“Children are not born prejudiced” – A project that explores how schoolchildren view learning disabilities

A first inspiration conference prior to the project “Children are not born prejudiced” will be held in Latvia on 19–20 October. The project is a joint initiative between the Swedish Institute, the Velki Foundation, the Swedish Embassy in Riga, and the Glada Hudik theatre organisation. Its aim is to explore and challenge Latvian schoolchildren’s perceptions of learning disabilities.

“Children are not born prejudiced” is a follow-up to the Swedish Institute’s exhibitions AccessAbility and Design for Dignity, both of which focused on people with various disabilities and the kind of life this entailed. Both exhibitions have toured the world, visiting places such as Albania, Brazil, Latvia and Russia. The aim is to inspire schools and launch projects that focus on public prejudice towards various forms of disability. The project has been underway in Sweden for several years and SI saw an opportunity to develop a similar project in Latvia.

“Countering public prejudice and heightening levels of awareness is essential if human rights for children with learning disabilities are to be respected in Latvia, and we think it’s best to start with the children,” says project manager Sylvia Augustinsson. “These objectives are wholly in line with SI support under the Government’s Baltic Sea strategy, and the Swedish Embassy in Riga has helped us considerably with the project.”

The project arrives at a good time in Latvia, where the de-institutionalisation and integration of children with learning disabilities has been debated during the autumn. Following the inspiration conference, which has attracted widespread interest from the school community in Latvia, the plan is to launch projects at a number of schools as early as the beginning of 2018. The lessons learned from these projects will provide a basis for additional school projects across the country The school project is based on training in Hudiksvall, numerous school visits in both Sweden and Latvia, a clearly defined Latvian project plan, mutual learning and the creation of networks.

For further information about the project, please contact:

Sylvia Augustinsson
SI project manager
+46 (0)8-45 37 904