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Each their art! Talent marries authenticity

ODI’s Inclusive Fair Festival in Niger

By Aida Toye, Voice Linking, Learning and Communications Assistant, Oxfam in Niger

The first Inclusive Fair Festival by ODI, an Innovate and Learn grantee in Niger was held in Niamey in January 2020. It was dubbed Nakassa, ba kassawa ba! which means Disability is not fatal and rightly so. Organised under the theme Innovation and Learning for the flourishing of people with disabilities, this activity was an opportunity to discover and be reminded of the talents and creativity of persons with disabilities in Niger.

The opening ceremony was colourful and brought back fond memories from musical performances of famous singers. Singers like Sabira, a visually impaired woman, Fati Issa who is a woman with physical disability, Moussa Toukou a renowned guitarist with physical disability and Djaz One, an artist with Cerebral Palsy. One thing they have in common: a commitment to the fight against discrimination for persons with disabilities. He entertained the audience with his song on exclusion dedicated to Voice!

For five days, crafts(wo)men with and without disabilities – as the Inclusion Fair Festival is open to everyone – from Niamey, Maradi, Tillabéri and Tahoua, the four Voice intervention areas in Niger, exhibited their magnificent handmade products.

The one performance was interesting as the other one was impressive! There was an amazing choreography with matching steps as well as taekwondo demonstration, done by youth with hearing impairment. Followed by a great fashion show by the visually and hearing impaired community and children who are intellectually different and lastly a friendly competition of Torball as well as seated volleyball. The three panelists who are also rightsholders shared their own inspiring journeys and had a hard time choosing winners!

“I am proud to have heard the three panelists who told us loud and clear that disability is not a fatality” said Assalama Sidi, Country Director of Oxfam in Niger.

In his closing speech, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mr Ikri said, “I am here today first of all because I am a person, and each person is potentially a disabled person. Never again should a person beg on the street because they are disabled”.

The event came to a nice conclusion when the winning teams got trophies and everyone else who participated got a certificate of participation.

See a snippet of this exciting day here

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