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Nine Famous Women with Disabilities for March 8

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Orga­ni­za­tion Pro­vid­ing Sup­port to Women with Dis­abil­i­ties …IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA, in coop­er­a­tion with the Provin­cial Pro­tec­tor of Cit­i­zens – Ombuds­man of the Autonomous Province of Vojvo­d­i­na, orga­nizes an 8 March pro­mo cam­paign in five Novi Sad ele­men­tary schools (Jovan Popović, Prva vojvođan­s­ka briga­da, Ivo Lola Rib­ar, Jožef Ati­la and Dušan Radović) and anoth­er five high schools (Jovan Jovanović Zmaj, Isido­ra Sekulić and Laza Kostić Gyma­si­um, 7 April Med­ical School and Sve­tozar Miletić High School).

The aim of the action is to make women with dis­abil­i­ties and their achieve­ments more vis­i­ble among young women and men in Novi Sad.

Each school will hang a poster with a pho­to and a short biog­ra­phy of nine women with dis­abil­i­ties on its notice board, while stu­dents will get leaflets with the same con­tents. The posters and leaflets will con­tain pho­tos and short biogra­phies of Sarah Bern­hardt (1844), Helen Keller (1880), Fri­da Kahlo (1907), Judith Scott (1943), Gor­dana Rajkov (1944), Bar­bara Wachs­man Fidu­cia (1955), Mar­lee Matlin (1965), Borisla­va Per­ić Ranković (1972) and Aimee Mullins (1976).

Sarah Bern­hardt (1844 – 1923)

It is in spend­ing one­self that one becomes rich.

A knee injury end­ing in ampu­ta­tion did not pre­vent her from act­ing by using a chair for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties until the end of her life. The most famous actress of her time and beyond, she was also a painter, sculp­tor and writer, a capa­ble busi­ness woman man­ag­ing her own the­atres and pro­duc­ing plays in which she used to per­form. Extrav­a­gant and scan­dalous, she was imper­mis­si­bly con­vinc­ing in male roles. Sarah, a syn­onym for glam­our and dra­ma, the moth­er of all divas.

Helen Keller (1880 – 1968)

Life is either a dar­ing adven­ture or noth­ing at all.

She lost her sight, hear­ing and speech in ear­ly child­hood due to menin­gi­tis. She devel­oped her own sys­tem of sign lan­guage for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fought for her own com­pre­hen­sive edu­ca­tion. She mas­tered sev­er­al lan­guages and became a promi­nent writer. She used to social­ize with influ­en­tial and famous peo­ple, was a great sail­boat cap­tain and cyclist, advo­cat­ed for peace and social jus­tice. Helen is a sym­bol of tri­umph over dark­ness, silence and iso­la­tion.

Fri­da Kahlo (1907 – 1954)

Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?

She made it through infan­tile paral­y­sis and a ter­ri­ble traf­fic acci­dent that broke her spine in sev­er­al places and crushed her right leg to pieces. The way she recov­ered and start­ed walk­ing both times after her ordeal was noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous. The life she con­tin­ued there­after was that of pain, pas­sion, authen­tic beau­ty and cre­ation. She start­ed paint­ing dur­ing the time she spent in bed recov­er­ing, using a mir­ror and her­self as a mod­el. Her self-por­traits are authen­tic and rec­og­nized all over the world today. Fri­da, a dove in a steel armor, the one cre­at­ing on and from shards, a sym­bol of tur­bu­lent and uncon­di­tion­al love.

Judith Scott (1943 – 2005)

Born with Down syn­drome and total­ly devoid of hear­ing, after thir­ty-five years in an insti­tu­tion and with the sup­port of her sis­ter who had nev­er left her, she appeared in pub­lic with a series of sculp­tures that had ever since fas­ci­nat­ed and puz­zled art crit­ics and col­lec­tors world­wide. Her sculp­tures made of thread and rope inter­twined into shapes resem­bling totems, shells or coconuts, with their inte­ri­or remain­ing an ever­last­ing, unfath­omable enig­ma. Judith, amaz­ing visu­al art cre­at­ed from nothing(ness).

Gor­dana Rajkov (1944)

It is impor­tant that peo­ple under­stand orga­ni­za­tions of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

A wheel­chair user due to mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, she is a world-renowned activist and leader of the move­ment for inde­pen­dent life of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. She is the first per­son with dis­abil­i­ty elect­ed an MP of the Ser­bian Par­lia­ment. US Embassy in Ser­bia nom­i­nat­ed her for the 2011 Women of Courage Award of the Amer­i­can Con­gress. Gor­dana, a prin­ci­ple of inde­pen­dence and respon­si­bil­i­ty for one’s own choic­es.

Bar­bara Wachs­man Fidu­cia (1955 – 2001)

We wish that chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties feel wel­come in(to) this world.

She had spinal mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, which required her to use a wheel­chair in which she, accord­ing to her friends’ accounts, rode as if she were the Queen her­self on a mag­nif­i­cent horse. Unique in her appear­ance and some­times provoca­tive, she was a fem­i­nist dis­abil­i­ty stud­ies pio­neer. She advo­cat­ed for sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights, vio­lence pre­ven­tion and archi­tec­tur­al acces­si­bil­i­ty, demon­strat­ing it all by liv­ing a dig­ni­fied life. Bar­bara, a vision of a pow­er­ful and sen­su­al woman with a dis­abil­i­ty.

Mar­lee Matlin (1965)

Silence is the last thing the world will ever hear from me.

She lost her hear­ing before she even start­ed talk­ing. Act­ing was her pri­ma­ry occu­pa­tion dur­ing her entire child­hood, her first role being that of Dorothy in the Wiz­ard of Oz. She is the only actress with hear­ing impair­ment ever to have won an Acad­e­my Award for Best Actress, as well as the youngest woman ever in the his­to­ry of the Award. Besides a suc­cess­ful act­ing career, she is an accom­plished writer. A promi­nent mem­ber of the US Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of the Deaf  (NAD), she is active in sev­er­al char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions. Mar­lee, advantage(ous) in diver­si­ty.

Borisla­va Per­ić Ranković (1972)

I keep doing things in spite of myself, push­ing on and on.

She start­ed using a wheel­chair after a work-relat­ed injury. After tak­ing up table ten­nis recre­ation­al­ly, she won sev­er­al tour­na­ments at first, becom­ing a Euro­pean and world cham­pi­on lat­er on and earn­ing a title of the Best Ath­lete of City of Novi Sad. She is a two-time Par­a­lympics sil­ver medal win­ner (in Bei­jing and Lon­don), exer­cis­ing, trav­el­ling and doing pho­tog­ra­phy. Borisla­va, a liv­ing sports leg­end.

Aimee Mullins (1976)

They ampu­tat­ed my legs when I was a year old and I’ve been run­ning like crazy ever since!

Born with­out either of her calf bones, the doc­tors nev­er expect­ed her to start walk­ing. Con­trary to all expec­ta­tion, she became world famous as an ath­lete hold­ing a world record in 100 and 200 m race, as well as long jump. Besides sports, she has a suc­cess­ful act­ing and fash­ion career. One of the L’Oréal ambas­sadors, she has been list­ed among the fifty most beau­ti­ful peo­ple in the world. Her appear­ance, inno­v­a­tive think­ing and moti­va­tion­al speech­es inspire mil­lions all over the world. Aimee, a beau­ty with twelve pairs of legs.