Calculations establish that 12% of the population suffers from some type of disability. Sooner or later, we will all experience a physical or intellectual problem, but, paradoxically, these people are invisible to the rest of society unless the problem affects someone close to them. For two days, the Parc des Expositions hosts the first meeting of all the sectors concerned – from users to their carers or family members – who seek to break this dynamic. Visibles 22 invites the inhabitants of Tenerife to experience disability and see how 62 entities on the island work with it.
The President of the Cabildo, Pedro Martín, and the Minister of Social Action, Marián Franquet, inaugurate this first island forum.
Pedro Martín assures: “We don’t know and we tend to classify the collective or look at it from the point of view of the limits, but it’s much more.” The president of the island recognizes his pride in contributing to initiatives like this which help to integrate and value “the good that we have in our society”. He also stresses “the importance of going hand in hand with the entities to achieve this objective”.
For her part, Marián Franquet recalls that the doors are open to the public, in general, so that they can learn firsthand about the different realities and disabilities, with all the diversity that this implies.
The color orange dominates, that of the claim of rights which today more than ever demands respect. Many wheelchairs and in the background a batucada which amuses the curious, not too much at noon because most visitors are expected in the afternoon and especially today. Music and stage activities presented by journalist Eva García.
The most repeated word is “super” when asking for an assessment of the initiative to bring together the actors concerned by the disability. There are 20 scheduled workshops, lectures or first-person testimonials. All free like the entrance to the establishment.
Juan is a teacher at the Colegio del barrio de Salamanca, in Santa Cruz. Guide twenty children of 3rd grade (8 years old) having fun at the stand of the Juegaprende association the Canary Islands. Marina, the instructor, explains that they have been there to enjoy the workshop with all kinds of school educational games or people with functional disabilities. Juan takes his boys to another post. Follow the route.
Another group of children ride in wheelchairs to see what the world looks like from there on a particular road course. We also notice that they appreciate it.
Carmen Nieves transfers Alba and Tania, users of the Probosco day center (they also have a residence and apartments), to the exit. She is the driver of the bus that takes them home or to school. They are already at 18 in a task that “gratifies me”.
Melanie, social worker at the Acquired Brain Injury Association of Tenerife, explains the concept of rehabilitation to recover with a multidisciplinary team. A quote from Hippocrates displayed on a poster says it all: “There is no brain injury too slight to ignore or too serious to lose hope.” Mélanie summarizes “this opportunity to meet and network, as well as to make visible what we do”.
In Trisómicos 21, Luis (42), Santiago (37) and Ana (27), with Down syndrome (she is one of the 60 users) proudly and enthusiastically show off their handicrafts and paintings. Acufade caregivers also have a space to collect signatures to dignify their work. Nuria, Cindy and Carmen confirm that the initiative “is great”.
The Psychopedagogical Center of San Juan de Dios, with the volunteer Lía and the educator Sara in charge, shows the work of the children throughout the year. Two of them are present, Julián and Nazaret.
Juan Carlos leads the group at the Los Verodes occupation center in La Laguna, which has 60 users. They also show off their course work as the big heads of curious craftsmen. Candelaria (55 on the 21st) has been at the center since 2019. She acts as a spokesperson for the group and is also a salesperson at the organic farming stand they have at headquarters. Juan Carlos judges the meeting “excellent” because “we are seen, something that is not usual”.
The wheelchair zumba workshop is spectacular. The members of Queremos Moversos, with their orange t-shirts, bring the best repeated repertoire into the exchange thanks to Titsa. They are reinforced by many people present, all under the direction of Agus, the instructor. Eva, hard worker, enjoy. Like Juan, monitor of the Messengers of Peace.
Ana Mengíbar (We Want to Move) values a “magnificent idea” especially for groups “with few resources”. There are many, he says, “more than you might think”. Sentence: “It’s nothing. They will see tomorrow (for today)”.
Exactly today, starting at 4:00 p.m., the fairgrounds host a final party for all that includes a performance by composer and singer Moise González and his orchestra.
Life in photos in the interchange
In the acts of the collective We Want to Move to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (tomorrow 3), today, at 11:00 a.m., the interchange of Santa Cruz hosts the inauguration of a photographic exhibition under the title Personal Assistants, piece key to achieve inclusion. The exhibition can be visited until the 9th. It reports on situations in which, duly helped by professionals, these people can develop autonomous and independent life projects. The 54 photos were taken by Estíbaliz Meléndez. In 2001 he exhibited his first portraits of people for whom disability is normalized and in 2012 he embarked on another of his passions: restoring old or damaged photos. Queremos Movernos thanks the students of the various courses of the IES La Laboral de La Laguna for their collaboration. Also to Titsa “to be, once again, with us. Always attentive listening”. The sample is a reality thanks to the sponsorship of the murga Las Marchilongas, which in 2021 allocated the grant it received from Fiestas for its participation in the Virtual Carnival to four NGOs and “we were lucky to be the one of them”. Solidarity women “who, historically, have positioned themselves alongside our collective and have given the example of sensitivity towards the blind to whom they describe their costume as part of the competition”.