A small group of disabled students had a grassroots comics workshop in the VAMLAS student housing unit in Lauttasaari in Helsinki in January. The VAMLAS Foundation promotes inclusion, study and work opportunities for youths with disabilities (read more at www.vamlas.fi )
These were also the themes that the participants made comics about. They all had lots of thoughts of what stories they wanted to make. The morning started with frantic discussions, and at the end of the day there were poignant comics on the wall, for all of us to admire. The process seemed almost effortless.
A few details from the workshop:
Ellu's story is about a severely disabled student that frightened her teacher by her appearance and was then ignored in the class. The student made a very determined effort and got good grades. In the last panel the teacher concludes: “So, even that one seems to learn”.
Kira made her story about a disabled person that, after some doubt, was given a job. She is good at her job and the manager is positively surprised.
Noora's story is about a boy who asks his mother why the disabled person looks so funny. His mother says “get into the car!” and they speed off. The disabled person wonders what explanation the mother gives to the boy in the car.
SV made a story about the treshold disabled persons face when going for further studies.
Minna’s story gives an example of how a person in a wheelchair can share her reaching aid with a colleague.