Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities with Keystone Moldova

Taking a rights-based approach, Keystone Moldova promotes inclusion, builds sustainable community-based support systems, and advocates alongside people with disabilities.

Youth Time marks the 3rd of December- International Day of Persons with Disabilities, by interviewing Lina MalcociKeystone Moldova, who is coordinating social theatre activities about the involvement of young volunteers in the fight against the discrimination of persons with disabilities through Social Theatre performances.

Founded in 2004 by Keystone Human Services International, Keystone Moldova has a strong history of promoting human rights, working toward inclusion, and establishing community-based systems of social care services.

Partnering with national and local governments and advocates, Keystone Moldova works to reform the social protection system and develop sustainable community-based services so people with disabilities can leave the institutions and live valued lives in the community with full access to their human rights.

Taking a rights-based approach, Keystone Moldova promotes inclusion, builds sustainable community-based support systems, and advocates alongside people with disabilities.

Malcoci saves a special place for the work that they are doing in the social theatre activities about the involvement of young volunteers in the fight against the discrimination of persons with disabilities through Social Theatre performances.

In this piece, she also briefs us with the impressions of the children about the social theatre.

Performance children 17

Forum Theatre Fighting Discrimination and Starting a Dialogue

Initially, Malcoci, elaborates on how the Theatre benefits the youth plus people with disabilities.

In 2012, she recalls, Keystone Moldova created the theatre troupe Alternativ, and by now five Forum Theatre troupes Alternativ have been created, in different regions of the country.

Alternativ performs Forum theatre (a technique of Theatre of the Oppressed, created by Augusto Boal), to solve social problems that exist in the community.

So far, Alternativ worked with two social problems:

  • to decrease / prevent discrimination of persons with disabilities;
  • to decrease / prevent the phenomenon of bullying.

“Through these performances, the actors and the audience identify solutions to stop and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities / bullying and change their attitudes.”, she explains. 

According to her, Forum Theatre brings up a problem that is relevant for the audience

“The skit has characters that public can recognize, that exist in reality, in a situation of discrimination / bullying: the oppressed; the oppressor; the ally; the witness plus the JOKER – he discusses with public, makes the dialogue between actors and the public to work.”

“The situations presented on stage do take place in reality – the audience recognizes them.”

Ten skits are created by volunteers, during the training and are performed twice. The second time, the audience can get on stage and play solutions to stop the presented problem. 

This is done in this way so the audience rehearses their own reality, they can try different solutions to solve the social problem and they can see what is the best solution, that works, that changes the situation for the better.

“Forum theatre starts a dialogue between oppressors and the oppressed.”

The important thing, she goes on, is that every skit is created for its own audience.

“Because the situation presented on stage should be real and the audience should identify themselves with the characters. So, we have skits created for: school children, school teachers and parents, kindergarten teachers and parents.”

Until now, they have prepared and provided 13 Forum Theatre workshops, trained 176 volunteers; including 11 volunteers with disabilities and volunteers from vulnerable groups. 

Alternativ performed 164 Forum Theatre sessions, throughout the entire country. Nine Forum Theatre skits were created (for different audiences).

Participants: 5832 pupils, 637 school teachers, 889 parents, 149 kindergarten teachers. They found 2 237 solutions to stop the oppression.

performance teachers parents 7

Solutions Through the Eyes of Children, Teachers and Parents

In this part of the interview with Youth Time, she brings into discussion some of the solutions found by children, teachers and parents.

 

Some of the solutions found by children:

“If we get involved, offer a little support and stop ignoring discrimination, things will change!”

“With kindness, every person does understand!”

“People with disabilities do not need pity, just understanding! We are all human!”

“Sometimes, indifference also generates aggression!”

“Soon, we will finish school and will start our journey into the wide world. Forum Theatre taught us how to behave in society.”

“Aggression is not a solution!”

“Forum Theatre shows us how to solve the problems we face daily.”

“Everyone should get involved and support people with disabilities – teachers, colleagues, parents, and the principal. Then the bully will understand how wrong they are and will stop the discrimination”.

“Soon we will finish school and start our journey into the wide world. Thanks to Forum Theatre, we know how to behave and advocate for ourselves and for our rights. We understand how to stop discrimination.”

Workshop 5

Solutions found by teachers and parents

“Every child learns in his own way. Everyone needs time and equal opportunity.”

“When children are together, it is easier for them to learn.”

“Teachers are responsible for discovering children’s talents and helping them grow.”

“Kindergarten children do not discriminate and do not see differences. We, the parents, should learn acceptance from our kids.”

“It’s hard to change the society, but it’s possible, if we start the change from each of us!”

“This performance changed our attitude towards a lot of things…”

 “At every performance, the public would appeal to humanity and kindness, and equality, support, friendship, help and sympathy.

 

Celebrating Today’s Date in the Calendar

Malcoci believes that every person deserves to have a valued life in the community.

“It is important to start a dialogue, to get involved. Often, at the performances, children would say: “We are all the same. There is no difference between us. We should not be indifferent or ignorant. If we get involved, things will change”.

She is of the opinion that this is important for all people to understand this.

“Also, I like the reaction of adults to our performances: “It’s hard to change the society, but it’s possible, if we start the change from each of us!”.

 

Pictures courtesy of Grese Sermaxhaj, and Keystone Moldova.


Back in January 2021 we highlighted the work of the Precious Inspire Organization; a reading clinic based in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, tailored for children with the aim of inspiring them to achieve their dreams.

Check it out: Precious Inspire Organization: Ghana’s Hope to Improve Reading Among Children

Precious Inspire Organization: Ghana’s Hope to Improve Reading Among Children


 

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