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Disabled New Zealanders Inspire Youth

2 April 2007

Disabled New Zealanders Inspire Youth

‘My Story’, a festival launching 28 multimedia presentations made by Year 7/8 children, is part of the ‘Our Stories’ project, supported by CCS and the Lion Foundation.

‘My Story’ involved Year 7 and 8 children meeting people with disabilities and interviewing them about their lives and their disability. Twenty eight small groups then made two minute multimedia presentations which play via computer using photos, text and in some cases, voiceovers.

Oli, a Year 8 student from Discovery 1 School, and his friends Harry and Isabella made, “Steve – Under the Skin”, about Steve Roome, subject of the book ‘The Man With No Arms and Other Stories’.

“It was really fun and enlightening. Steve’s great. We didn’t see him as ‘The Man with No Arms’, meeting him gave us the heads up on how real life can be for everybody,” said Oli. “He counts money, uses a computer, and plays Playstation with his feet. He even rides a bike that’s especially designed for him. Before I often saw people in wheelchairs and thought ‘they don’t deserve that’ – now I won’t feel sorry for them,” he said.

The workshops were run by Christchurch’s COCA Gallery’s Alan Cathro and Bridgit Anderson, Christchurch-based photographer. Both felt the teachers and students really valued the project and brought them face to face with the experience of disability.

“The message we wanted to promote was one of inclusion – people first. I expected pupils to be a lot more curious about the names and labels of disabilities and the things that people can’t do, but this wasn’t the case. Students were more interested in finding out how people with disabilities do the same things but in different ways,” said Alan Cathro.

All twenty eight presentations will be launched by Viv Maidaborn, CEO of CCS, at a festival on Tuesday 3 April at 4.30pm at COCA Gallery in Christchurch.
“So often we think disability is only about disabled people, but actually it’s much more about each of us and how we include disabled people in our lives. What this project, and the outcome of the multimedia presentation has shown us, is that young New Zealanders are learning the vital attitudes and skills of understanding diversity,” said Viv Maidaborn.

The ‘Our Stories’ project included the ‘The Man With No Arms and Other Stories’ book, the ‘My Name is…’ photographic exhibition, a website, and the ‘My Story’ workshops for children. CCS is so excited with the success of the children’s workshops, the organisation is now taking the them nationwide.


Further Information – “The Man With No Arms and Other Stories”

Glenn Busch has spent 40 years using a camera – and later a tape recorder – to gather the stories of people he meets along the way. Currently a senior lecturer at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, he is also director of the A Place In Time documentary project. He is the author of Working Men, You Are My Darling Zita and My Place.

Hanne Johnsen was born above the Arctic Circle in Norway in 1973. Her first major exhibition, The Ninth Year, arose from her interest in the life of young people and the importance of those early years. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2003 and since that time has worked with CCS Canterbury West Coast compiling a portfolio of work to be used in the area of disability awareness.

“The Man With No Arms” available from all good bookshops
Also available from CCS Canterbury or email mrossiter@canterbury.ccs.org.nz
Recommended price $39.99

www.ourstories.co.nz

CCS Background Information

CCS works in partnership with disabled people, their families and whanau to ensure equality of opportunity, quality of life and an environment that enhances full community integration and participation.

CCS exists to make a difference for disabled people, their families and whanau by removing barriers to inclusion and by offering support to disabled people to access all ordinary opportunities in their communities. Our community is made up of disabled people and their families and whanau, who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. We include all people who face barriers to inclusion on the basis of disability and who want to access the disability support services we provide.

Reflecting the commitment in the New Zealand Disability Strategy – Making A World of Difference Whakanui Oranga [Minister for Disability Issues April 2001], a key expectation of CCS work is that the New Zealand community grows its capacity to ensure that disabled people have the same rights, choices, opportunities and safeguards as other citizens.

CCS operates with a National Office and regional management structure, providing services nationally from 16 incorporated societies. We deliver regular services to over 6,000 people with disabilities making us one of the largest disability support service providers in New Zealand. CCS works closely with other disability agencies to ensure we make best use of shared knowledge and resources, helping us to adopt best practice across the sector.

ENDS

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