Promoting self-acceptance through fashion. It is the objective of Access 2019, a fashion show for differently abled people.
Launched in Cameroon by a women’s empowerment organization, the very first edition of the event highlighted the removal of barriers that people with disability face in the country.
Organized in the capital Yaoundé, it brought together 16 models living with disability, who proudly walked down the runway to showcase outfits made by local designers.
It was an opportunity for inclusivity and many said they hope that the visibility that comes with an event like this will change perceptions.
“With all the barriers placed upon us by society, it’s not easy to feel like a woman. Access 2019 is an opportunity to show the world that you can live with disability but still look like every other woman. You can be beautiful and you can dream,” said Michelle Sojip, a physically challenged model.
According to the World Health Organization, about 2 million Cameroonians live with disability.
They have limited access to education, health care and employment, and live in poverty.
The organizers at Sister Speak, the company behind the event, hope that this initiative will inspire a new generation of Cameroonians with disabilities to feel accepted and confident.
“One thing we want to achieve at Sister Speak is to change perceptions around what people think about women with disabilities in Cameroon,” said Comfort Musa, the event organiser of the ACCESS 2019 event.
The fashion show has received positive feedback from the general public. For some, it is a useful platform to discuss issues affecting women with disabilities.
The event organizers say they hope to make the show an annual event.