Unified Art Fair to Create Skills and Inclusion
Wadzanai and Nyasha are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Zimbabwe who will be leading a Youth Innovation Project to start a Unified Art Fair in their community. Others in their community often have the opportunity to display their talents in different exhibitions, whether it be art or agriculture, yet none of these current exhibitions include people with intellectual disabilities. But Wadzanai and Nyasha believe that it is important for their neighbors to see that people with intellectual disability “are able to create extraordinary things.” They believe that a Unified Art Fair “will help in breaking the barrier of discrimination, rejection and stigmatization through interaction, thus creating inclusive communities in Zimbabwe.”
Wadzanai and Nyasha also hope that training in the various categories of art will teach people with intellectual disabilities life skills that they can take on a career path. The categories that will be on display in the Unified Art Fair are frequently used in Zimbabwe, including beading, pottery, drawing, painting, weaving and knitting. Wadzanai and Nyasha are “so excited that new talents will be unleashed” and “cannot wait to see what each and every participant will bring as an exhibition. The idea that the participants will be able to learn, discover and believe in themselves and come up with a piece of art” is what excites them the most.
Alongside the art training and exhibitions, there will be a fundraiser car wash on the day of the Unified Art Fair, along with an inclusive Zumba dance class to promote fitness. Overall, the Unified Art Fair hopes to simultaneously promote independence through life skills training, promote fitness and innovation, and promote inclusion of Special Olympics athletes into the community. It will be piloted in Harare at a local school for approximately 300 people, but from 2019 and beyond, Wadzanai and Nyasha hope that each province in Zimbabwe will host a Unified Art Fair.
According to Wadzanai and Nyasha, “Being part of a global Unified Generation has given us an opportunity to make a difference in our communities. We have been given the chance to preach inclusion to our families.” They are excited to spread this message of inclusion to their community and the world with their Youth Innovation Project.