FOFA COMMUNICATION EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME 2018
“Hear me roar”
Participating, learning, writing, thinking, being challenged, advocating, sharing, socializing, hanging out, having fun….and communicating, communicating, communicating. These words all describe the 2018 Fofa experience. Six young adults who use AAC were part of the programme this year – for many the third and final year of participation in the programme. The focus of this year’s programme was disability advocacy. Besides some insightful presentations by guest speakers Mr AK Dube (African Disability Alliance) on how to be an advocate or advocacy supporter, and Mr Rikus Delport (University Relations) on how to engage with the press, a big part of the week was spent on the PhotoVoice project led by Dr Alecia Samuels. This qualitative visual methodology (Wang & Burris, 1997) enabled the Fofa participants to use photography based journals to depict their experiences—accomplishments, hopes, joys and challenges of being a young person with a communication disability in South Africa.
With the help of adaptations to tablets and cell phones, participants took photographs all around campus and wrote short pieces of prose in English and Setswana to capture pertinent messages about themselves, their lives and experiences. The photographs and their writing were exhibited in digital and printed medium in the Humanities Building Foyer on Friday 7 September – coinciding with Casual Day. The exhibition attracted much interest from staff and students who not only enjoyed the photographs, but also had a chance to interact with the participants, and leave comments on sticky notes to express their reactions. Visitors commented on the courage of the young adults to speak up for themselves and to share their lives and stories, and that the exhibition opened up new viewpoints for them regarding people with disabilities.
As staff we were struck by the positive attitudes and openness of the students and staff to spend time and interact with the participants, resulting in a good experience of inclusiveness for everyone. We are most grateful for the support from the University and Faculty of Humanities given to the Fofa Programme over the years, and trust that the programme will continue from strength to strength in the coming years.
Please click on the attachments below to view pictures