. Participants experience how facial expressions and body language can be used effectively and what can be achieved with senses other than hearing, in the Dialogue in Silence exhibition, which consists of special sections that increase awareness along with the ability to empathize. With the Dialogue in Silence, it is aimed that the drivers' ability to turn difficulties into opportunities is strengthened, while leaving all their prejudices about themselves and their environment behind forever.
The Museum of Dialogue in Darkness and Silence opened in 2013. 500 thousand people have visited the museum so far.