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More photos of the event can be found at Donkey Bakery’s Facebook page. Please check out:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.783936921670087.1073741841.100170703380049&type=1

Last Wednesday evening, Donkey Bakery in partnership with CSDS (Center for Sustainable Development Studies) organized a special screening of “Lives Worth Living”, a documentary that follows the Disability Rights Movement in the United States and how people with disabilities (one of the largest minorities in the US) rallied together to demand equal civil rights and opportunities. This eventually resulted in the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act–one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation in America’s history.

After the screening, a powerful group discussion was held where participants shared their views on how to create more awareness regarding the stigma of disability, the importance of solidarity, support systems, and community in order to feel empowered, and the difference between charity and helping.

More than 60 people from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds had packed into Donkey Bakery’s café for this event, where the discussion was communicated and interpreted in three languages (Vietnamese, English, and Vietnamese Sign Language) by volunteer translators in order to have a more inclusive discussion. Edda, a sketch-noter, had also drawn a large, visual representation of important ideas and topics being discussed so that participants could view and contribute to the discussion in an alternative, visually appealing way.

With this event, the organizers aimed to contribute to the global discussion surrounding disability by providing a space where individuals could come together and share their thoughts, emotions, and personal struggles surrounding the stigma of disability.

Here is what Jennifer, one of the organizers of the event, had to reflect after the night was over:

As more and more people came through the doors, I realized that we were all participating in something beyond this night. As a collective group, we were taking small steps toward a larger movement where we wanted to discover more about one another as people, an acknowledgement of the inherent human rights of all individuals.

I felt something. A crackling charge in the air as I glanced at all of the familiar and new faces spinning around me in the café.

I felt Hope. I saw Hope.

With deep, shaking breaths, I wanted to control the sense of warmth in my chest. Laughing, crying, or some kind of deep utterance to explain how bright it felt because here we all were in THIS moment sharing our time and experiences and knowledge together.

It was unexpected to see how many people here tonight, and I was touched. I didn’t know until after the night was over, but I was seeking affirmation in humanity. And I found it. Even though change doesn’t happen overnight, last night was proof that people want change…

Let’s keep building.

We would like to give our most heartfelt thanks to all of the folks that came out to the event! A special shout out would also like to go to Trang for capturing moments with her camera, Edda for sketch-noting, and Giang and Thang for translating in sign as well as our other interpreters for the event!

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If you’d like to learn more about disability and the stigma of disability within the context of Vietnam, please check out the following sources:

“Economic costs of living with disabilities and stigma in Viet Nam” by the Institute of Social Development Studies (ISDS) addresses the cumulative relationships among disability, stigma and poverty:
http://www.aspeninstitute.org/sites/default/files/content/docs/agent-orange/Economic_Costs_of_Living_with_Disability_and_Stigma_in_Vietnam_AUG-10-2013.pdf

“People with Disabilities in Viet Nam” by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provides a brief socio-economic profile of disability in Vietnam based on data from a 2009 population and housing census:
http://unfpa.org/webdav/site/vietnam/shared/Disability_ENG.pdf

Law on Persons with Disabilities in Vietnam:
http://www.moj.gov.vn/vbpq/en/_layouts/printeng.aspx?id=10482

“World Report on Disability” by the World Health Organization (WHO):
http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report/en/

“Inclusion Made Easy: A Quick Program Guide to Disability in Development” by CBM which focuses on disability-inclusive development principles and disability inclusion across a range of of development sectors:
http://www.cbm.org/article/downloads/78851/CBM_Inclusion_Made_Easy_-_complete_guide.pdf

 

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