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A festival to celebrate differences

Ekvottachem Fest and Inclusiveness will take place on October 20, 4 p.m. at the Garcia de Orta Municipal garden, Panaji. The festival is held in order to showcase the talents of the differently-abled, understand their crises and encourage society to look beyond disability


In commemoration of the 16th anniversary of the Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG), Ekvottachem Fest and Inclusiveness, a first-of-its-kind festival will be held on October 20, 4 p.m. at the Garcia de Orta Municipal garden, Panaji. The aim of the festival is to promote the spirit of inclusiveness while celebrating the differently-abled community of Goa.

The festival also aims at creating opportunities for employment for persons with disabilities in order to strengthen them economically.

For 16 years DRAG has been working towards the rights of the differently-abled community and has been promoting the inclusion of this community in society. Speaking about the upcoming festival president, DRAG, Avelino D’Sa said that the festival will showcase the various talents and capabilities of persons with disabilities. “I want the public to see the capabilities of persons with disabilities and understand the problems they face with regard to entertainment, education and employment while also having a good time,” said D’Sa.

At the festival, one will witness para sports, music, dance, theatre, and a screening of films created by the differently-abled highlighting the challenges they face.

Also participating at the festival are National Association for the Blind (NAB), Goa Association for the Deaf, Sanjay Centre for Special Education and various other NGOs for the differently-abled. The festival is expected to see the participation of 300 to 400 persons with disabilities, including 91 students and 30 teachers from Sanjay Centre for Special Education.

Member secretary, Sanjay Centre for Special Education, Sheru Shirodkar said that Sanjay Centre for Special Education has students with various capabilities. “We have our talented students who get into various activities such as dance, craft music, etc but they never had a platform to do showcase their talents. I want people to appreciate their capabilities and look beyond their disabilities,” she said.

The festival will also promote the true Goan essence through dances, music, food etc said curator, Marius Fernandes. “We want to showcase the best of Goa. This festival will not have a chief guest or sponsors. It is entirely crowd funded; we believe that the participants and guests are the chief guests.  There won’t be any prizes distributed as everyone will be a winner,” he said explaining how the festival will function. Food will catered by Goan Novice, an organisation that comprises persons with disabilities. Ghumots will also be on sale at the venue.

To add to the inclusiveness, the festival will also include marginalised members of society. “When we say inclusiveness, we don’t only mean the disabled members of society, but other marginalised members of society such as members of the LGBTQ community and so on,” said senior journalist, Prakash Kamat.

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