By Naoufel Cherkaoui
By Naoufel Cherkaoui
Rabat, May 17, 2012
Activists in Morocco recently arranged workshops for people with special needs in order to offer a theatrical performance reflecting their suffering and their hopes through human rights principles.
The International Institute of Mediterranean Theatre (ATTIS) and Mohamed V University organised the “Ambassadors 2012” event within the framework of the “The Other” theatre initiative on May 4th in Rabat.
“The Ambassadors 2012 demonstration includes students with special needs from various countries and is an occasion for spreading a set of values of dialogue between peoples, citizenship, respect and tolerance among our students,” explained Said Amzazi, dean of the Faculty of Science in Rabat.
He told Magharebia that it was “also an opportunity to point out to our students that there is no difference between an ordinary person and a disabled person”.
“Morocco has participated in all sessions of ‘The Other’ theatre initiative hosted by some European countries in the past, while Morocco hosted it during the last three years,” ATTIS manager Laarbi Elharti told Magharebia.
He added, “We relied in drafting the play on ten principles from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it was performed by about 30 children and teens with special needs in addition to 10 students from the Faculty of Science.”
In turn, the Spanish director of the play, Angela Monleon, told Magharebia, “Through preparation of the play, I had the group with special needs taking part in the play act out some of the ideas linked to human rights principles, where the focus through that work was on the issue of identity. And we came to conclude through it that in the event we lose our identity, we cannot impose recognition of us by the other, at a time when it is necessary to recognise disabled people and get close to them and be sensitive toward them.”
Amina Msefer, president of the Association Parents and Friends of People with Special Needs, told Magharebia, “It is a great experience, especially since there is mixing and exchange, where for two weeks instructors and young people meet in the framework of workshops that resulted in a great play.”
“For us as instructors, we find that people with special needs are able to be creative, and the evidence of that is their performance today, during which they applied everything asked of them during the workshops,” she added.
Amin Saadawi, a Faculty of Science student who took part in the play, said, “I was very excited when presented with the idea of working with a group of children and young people with special needs, particularly as it’s my first experience in this direction.”
“I was able, within a short time, to reach understanding with them, and I discovered that they have a share of intelligence on par with everyone else, and they’re doing what is asked of them well, contrary to prejudices toward this group,” Saadawi said.
Regarding Morocco’s policy toward people with special needs in the field of education, Amzazi said, “Our country respects its students with special needs and is undertaking several initiatives so they feel they are like the rest of their peers. Remember that the holder of the highest average over the past year in the Mathematical Sciences Corps was a disabled person, and he will carry with him always memories including the college’s embrace of him and the extent of his peers’ respect for him.”