“Mamma but will I never find a prince and live happily ever after? The girls in these stories are not like me na?” asked my friends 4-year-old disabled daughter to her non-disabled mother. When my friend shared this with me, I recalled the teenage years when I was going blind, where I kept thinking the Bollywood stories are not about a girl like me and why they will never be my life.
When I became an activist working on disability rights and gender justice I could pin the problem exactly. It was being unconsidered, of being invisible in popular narratives. And if we existed we would either be inspiration memes or depressed individuals or possibly comic relief or a gabbar singh (dacoit) with an eye patch or someone with a heavy limp.
We at Rising Flame decided that it was time to re-write these popular narratives. We wanted these narratives, stories to reflect our realities, realities of the silenced voices of girls and women with disabilities. We have used the retelling of fairytales to express our struggles and successes, the stigma surrounding and our dreams and aspirations.
10 women living with disabilities, mental health conditions and chronic illnesses, and those living with disabled parents – came together with the Rising Flame team. We kick started this process of retelling tales with a two day workshop with Chatura Rao, an award winning author. Those two days of expression, reflection, emotion, and encouragement was followed up with a month long process to get these beautiful honest tales to you.
We are so glad to have partnered with the One billion Rising campaign to rise for the rights of girls and women with disabilities and to share with you “My Tale Too”.
So stay tuned for a new story everyday till March 8!
Founder and director: Rising Flame