National People with Disabilities Social Inclusion Program
Interactive initiatives in the regions’ ‘Lamb’s Journey”. Since 2008 the Lithuanian Association of People with Disabilities has developed and implemented unique artistic – social project – “Mysteries”- – oratorios in churches. The main idea of the project is through such tools as theater, music and art to bring together academic youth, persons with different disabilities and professionals into a single artistic performance – together to create, perform, monitor the reactions of people in the church setting to the creative capacities of persons with disabilities to participate in a professional cultural environment, to share a unique example of social integration and cooperation.
This project has become an integral part of Lithuanian culture, and has been favorably recognized by cultural experts, arts critics and the media. This is a perfect example of persons with disabilities social and cultural integration. In 2012 LAPD plans to continue this unique project, ,,Lamb’s Journey” and travel to two regions of Lithuania, where this kind of cultural-social activities are not well developed.
The premiere of the project Mysteries ,,Lamb’s Journey” will take place in May in the Vytautas Church. It is planned in November to show the performance in the Radviliškis region, Baisogala church. The church is a particularly open area, open to all levels of society; it is a major cultural, social object, and therefore attracts a large part of the local community. All who came to see the performance (the local community, elderly people, students, etc.) are drawn into the overall inter-action thereby ensuring cooperation with the LAPD associate members and an exchange of experiences. This project is an opportunity to gain new creative, artistic experiences; to develop artistic, social skills; increase public awareness and to feel how not everyone has the same opportunities, to recognize differences and similarities; to get to know each other, bridge the divide with the aid of various artistic and creative processes. This is a unique cultural opportunity to develop the idea of social integration and to facilitate positive change; shape people’s attitudes; raise awareness of disability and at the same time remind local governments to make disability friendly decisions.
Disability Theater Festival – Contest “Begasas”. Theatrical activities among people with disability in Lithuania are significantly increasing, as is the professional level of the activities. Regularly working drama groups and their leaders often complain that there is a lack of serious and professionally organized theatre festivals (of which there are many throughout Europe) where their collectives can perform their innovative and well-rehearsed performances, which could become a part of not only Lithuanian but also European culture, as well as a good example of social integration. Therefore, the Lithuanian Association of People with Disabilities plans to organize the Disabled Theater Festival – Competition “Begasas” with the aim of reducing social exclusion through cultural exchanges, as well as raising the level of quality of the theatrical performances.
The 2 day Festival – Contest “Begasas” will be held in Vilnius. It is planned that 12 theater troupes of persons with disabilities will participate, with an estimated 120 people, of whom about 70 will be disabled performers. The main festival – competition “Begasas” criteria is innovation and professionalism. Troupes will be invited to present their latest productions. During the festival informal meetings – round table discussions with the heads of theater companies and directors will take place in order to share experiences and original ideas.