Nataša Mauko Zimšek
Slovenian Association of Disabled Students
Photo exhibition and stories of 12 young disabled women will be prepared, to show society that these women are also attractive and strong and are able to contribute to society. These young women will share their life stories with high school students so that the students could see that disabled people also have dreams, goals, hobbies and that despite many barriers in society, they try to live a full, active and satisfying life.
Smaller towns and villages in the northeast of Slovenia
Women with disabilities are oftentimes seen as unattractive, having little or no ambition and social life. The society often just sees that they need help and not what they can contribute. The aim of the initiative is to show that young disabled women are full of life, attractive, ambitious and good partners or wives. From our own experience and the experience of our members, we see that disabled women are often considered good friends and good company, but less as sexually attractive and equal partners. This is the stereotype we would like to break, especially among young people who are just starting with their serious relationships and enable young disabled women to have a more prominent role in society as girlfriends, fellow students, wives, mothers, colleagues.
1. Young women with disabilities – sharing their experiences, stories, making proposals for positive change
2. Secondary school students and staff in the 12 secondary schools in the northeast of Slovenia – seeing and acknowledging the situation of disabled women, reflecting how they can personally contribute to the positive changes in their local communities
3. Local (young) people – hearing about the lives, aspirations, and goals of disabled women as well as about their challenges and reflecting what can be changed in the local communities to enable wider access for people with disabilities
Professional photos with collaboration of photographer, make-up artist, hairdresser and evening attires and also stories of 12 disabled women with various types and degrees of disabilities will be prepared. They will be used as materials for exhibition in schools and other public places and for desk calendar. We will visit 12 schools in the northeast of Slovenia, where the students and staff will be able to hear the stories of these women, talk to them and meet them in person so that people will get to know their talents, abilities, wishes and goals, as well as the barriers and special needs. After we have visited all the schools, we will arrange an exhibition in one of the public organizations, such as a youth centre or library, so that other people will also be able to learn about this.
- Awareness among young people that disabled women are part of society, that they have their own goals and dreams, and that they are attractive and independent women despite their disability
- Young people (secondary school students) are the future of our society and we believe this experience will make them more sensitive and open to the needs and abilities of disabled women, not only in life in general but also in their professions
- Boosting the self-esteem and self-confidence of disabled women
- Disabled women will have a better awareness of their own femininity and attractiveness
Young disabled women will be able to be more present, active, and successful in the social life of their community when the community will have a greater awareness about their needs and abilities and their contribution will be more valued. Young people will be more open and accepting towards disabled women and disable people in general, and in time the whole community will have a more open and welcoming approach. On the other hand, being accepted and valued by society will give young disabled women the drive and the confidence to do more, be more active, and thus have a positive impact on their own lives.
As hard as we try to lead as normal and active life, we cannot help to notice that despite many positive changes, we are still faced with double discrimination – that based on disability and that on gender and that the interaction of the two really puts us in a challenging position. That is why we would like to present ourselves, first and foremost as people – putting our abilities and positives in the forefront and not focusing so much on what we cannot do or how helpless people believe we are.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
1. Preparation of photo exhibition and stories 17.700
- Preparation of photos and stories 5.000
- Picture stands 1.200
- Dresses and shoes for the disabled women 10.000
- Hair and make up 1.500
2. Promotional materials 11.800
3. Travel costs 4.000
4. Management and implementation 16.500
We would like to know the experiences of other disabled young people and what they are doing to change attitudes and remove barriers for participation. We also welcome ideas from non-disabled people how they see a society where everyone has equal opportunities for participation and civic engagement.