On September 22, 2023, a group of young talented artists with hearing and vision impairment organized a concert at Cinema Roma to the public. During the event, the creative potential of the youth with disabilities amused the cinemagoers. Their coordination coupled with zeal, enthusiasm, energy, and versatility was fascinating. The performance of the blind and deaf energizes, surprises, soothes, delights, and shapes the emotional state of the audience. The program aims to promote the social inclusion of the people with disabilities and provide an opportunity to manifest their potential. The concert of the deaf and blind artists enhances their development and productivity.
In Eritrea, every person with disabilities has the right to obtain education and work in accordance with the type and degree of disability, education, and ability. The Labour Proclamation of the country contains provisions that directly address disability-related issue. Currently, there are special boarding schools for the deaf and blind students in Asmara, Keren, and Ghinda’e giving elementary and junior level education. The students are then mainstreamed when they reach high school. At national level, Eritrean National Association of the Blind, and Eritrean National Association of the Deaf was established in 1996 and 1998 respectively to provide support and advocate for the rights of people with disability.
Empowering people with disability and increasing public awareness is helpful for the county to achieve its development programs and for the people with disability to achieve their full potential. The blind musicians in stage were empowered, invested with power and they have control over their lives. They all have a positive self-image that is affirmed and sustained. The performance of the blind and deaf artists demonstrates their competence, and they expressed their opinion and emotions honestly through music and dance. As professional musicians, poets, and singers they demonstrated their capacity to live their lives to its fullest potential. They all pass through Sawa to complete high school and earn college degree or diploma. Their educational background and music life gave them the confidence to successfully cope with their environment.
The visually impaired artists have already established an artistical band known as Harem Band. The band is comprised with blind singers, musicians, poets, and writers. Empowering the people with disability saves their energy from falling prey to several dubious and anti-social elements. Empowerment and inclusion of people with disability is an attitudinal process whereby they gain the ability to control their lives. Currently, many people with disabilities are working actively as musicians, poets, singers, educators, administrators, journalists as well as in many other professions.
Written by Simon Weldemichael