Brussels’ renowned comic strip museum was the setting for the European Commission’s celebrations for the 2003 European Day of Disabled People.
The event was organised to award the 15 national winners of the European Day of Disabled People drawing competition. 9000 children sent in drawings to illustrate what they would change for disabled people in 2003, the European Year of People with Disabilities. The 15 winning drawings, from disabled and non-disabled young people aged between 10 and 15, will be used as the official European Year postcards and e-cards.
The winners joined pupils from local and international schools in Brussels for a creative workshop to start the day. The 50 children spent two colourful and busy hours producing six vibrant banners for the European Year. Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou visited the workshop and was very impressed with the team spirit. Addressing the children afterwards, she said, “ Did you ever think you could work with young people from all different countries, speaking different languages, some disabled, some not? Well you did! You made it! And something very important happened. You overcame a barrier – the communications barrier – to create something magnificent. There was a fantastic atmosphere in the workshop which you helped to create.”
Commissioner Diamantopoulou hosted the awards ceremony and lunch which followed the workshop. There was a full house for the awards ceremony including the winners’ families, friends and teachers, representatives of disability organisations, the European Commission and the European Parliament, and the media.
Surrounded by huge banners of the winning drawings which were suspended around the hall, Commissioner Diamantopoulou congratulated the winners to loud applause. Each winner was presented with a commemorative framed picture of their drawing, and Sara Garcia Santos, who was the winner of the on-line vote, received a special prize of an art set. The Commissioner encouraged the children to carry on their good work: “You are all ambassadors now, spreading the message of the European Year of People with Disabilities all over Europe with your beautiful cards.”
Excitement was still running high after the awards ceremony, with many of the winners and their proud guests saying they had an unforgettable day.
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Published by - December 6, 2002