International Disability Day: A Melody in Diversity
(WMSCU-1/12/2019) – December 3 is the International Disability Day and celebrated by many nations. This time, a group of students from the Faculty of Communication Science of Widya Mandala Surabaya Catholic University called the Awaken Organizer, in collaboration with the Surabaya Dharma Wanita Persatuan (a social community consisting of the wives of government/civic workers), conducted an event to celebrate the 2019 International Disability Day.
With the theme of Beauty in Diversity, the people of Surabaya were invited to witness the appearance of disability friends in a charity concert and art auction event. The art auction consisted of paintings from four painters with Autism Spectrum disorder and Down syndrome. “The meaning of Beauty in Diversity is to highlight the beauty that exists within differences or diversity. What differences refer to here is more about disparity actually, by showing how our disabled friends have been treated as less important than us. So, we want to highlight the beauty that the public probably never witnessed before,” explained Grishiella Patricia Liwang, a student from the Faculty of Communication Science, as the Chief Executive of the event. In that afternoon, four paintings made by Edward, Vincent, Andrew and Celena Aline were successfully auctioned. Deice Hanum Wulan, one of the auction winners of Andrew’s painting claimed, “There is a feeling of pride in the painting and it makes my heart happy,” she explained.
Taking place at the Balai Budaya Surabaya Theater, musicians with disabilities showed their vocal talent, ability in playing angklung, keyboard, and performance as a band. The atmosphere at the Balai Budaya was so alive and full of thunderous applause from audience. Performers ranged from Kiki, a blind teacher at the Blind Children Education Foundation (YPAB), the Touch Heart Band whose members are all children with autistic spectrum disorder, M. Hilbram, a vocalist and keyboardist who is blind, Putri Ariani who has visual disability, and Adelina Setiawan with celebral palsy. They were all taking turns entertaining the audience and enlivening the event with their voice. In addition, there was an orchestra, called Amadeus Orchestra, who also contributed to make the atmosphere of the concert so magnificent with their music.
The audience was amazed by Kiki’s performance when she performed the song Time to Say Good Bye, complete with the Latin words. Not just performing, Putri Ariani also delivered a short campaign message that she composed herself. “The quote that I’d like to submit is that we need to remove the limitations between us (the able-bodied and disabled groups). First step is to Please Ask. For example, if you don’t know about disability or disabled people, you can ask questions, so to avoid making wrong assumptions. The second is to Be Understanding of each other. I hope that there will be no harassment in the future. The idea here is not about stopping, because when you stop, it is like hitting a brake, which means it can run again,” explained Putri who was then greeted by thunderous applause from the audience.
And through this concert, donations from all of the profits of the concert and auction results were given to several organizations and individuals who have been pointed as recipients, such as Potats, YPAB, Gregory and Sekolah Luar Biasa Bangun Bangsa (a school only for those with disability). Donations were handed over directly by the Chairperson of the Surabaya City Dharma Wanita Persatuan (DWP) and the Dean of Faculty of Communication Science WMSCU at the end of the event. “We want to make a room for friends with disability so they can show their exceptional talent and work. With this Beauty in Diversity event, we hope that it will have a positive impact on our disabled friends and the people of Surabaya,” concluded Chusnur Ismiati as the Chairperson of the Surabaya City DWP.