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Burmese festival highlights disabled artists

Artists and performers who don’t often have the chance to perform on stage are in the limelight during a festival in Rangoon from 17 to 19 October.

The event, “Immense Spectrum: Myanmar Arts Festival of Disabled Artists”, is organised by the Myanmar Independent Living Initiative, MILI. It opened on 17 October in Rangoon’s Mayangone township, with a variety of performances by almost 300 disabled people.

“The event we are holding now is only Burma-focused and includes 270 artists”, said artist Aung Ko Myint from MILI.

There are 10 major support groups for people living with disabilities in Burma, and around 1,500 members in the MILI. Although many people joined the event, Aung Ko Myint said he missed some of the groups who did not get involved.

“We would like to urge other groups to get involved too, because this is not for the individual success of just a single person or an organisation, but a national cause. If more groups joined up, we would be able to create more opportunities for disabled people during our coordination period and also for our successors – for the disabled generations in the future.”

The festival is part of the preparations for the ASEAN Disability Arts Festival. The winning artists of this event will receive training for the bigger competition which will be held in Burma in the middle of 2014.