Picture Presentation: Child-to-Child Workshop Facilitated by Habilítate Mazatlán
To date the Habilítate team has been most active in Child-to-Child workshops and special seating made with cardboard.
Child-to-Child activities are participatory, discovery-based, and fun. They involve simulation games, story-telling, and eye-opening, curiosity-rousing, problem-solving ventures. At its best, Child-to-Child is based on the principles of “pedagogy of liberation” in which the challenge is to draw ideas out of the learners rather than push them in. Innovative activities are facilitated, in which the children make their own observations, draw their own conclusions, think about things they might do to improve unfair situations, and make suggestions regarding collective action for the common good. Although a lot of thoughtful planning may go into such activities, the process often turns out delightfully spontaneous and inspirational … if somewhat unpredictable.
Child-to-Child was initially developed to help children learn what they can do to protect and improve health, especially of infants and toddlers. However the PROJIMO programs in Mexico have adapted diverse activities for disability awareness-raising and inclusion. One of the leaders of this approach in Mexico is Rigoberto (Rigo) Delgado, a spinal-cord injured (quadriplegic) young man who spent years at PROJIMO Coyotitán—first for his own rehabilitation, later as a program leader.
Because Rigo now has vast experience leading Child-to-Child workshops with a disability focus, the Habilítate team invited him to help facilitate their first workshop, with schoolchildren in Mazatlán—and in the process teach the team the methodology (through learning-by-doing). Rigo gladly agreed—and did a great job.
The first Child-to-Child workshops Habilítate held were in the colorful facility of Grupo Los Pargos. Los Pargos is a cooperative which was formed 20 years ago by families of disabled children. Now all the children have grown up, but they still gather at the center on weekday afternoons. In the mornings they loan a big room at the Pargos center to the Ministry of Education, which uses it as a primary school classroom.
After these games everyone discusses what it is like not to see well. They also realize that a child with a disability has the same feelings, needs, and right to play as do other children.
In a final discussion session the children commented on how they enjoyed the Child-to-Child activities and what they learned. Their feedback for the most part was quite positive. Some said what they enjoyed most was being to talk openly with members of the Habilítate team about their disabilities, and get direct, caring answers. The kids felt that in the future they would feel more comfortable about making friends with someone with a disability because, as one little girl put it, “On the inside, we’re pretty much the same.”