Children living with disability display their talents at annual fete

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Children with disability displaying their dancing skills. / All photos by Diane Mushimiyimana.

Poetess Ange Theonestine Ashimwe, now a Senior Five student at Cyabingo High School in Gakenke, has been physically disabled from childhood. Though she moves in a wheelchair her disability hasn’t prevented her from honing her talent as a poetess.

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The New Life Children’s Choir entertains guests during the event.

Ashimwe is one of the talented children with disabilities who graced the children with disabilities talent show in Kigali, last week.

In her message, she said disability does not prevent her from being the best she can be.

She recited a touching poem, titled, ‘A Walk to Remember’, which highlights the struggles, stigma and isolation, as well as the positive aspirations of people with disabilities.

The show was organised by UNICEF Rwanda in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts Group. This was during celebrations to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities held on December 3, under the theme, “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all.”

The event kicked off with an art and craft exhibition featuring products made by persons with disabilities as traditional drummers entertained guests.

Throughout the show, children with disabilities entertained guests with poetry, traditional drumming and dancing, singing, other performances.

The presentations involved collaborations between fully able children and youth, alongside their counterparts living with disability. This, officials explained, sought to create a mutually inclusive environment.

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Athanase Sibomana with a hearing impairment exhibits his paintings. 

Oreste Mfitinshuti, a traditional drummer with albinism impairment, said they appreciate the space they were given to showcase their talents.

“This is an occasion to show the people that we have disability but we can do something which can be helpful to others. We are as talented as any other person, ’’he said.

Mfitinshuti called on stakeholders to do more and support children with disability at a young age to develop their talents and enable them to become in dependent citizens.

The evening wound up with a closing performance from local R&B singer Peace Jolis, after which guests were treated to refreshments.