Minister of State with special responsibility for disability, Anne Rabbitte at the launch
Minister of State with special responsibility for disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, today marked the launch of the annual Someone Like Me primary schools competition which, this year, has been Covid-19-proofed to ensure that primary school pupils across Longford can take part whether they are at school, engaging in blended learning or studying from home.
The prestigious national art competition, which is now in its fifth year, is organised by the National Disability Authority as a way of fostering more positive attitudes towards persons with disabilities by highlighting the similarities that exist between all people.
The minister has encouraged the more than half-a-million pupils attending over 3,000 mainstream and special primary schools in Ireland to take part in what will be a national creative celebration of the things that unite children of all abilities.
“Research carried out by the National Disability Authority shows that 75% of people in Ireland know at least one person with a disability and yet just 30% of people think that persons with disabilities are treated fairly in Irish society,” she said.
“Equally, only a small number of people believe that people with disabilities get an equal chance when it comes to work, despite most people saying that they would feel comfortable working with a person with a physical disability.
“Positive attitudes support persons with disabilities to take part in society. This is why initiatives such as the Someone Like Me art competition are so important in nurturing these positive attitudes at a very early age, attitudes that will carry through into adulthood and be passed on to the next generation so that everyone feels that they are a valued member of society.
“Life has been turned upside down for us all in recent months and yet the issues placed under the spotlight of competition remain the same. Because of this, I would like to congratulate the National Disability Authority for ensuring that the Someone Like Me art competition format has been adapted to make sure that teachers continue to be supported to introduce this topic into the classroom within the context of the wider curriculum and that pupils can take part in a meaningful way, in class or at home.”
The Someone Like Me art competition literature, to include junior and senior lesson plans, will be delivered to every primary school in Ireland over the coming days.
The competition, which offers a range of prizes up to the value of €750, is open to all primary school pupils from junior infants to sixth class and entries are welcome from individual pupils, a class pod or even a whole-school as a socially-distanced combined effort. Entries can come in all shapes and sizes and can be anything from a poster or collage to a papier-mâché or mixed-media sculpture.
There will be a junior and senior category winner in every county, along with an overall national winner. The deadline for entries is Thursday, December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
More information can be found at www.someonelikemecompetition.ie.