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The 2nd festival of little People

By Sitan COULIBALY, Voice Linking, Learning and Communications Officer at OXFAM – Mali.

NGO GADEC, an Innovation and Learning partner, has been able to design a process for maintaining the festival of little people, even though this 2nd edition was not budgeted in their contract with Voice. 

In 2019, GADEC organized the very first edition of the festival of little people as an innovation and new approach. The festival was so successful with the community that GADEC managed to organize the second edition this year with a major innovation in the program – an evening dedicated to dance competitions as shown in the picture below!

For a whole week, GADEC hosted around fifty little people from various districts of the region at their headquarters in Segou. The week was not only rich in learning but in creating friendships between the participants themselves. 

Sambele Diarra (photo above) was one of the participants who organized the dance and competition of the Miss and Mister little person. At 20, she had to leave school because she faced various forms of discrimination as she was the only little person in her village, district of San, Ségou region. But thanks to her interaction with GADEC, she gained a lot of self-confidence. Furthermore, after talking on national television, she became a star at her school and in her village!

The Handicap project for Fashion and Art is implemented by a consortium consisting of GADEC and the National artistic and cultural group of people with disability in Mali. It uses a new inclusive approach which emphasizes the use of fashion, art and capacity building. The project includes little people, people with disability and marginalized people in Mali. It aims to create artistic and cultural opportunities in Ségou and Bamako for little people and people living with physical disabilities. As a result of the project activities, 2 little people were trained in cutting and sewing, 6 in entrepreneurship; 13 in music and 20 in modelling.

Sambele has received training in hairdressing and in her spare time, she goes to work in the hair salon and is able to support herself. She has become a good activist!

“I use all opportunities to speak out in order to defend our rights and tell the world that we have no reason to be envious of other people,” says Sambele Diarra. 

The winners of Ms and Mr little people, another innovative element of the festival.

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