#DrawDisability campaign attracts thousands of drawings from school children

Children with disabilities have the same right to education as everyone else. But about 90% do not go to school in the developing world and those that do go are more likely to drop out than other vulnerable groups.

A global campaign to highlight the struggle many children with disabilities face in getting an education was launched in February.

#DrawDisability asked school children – both with and without disabilities – to highlight the challenges and the successes that people encounter in their schools and communities.

Thousands of drawings flooded in from more than 30 countries – and a selection of them have just been on display in New York, after being shown at the World Education Forum in South Korea.

#DrawDisability is being run by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in partnership with the Global Observatory for Inclusion (GLOBI) and GEFI’s Youth Advocacy Group.

GLOBI co-founder Rolando Villamero Jr said: “Advocacy requires innovation in order for it to be more effective. I believe using visual arts to promote inclusion is in itself an innovation.

“Firstly, it is accessible to everyone because it does not involve any textual language that may become a barrier. Secondly, visual arts specifically drawing is a natural activity for children. Teaching them about disability and inclusion in a natural way is definitely fun and exciting for them. 

“The drawings we have received so far have one very important message – and that is that children just authentically want to be with their peers with or without disabilities. They simply want to play and learn together.

The #DrawDisability exhibition in South Korea Picture: GLOBI

“This simply means that children have no prejudices and that we should provide a nurturing and inclusive space where this is sustained.”

Andrea Pregel, an Italian inclusion advocate from GLOBI, added: “#DrawDisability adopts an accessible language – pencils, crayons, markers, brushes – and gives children and youth the opportunity to reflect and express their opinions on extremely important matters, such as disability and inclusion.

“Interestingly, a great number of the artworks are about helping persons with disabilities. On the one hand, they carry a positive message of acceptance and inclusion. On the other hand, however, they reflect a limited understanding of persons with disabilities as people in need of help. These examples illustrate the importance of awareness-raising activities such as #DrawDisability.”

The deadline for #DrawDisability entries is June 30. The public will be invited to judge the drawings online and the best 30 will be displayed at the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.

You can submit an entry here or by email to [email protected].

Here are some of the drawings that have been shared on Twitter: