By Heidi Trautmann
First an idea was born, then the idea became a project. I had already seen the basic idea at one exhibition at EMAA’s Art Centre about a year ago. Figen Inan says: “The idea was to get to know the world of disabled children, to work with them, and finally to make this world visible to society, to the so-called normal people. What is normal and what is disabled? Society declares the rules by which a person is normal. A person is disabled when he/she cannot perform normal social duties or cannot lead a normal life, sustain her/himself and needs the help of others; through mostly unknown circumstances the cell structure is not complete or deformed and I most admire parents who go through with a birth and give their child love and support for their whole life. But, these parents do need help and understanding by society and by associations, and in this case by the passion and engagement of Figen Inan and Neslihan Basaran Aktay.
Seeing the work they have done so far, they have obviously made a deep effort to open the hidden world of this group of our society; the people of this group, what are their dreams, what are their emotions, do they realize what is happening around them; do they feel the sympathy shown by others, how do they react. This is the one side; the other is that society rather looks away from problem zones in their close surroundings. I have often found that people of society rather donate sums of money to starving African children to silence their conscience rather than look at the world at their elbows.
Here, this new project of Neslihan and Figen sets in: to make these two worlds meet, take 100 “normal” children and make them acquainted with 100 “disabled” children; to ask the one to help the other, to be there for each other for a couple of hours, play together, or somehow interact, react.
A wonderful idea!
The group will meet on November 30 at 10:00 at the Sarayonu place in Nicosia and will walk together to the Lokmaci Crossing, hand in hand. From there – about 11.30 they will go together to the Presidential Palace to be invited onto the grounds and to have lunch together; the hostess – and protectress of the project - will be Meral Eroğlu, our First Lady.
I would like to know the thoughts of these children, of all 200, after this event, when they go home. I trust that I will learn about it, one of these days, as I am sure that Neslihan and Figen will follow it up, my love goes with them.