Disabled youth unleash their inner artist at UNbacked camp in Thailand

23 July 2010Hundreds of Thai children and young people, including many with disabilities, have gathered today in the country’s northeast to take part in a five-day United Nations-backed art camp that will feature classes in music, dance, literature, painting and drawing. The annual Art for All Camp, which runs in the town of Pak Chong until next Tuesday, aims to boost the social and development skills of the participants so they can learn how to become more self-reliant and improve their quality of life.During the camp, art teachers and volunteers will conduct classes for hundreds of children and youth, including some with disabilities and many from the country’s different ethnic tribes and from the three southern-most provinces of Thailand.Some of the art work produced at the camp will be used as promotional materials in the lead-up to a major meeting in 2012 on the Asia-Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons.The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has helped organize the camp in collaboration with the Art for All Foundation, Thailand’s culture ministry and authorities in Nakhon Ratchasima province, where the event is being staged.Shigeru Mochida, ESCAP’s Deputy Executive Secretary, told today’s opening ceremony that the commission is keen to support people with disabilities by helping to equalize opportunities and create societies that are more inclusive and barrier-free.He described the camp as “an event that has broken many social barriers. It provides a forum for young people with disabilities to express their ideas and aspirations. The art that you will create at the camp will serve as a potent expression of a future that you will help to shape.”

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