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International Day of Persons with Disabilities: U.S. Embassy Brazzaville



U.S. Ambassador Christopher Murray tours the fair Disabled persons selling goods Disabled women selling dolls, clothes, and bags Disabled artists selling pottery and paintings
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The Public Affairs Section of U.S. Embassy Brazzaville organized a two day celebration for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities through cooperation with a local orphanage and the United Nations Information Center. The event consisted of music by local disabled musicians, debates on the rights of the disabled, a screening of the 2010 Zimbabwean film “iThemba”, a local nzango sports match between two teams of disabled women, and an open air vendor fair where disabled people sold handcrafted goods like pottery, clothes, paintings, baskets, and bags. The opening ceremony featured speeches by UNICEF Representative Marianne Flach and U.S. Ambassador Christopher W. Murray. Afterward, all VIPs toured the stands and purchased items. The closing ceremony featured a speech from Sister Brigitte Yengo, who runs the partner orphanage as well as functions as one of the only providers of wheelchairs and white canes in the Congo, and an emotional speech from Public Affairs Officer Wes Jeffers, who is the son of two disabled parents.

Around 250 people attended the two day event and approximately $1,000 was raised by local vendors. The disabled population in Congo is almost entirely ignored and much stigma still exists toward the disabled. This event marked the first occasion in recent Congolese history that an Embassy has held an event in celebration of the disabled. This helped bring awareness to the rights of the disabled to both the local and international communities of Congo, while also increasing relationships between the U.S. Embassy and new sectors of the Congolese population.

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