A night like no other and one to remember is expected on November 29, as Troup of Handicap Persons Twuzuzanye (THT) and Fondation Kontinental, will for the first time present a regional fashion show for people living with disabilities, in Kigali.
The maiden fashion show for people living with disabilities dubbed, ‘Toza Fier’, loosely translated ‘we are proud’, is slated for November 29 at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (formerly Camp Kigali), and will bring together designers and other players in the fashion industry.
Organised in partnership with the National Council of People with Disabilities (NCPD), the ceremony, its organisers said, seeks to advocate for social inclusion and a change of how people with disabilities are viewed and treated.
Featuring a diverse cast of models living with various disabilities, the event is in line with celebrations of the International Week for people with disabilities on November 29.
The show will bring together participants from Kenya,
Uganda, DR Congo, Ivory Coast and host country Rwanda.
According to Joackim Malu Malu, the fashion coordinator, people with disabilities are often left out of mainstream initiatives, forcing them to feel invisible and unheard.
“We want people to understand that disability is not inability…that mindset should change. Most of these have incredible talents, and they have the potential to contribute to the creative industry if given an opportunity and a platform to take part,” Malu Malu told The New Times.
‘Toza Fier’ is an annual fashion event organised by a Congolese event management company since 2015, and has been hosted in different countries to advocate for people with disabilities.
A total of 20 models with disabilities were selected to showcase different collections by local and foreign designers during the event. They include 10 males and 10 females.
“The selected models are persons with disabilities with the passion for fashion and modelling. Our models are so excited about the event, and their talent should be recognised and supported,” Malu added.
According to the organsiers, the event is aimed to highlight the need for accessibility and more diverse and authentic representation of people with disabilities in the fashion scene.
Some of the designers who have already confirmed their participation include local fashion house Mundi Designn as well as Ugandan designers LG Novida and TMP Empire.
The event is free, and it will be spiced up by music performances. ‘Toza Fier’ is expected to be an annual event in Rwanda, to help tackle to stereotype surrounding people living disabilities.