CONNECT WITH US:
Find us on Facebook
Pablo Picasso once said: ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up’. When we started thinking about a global campaign to raise awareness on disability among children and youth, drawing immediately seemed the most natural language. All children draw. Some are more inclined to neat lines and shapes, others express themselves with powerful explosions of colours, but all of them find in drawing a natural system of communication with the external world.
The #DrawDisability campaign was launched on December 3, 2014, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We created Guidelines for Teachers in different languages, offering a useful instrument to teachers and educators to raise awareness and stimulate dialogue within their classrooms. And we partnered with international and local organisations around the planet, to strengthen our network and reach as many children and youth as possible. Four months later, we are receiving thousands of beautiful drawings from all over the world. Teachers and parents are also contacting us to share their stories and the impact that #DrawDisability had on their lives and within their local communities.
An English teacher in a secondary school in Turkey shared with us some reflections:
My students participated in #DrawDisability. Thanks to Facebook, we learned about the project. My students were very interested. I believe today’s young ones are the adult citizens of the future. The more aware they get today, the more responsible people they will be in the future.
The first #DrawDisability entry was a beautiful drawing made by Raamaansh Gupta, a 8-year-old boy attending the Lotus Valley International School of Noida, in India. Raamaansh chose to portray a parathlete crossing the finish line, and stated “The word ‘impossible’ itself says, I am possible. Physically challenged people are no less than anybody in any field, in this world.”. Raamaansh’s drawing is visible in the #DrawDisability Gallery (6-11). His participation in the #DrawDisability campaign caught the attention of two leading national newspapers, the Times of India and the Dainik Jagran.
These acknowledgments motivated Raamaansh to study harder to become the best artist in the world. Raamaansh also expressed his desire to volunteer in a school for children with disabilities, in collaboration with a local non profit organisation.
A mother from Saudi Arabia sent us this email:
The #DrawDisability campaign gave me an opportunity to discuss/teach my little girl (7yrs old) about different kinds of disabilities and how we should love and respect them. I used to see her watch people with different disabilities and have questions in her mind but we never got a chance to sit and speak about it. However, this project gave me a chance to explain to her about MY mental health conditions/disabilities and through the artwork of so many children displayed on the webpage, it was easy for her to understand and feel more connected. She shared her feeling/concern for me and finally knew what my condition/disability was called which I think is great (thank you a million times!). Congratulations for starting something so wonderful and I hope #DrawDisability reaches all continents! Educating young minds on such a crucial topic through the involvement of artistic skills is a brilliant idea. Well Done!
Messages like these ones demonstrate the profound and powerful positive impact of the campaign, as well as the double nature of the project. On the one hand, #DrawDisability helps teachers and educators to promote awareness within schools, allows children and youth to reflect on disability and inclusion in a creative way, and brings concrete change within educational environments, families, and local communities. On the other hand, #DrawDisability is a massive art initiative that connects children and youth around the world and provides a global stage to express their ideas and feelings on disability and inclusion.
#DrawDisability is now ready for the next step: a selection of drawings will be showcased at the World Education Forum in May 2015 in Incheon, South Korea, and the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COSP-CRPD) in June 2015 in New York, USA. For more information on the campaign visit www.globi-observatory.org/DrawDisability and www.globaleducationfirst.org. The deadline for all submissions will be July 15, 2015 after which date, the general public will be invited to vote their favourite drawings on-line. The most voted drawings be shortlisted and a designated jury will then select a final selection of winning artworks that will be exhibited on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
#DrawDisability brings concrete change within schools, families and local communities, and provides a global stage for children and youth to express their ideas and feelings on disability and inclusion.
[Head picture: “Never Give Up”, Pitchayatida Simaprom, 16, Thailand]
Andrea Pregel is an inclusion professional with experience in disability, development, education, gender and health across Europe and Asia. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Research from the University of Turin (Italy), and an Erasmus Mundus MA/Mgr in Special and Inclusive Education from the University of Roehampton in London (UK), the University of Oslo (Norway) and Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic). He is Co-founder and President of the Global Observatory for Inclusion (GLOBI), and works as Programme Advisor for Social Inclusion and Disability at Sightsavers International.