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In 2015, the #DrawDisability initiative came to Kenya, inviting children with and without disabilities to provide their thoughts and feelings towards disability and inclusion. Their drawings reached the Republic of Korea (during the World Education Forum) and UN Headquarters in New York, USA (during the International Day of Persons with Disabilities), through an exhibition.
Two years later, I am happy to bring the initiative back to Kenya specifically to its capital, Nairobi. Thirty three children with and without disabilities participated and shared their perspectives on disability and inclusion.
The following is my open letter for these children:
I want to thank you once again for participating the #DrawDisability Workshop on 25th November 2017 at the Embassy of the Philippines Grounds in Nairobi, Kenya. I had a great time working with you. I was pleased to see 33 of you, from different parts of the city, enthusiastically making new friends and actively participating in the workshop. Well, these photos say it all:
Right after the workshop, I had a look at your drawings and I was amazed to see your creativity and the depth of the messages you attached to your drawings.
I thought of sharing some of these five major messages here for you to know:
1. ‘What do persons with disabilities need? They need help, acceptance, and care’. A lot of you included a similar message in your drawings. Some drew of a scenario where a child without a disability offered her help in letting a blind child cross the street.
2. ‘Disability is not inability’. Some of your drawings talk about the abilities persons with disabilities have.
3. ‘Discrimination and inaccessibility’. This message was shown in some of your drawings wherein persons with disabilities are not respected and not understood because they are different.
4. ‘To see is to believe’. A lot of you drew what you simply see in your surroundings especially in schools. Some drew a boy without a leg; some drew someone using a wheelchair.
5. ‘We are all different and special’. Some of you made this message by drawing rainbows, birds with different colors, and trees with colorful leaves.
Aren’t your messages powerful and beautiful?
It is my wish that the world will see and will learn from your drawings.
Thank you again, children; ’til next time.
Photos © Marlene C. Francia.