Every year, during Intellectual Disability Awareness Month, the South African Federation for Mental Health helps raise awareness around the rights and needs of persons with intellectual disability. Among the most marginalised people in society, they face discrimination and exclusion in almost all spheres of life, including education, employment and community involvement.
This year, SAFMH worked with professional photographers, Chris and Jolandie Wessles, to capture the joy and human-ness of residents of LITTLE EDEN and The Hamlet Foundation in a series of portraits entitled, ‘Through my Eyes’.
“We wanted to share their stories, their potential and their beauty through these photographs,” said Michel’le Donnelly, Project Leader Advocacy & Awareness, at SAFMH.
“Stigma and discrimination influence a person’s wellbeing when they have a disability, leading to a sense of disconnection and isolation. We need to include and value these individuals.”
Dressed in white and photographed against a white background, Zinhle and Jobekazi are depicted as angels, which is the way we think and speak of them.
We see them as angels because they can do no wrong, and their artless smiles bless us with a sense of uncomplicated joy, just in being.