Growing up as kids, most of us faced bullying or feelings of being left out. These affect our self-confidence as we grow older and we can end up limiting ourselves and comparing our successes and dreams to our peers. We aren’t always taught about our differences or learn to understand that we, as humans, are all born different and although we may want/like similar things, we are different. Some of the most misunderstood and marginalised people in our society, who face the most challenges because of their differences, are people living with a disability.
As the month of National Disability Rights Awareness comes to an end, the conversation continues, and we at Studio 05 Institute of Fashion, would like to take the time to give recognition and acknowledgement to all our students with a disability who are part of our Hearing Impaired Student Programme. In 2012, St Vincent School for the Deaf, approached Studio 05 to assist in the further education of their students. They had students who were interested in fashion but nowhere to go. Studio 05 recognizing and understanding the needs of the hearing-impaired community opened their doors to their 3-year Diploma course in Fashion and have not looked back since.
Fashion is an avenue that all people can use for self-expression and to explore their creativity. The Clothing and Manufacturing Industry is both practical and creative which makes it an accessible industry for both the abled and disabled alike. Fashion is more than just the latest style of clothing, decoration or behavior, it is the use of human creative skill and imagination to bring to life garments we use every day.
Our hearing impaired students have excelled in this field, and Studio 05 Institute of Fashion is proud of how fashion has helped to transform their lives and give them a marketable skill that will open future doors to employment. At our annual year-end fashion exhibition, our students from the Disability Programme, will be exhibiting their amazing designs and have the opportunity to showcase their creativity and all their hard work throughout the year.
But without our partners and supporters, none of this, would have been possible, and so, we would like to say a special thank you to all those who have helped fund our Disability Programme, namely, The Fiber Processing and Manufacturing SETA and The Industrial Development Corporation –IDC. Studio 05 remains committed to doing their part in bringing equality and equal employment opportunity to all and we will continue to do our best and expand this programme. We believe that everyone deserves the right and opportunity to education and employment – and fashion can help fulfill this mandate and deliver this to the hearing impaired.
Written by: Nozibele Tyalana