On March 9, a photo shoot for mothers and parents with their children took place in the community centre in Bilk as part of the celebration of the International Women’s Day. The event was aimed specifically at families with children “with and without disabilities”. The invitation was accepted by many parents, so that it became an exceptionally successful afternoon with a pleasant atmosphere. Many photos were taken and a lot of new contacts were made. Special thanks goes to the photographer Mehmet Nastradin and in the following gallery you can get an impression of the results.
In order to give the parents of children with a physical or mental disability, the opportunity to take some time off, two women from Düsseldorf who are committed to inclusion and integration on a daily basis have teamed up: Aneliya Kolova, Head of the Family Support Service of the AVP Association and Elizabeth Queen Drews, employed by the City of Düsseldorf and responsible for neighbourhood management and intercultural education.
“Queen and I have been looking for a project that we can implement together for quite some time,” says Aneliya Kolova from AVP. “Inclusion is an issue that is dear to both of us, and Women’s Day is the perfect occasion for us to give all mothers a gesture of support and recognition for the work they do every day in their families. It is also our aim to show all parents that they can benefit from such offers and that the disability of their children is not an obstacle. Their children must also be perceived by others as part of society and parents as well as children should be given the opportunity to get to know other families in a relaxed atmosphere”.
“On this day we want to show that children do not have to be regarded as an obstacle to participation in society,” says Elizabeth Queen Drews. “Many women are mothers and sometimes feel restricted by their families, regardless of whether one of her children is disabled or not. That’s why we organized childcare, snacks and drinks on Saturday. In this way the mothers can calmly treat themselves, prepare their make-up and have photos taken while their children are in good care.”
The invitation was addressed to “mothers and parents”, but of course fathers who brought their children and spouses were also welcome at the event.
“On the way to successful inclusion, we must learn to compare ourselves not only with our disadvantages, but also with our strengths,” explains Aneliya Kolova of AVP. “All people have a lot of valuable things to give that they can contribute to society, and of course people with disabilities are as well part of this. To recognize this, we have to create platforms of encounter.”
For Elizabeth Queen Drews the handling of this topic is a natural part of life from an early age on, as her own brother is affected by a disability. ” Thanks to my family, I have learned to deal with this subject in a relaxed manner and of course to take people with disabilities just as seriously and treat them as normally as everyone else. It may even be possible for us to learn and see from the supposedly weaker ones: there is a person with a physical disability, but internally he or she holds himself or herself so upright that he or she appears much stronger than I do, and in this way I can set an example for myself.”