Fireworks at Special Schools Festival

HARARE - Organisers say the forthcoming third edition of the Special Schools Arts Festival set for June 14 at the Band Shell Stage in the Harare Gardens will be the best to date.

The unique arts festival for school children with disabilities has a diverse programme that includes music, drama, visual arts, fabrics, painting, sculpture and crafts.

Schools that are taking part in this year’s festival include Copota, Mrewa, Jairos Jiri Kadoma, St. Giles Special School, Emerald Hill School, Danhiko, Leornard Cheshire, Munashe Special School, Southerton as well as ZimCARE schools from Harare, Bulawayo and Kadoma.

Festival founder and director Trust Mutekwa told the Daily News that the festival was inspired by the depth of talent that children with disabilities have demonstrated over the years.

“In the absence of avenues of artistic expression within special schools, we decided to hold a festival that provides opportunities for the children to grow their art and showcase their achievements outside the classroom setting. The forthcoming edition will be the best ever,” said Trust Mutekwa.

Mutekwa said the initiative is meant to prepare the children for sustainable decent livelihoods and independence while celebrating their achievements, abilities and contributions to society.

“The festival is a platform for addressing stigma and discrimination against the disabled in our society. It is designed to motivate school children with disabilities to explore the avenues of art, help them discover what their inner selves hold and to develop their skills,” he said.

The arts showcase that runs under the theme Breaking Barriers combines performances, exhibitions, workshops and interaction among participants, arts educators, established artists and members of the public.

In order to promote social inclusion and peer interaction of school children with disabilities and their counterparts in the mainstream school system, children from three schools in Highfield in Harare will perform traditional dance and mbira music at this year’s festival.

The arts showcase, which seeks to promote the participation of children with disabilities in the mainstream creative industry, is being supported by the Partnership for Arts and Culture Development, a programme of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust which is co-funded by the European Union and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

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