December 3 marks International Day of People with Disability. It’s a day in which the people of the world celebrate those with disabilities.
This year at Sunshine Plaza, department store Target hosted a fashion show using people with disabilities to model. The celebration included Sunshine Troupe and Spiral, organisations that help people with disabilities live a fulfilling and independent life.
The individuals who are part of the programs performed three dances on the day, one of the dances being to the song This Is Me, from the award winning movie The Greatest Showman. The song’s focus is about loving and accepting our differences as individuals, it’s about taking control of who we are and being proud of ourselves as a whole. This particular song really stuck out to me as a powerful message to not only the people who were performing to it, but also to everyone around them.
Although most people cannot imagine or even begin to comprehend all the challenges that would come with having a disability, or having a family member or close friend with one, we as humans all suffer from insecurities and coming to terms with our imperfections. In a way it brings us together. Linking to this, another memorable performance was the self-written poem by Tim. The poem discussed the concept of acceptance, togetherness and equality While also speaking about self-love, the piece also used decisive body movement to end in the position that symbolises equality.
When the day was to not only recognise those with disabilities, but also to spread the awareness and message of equality and to challenge this strange idea humans call ‘normal’, I believe that they portrayed these concepts and ideas perfectly.
Throughout my time at this particular event myself, and my work experience partner Ashia, got several interviews from some of the people who were involved in the event. One of the interviewees, who is also a parent to one of the girls who was performing that day, answered our question “How was your experience with volunteering at this event?” with, “Oh it’s very fulfilling, they are wonderful to work with, they just love performing and it’s just quite an amazing time.”
I believe this was a wonderful response to our question, it shows her appreciation for everyone’s effort to help out and how it made her feel when doing so. She also shows her gratitude to all the people who put in many hours practicing and learning what they were performing, as well as talking about how the performers felt during the lead up to this event. Bringing it back to the meaning of the day and all it represents, I feel this response gives those who need it some form of hope, that there are people out there who are willing to give up their time to help them and see them achieve, and have the utmost respect for them.
It shows that we are living in a new world, a world that is more accepting, that is loving, caring and nurturing to everyone and everything. It’s a new world of change.
This experience, for me, has been really eye opening in some ways. Having these one on one interviews with these people and hearing about all that they have achieved and done in their life, to hear about their unwillingness to ever give up is truly moving. It’s a lesson that each and every one of us can learn.
People of today choose to give up so easily, they aren’t willing to change or grow, they want the easy way out. Watching the Sunshine Troupe performers be able to do everything they have, and achieve everything they have, should be a big message to everyone that there are no excuses, there are no limits to what you can do. We decide what we want to do and don’t want to do, and when we don’t want to do something we find excuses or reasons not to do it, and that mindset will never get us anywhere.
This Fashion Parade showed everyone that we need to love, not only everyone for who they are, but ourselves as well. It shows us that we need to support everyone and show gratitude to everyone, and finally that there are no limits or excuses to what we do.
Jace Ryan – Work Experience