Young people with learning disabilities from Derry are spending this weekend at a residential conference in Fermanagh to examine issues of discrimination that affect their lives.
The young people, members of Destined, will be joined by sixth form students from St Mary’s College and the weekend is supported by the Western Education Library Board (WELB) Youth Service.
There will be a number of workshops that will examine the various forms of discrimination from name calling and bullying to the more covert forms of social exclusion; strategies for dealing with discrimination when it is identified and how to support people who are subject to discrimination.
The residential is the culmination of a series of workshops that used art to express people’s experiences to date. At the end of the project Destined will produce a booklet that will be distributed to other people with learning disabilities and to people in the general community.
Some instances of discrimination that have been identified already include;
A lady who couldn’t read was laughed at by a shop assistant when she asked for help to chose a birthday card.
A young man with learning disabilities has been made the subject of fun in a local bar.
A number of people with learning disabilities have been spoken to by other adults in an offencive tone of voice.
Dermot O’Hara from the Destined group said: “It’s a great tribute to these young people that they have gained the confidence to leave home for the weekend and to spend it looking at issues that really impact upon their lives. Discrimination can be overt and covert and it is hoped that by the end of the residential we will have enough information that can be printed in booklet form to be shared with other people.”