With a small and committed team of volunteers for over 18 years Bahrain for all & all for Bahrain (BH4All) have been involved in flagging issues faced by mentally handicapped members of society in Bahrain. Down Syndrome (DS), Intellectual Disability (ID) and other conditions such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia are the most prevalent conditions that cause handicap due to their complexity.
Having personally worked closely for almost four decades with the differently abled and in particular, with the Intellectually Disabled (ID), I have gained insight the fundamental challenges and constraints of this vulnerable and voiceless community. With these aims; since 2002 with the help of friends and colleagues, BH4All has organized events to sensitize and acquaint the general public to the issues faced by this special community, said Nivedita Dhadphale, founder of BH4all and consultnivs.
During 2019 unique summer intervention programme, Ms. Aishu Madduri who is a qualified Art Therapist facilitated a bi-weekly group art making sessions. She brought various themes and techniques to the group, and encouraged everyone to explore their creativity. The nature of the art group was only mildly directive; thereby creating spaces and opportunities for the participants’ own ideas to blossom. The group had experiences of healthy social interactions, good emotional coping skills and self-reflection through art making.
A few of the remarkable changes and achievements noticed were:
- a shift from hyperactivity/chaotic art making to more focused and controlled art making,
- participants using art making as a means to regulate their systems when they felt overwhelmed,
- discovering new ways of communication with non-verbal individuals,
- learning how to function well in a group using sharing, turn taking and being respectful of each other.
As the wave of Corona pandemic hit the Kingdom, BH4All have made face masks using these works of art. The artwork is scanned and then adjusted to fit into a mask. The material used is breathable dri-fit with two layers of felt in the centre for added protection. The masks are completely washable. Everything is made in Bahrain and 100% of the profits from the sale will be channelled back for the betterment of the differently abled community that BH4 All is proud to call our extended family. Their talent is showed off and they receive an opportunity to feel like productive members of society. Currently BH4All has 10 designs of face masks to choose from. They are BD2.500 each. By selling these items we can literally show this very special group their contribution to society. In addition to this the sales will help in:
- Organising more intervention programmes.
- Organising more activities for the less mobile.
- Purchasing more items for play, recreation and learning.
The achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is the new driving force for the care of the disabled community. KPMG’s survey shows that SDGs have resonated strongly with businesses worldwide in less than two years since their launch. In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the SDGs, a set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, as part of a new global sustainable development agenda. L Richardson (2017) indicated that Agenda 2030 is much more inclusive – the words “disability” or “persons with disabilities” are specifically mentioned 11 times in the Resolution (70/1).
The current global crisis is alarming for everyone. For the time being we all need to stay home close to our families, but eventually we will involve our very special artists.
The differently abled community is our inspiration and guide in everything we do.