Raising awareness for supported employment – the Žilina culture festival for disabled people
September 3rd – 5th, 2014 Supported Employment (SUPPE) partnership met in Slovakian Žilina at partner QUALED. Place and date were carefully chosen as at that time the so called “Jasidielna festival “took place for the 24th time. The event is truly extraordinary as it is a culture festival for persons with mental disabilities. All those people are more than welcome to be creative at the festival, no matter if it is acting, painting, sculpturing, making music. They find a very broad minded audience. During SUPPE meeting several squares in the center of Žilina were busy with over 200 festival participants from Ireland, Turkey, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Portugal, Germany, France and Argentina as well as hundreds of visitors. The atmosphere was relaxed and welcoming.
But what was interesting under the “Supported Employment headline”? “In the end the festival is an awareness raising event for disabled persons and their abilities”, says Jana Butekova, manager at Slovakian project partner QUALED. “It gets visible for everybody that disabled people have skills like crafts skills, team spirit and – creativity. All these skills are necessary for employment, so for us at Žilina the festival is much more than an inclusion event. Clearly there are a number of additional effects, though they may be indirect ones.”
Rather direct are effects at “Artforum”, a bookstore close to central Marianske square, where many events take place. The booksellers confirm the economic dimension as they get many customers who do not come otherwise. This time, Arabian fairy tales were told in front of the book store and people visited the store afterwards as a broad variety of books about storytelling and fairy tales were displayed in the shop windows. In the evening music bands with many disabled musicians played at Marianske square and all attending Supported Employment partners agreed, that music business might be a very successful employment area for disabled persons.
More about Jasidielna festival: http://www.tikzilina.eu/186.1/jollieworkshop-jasidielna/
(article written by Karin Drda-Kühn / Association Culture & Work)