Juventafest is becoming part of a movement for inclusion of young people with developmental difficulties

The Theatre Festival Juventafest, which will take place from September 5-9 in Sarajevo, celebrates young people and their diversity in its mission and seeks to provide them with a platform through which their voice can be truly heard. Therefore, as of this year the festival becomes part of the inclusion movement and in collaboration with the Association „Living with Down Syndrome of FBiH“ will enable young people with Down Syndrome to participate in workshops that will be held during Juventafest.

The aim of the workshops is to awaken the empathy among young people, to enable the exchange of experiences and to emphasize the importance of respecting mutual differences.

„What we have been waiting for years is happening on the cultural scene, that cultural manifestations, institutions, and programs on their own initiative include people with Down Syndrome. Equally active inclusion of persons with disabilities in cultural programs is their right, but to what extent it will be respected depends on us adults. Therefore, we were very happy to respond to the invitation of Juventafest and director Jasna Diklić, because we believe that this platform and the joint work of young people will be a huge experience for young people with Down Syndrome as well as for their peers “, says Sevdija Kujović, president of the Association “Living with Down Syndrome of FBiH.“

Workshop Inclusion Expert, actress Alena Džebo, prepared young people with Down Syndrome in a creative way  on the topics that await them at the workshops and made sure that their time spent during the festival becomes a pleasant experience. So at this year’s Juventafest young people will participate in four workshops led by experienced and respected professionals. The workshops are; „Body under a mask“ led by actress and drama pedagogue Slađana Zrnić, “From playing to dancing” under the mentorship of actress Amila Terzimehić, “Musical theatre workshop” by conductor and professor Tijana Vignjević and “Puppetry workshop” led by puppeteer Jasminka Božuta.

Through these workshops in which persons with Down Syndrome also participate, young people will have the opportunity to learn something new about theatre and unleash their creative expression.

“Theatre is a place of freedom where all socially imposed barriers are broken, which is also the goal of inclusion, symbolizing the true and full belonging of every human being as an equal member of the social community. The Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities states that it is the human right of persons with disabilities to participate in cultural life on an equal basis with other persons. Barriers faced by persons with disabilities are created by the community, inappropriate environment and negative attitudes towards the individual’s condition”, the festival organizers point out and therefore it is very important to reiterate that every person in the society has the right to express their certain abilities and skills, as well as the right to diversity and individuality.

The importance of inclusion within the 7th International festival of high school theatre Juventafest was recognized and supported by donations from the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ministry of Culture and Sports – Canton of Sarajevo and Foundation for Musical, Performing and Visual Arts.

By becoming part of the inclusion movement, Juventafest wants to send a strong message to others and invite them to open their doors, because supporting young people with developmental difficulties is a responsibility of us all.

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