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Photography Project - We Are Here!

The Photography Project aimed to give disabled teenagers a voice through the creative medium of photography. It was led in partnership with local artists, and all donations to the project helped to cover the costs of equipment and time commitment required. We are so grateful to our donors who committed to this project as it was a truly life-affirming course leading to an inspirational exhibition at Borderline Gallery.


17000 Baht

(£400; $489 US)

What We Did

In order to help address the sense of isolation and feelings of prejudice that many young people with disability experience, we decided to run a participatory photography project with 7 of the young people known to our service. In the first part of the project our therapists taught the young people about their diagnosis e.g. cerebral palsy or spina bifida, also giving them the chance to meet other disabled children their age. In the second part of the project they facilitated the children to use photography as a way of helping to communicate their experience of disability. Participatory photography has become an increasingly popular method to help capture the views and experiences of young people and those with health conditions and they will be using it in this instance as a way of self-expression which at times can be difficult for young people who perhaps have reduced confidence around self-advocacy skills and whose voices are often never heard. The young people have produced some really wonderful and powerful images and they then exhibited their work at a local gallery. The photographs were displayed alongside supporting narratives written by the young people themselves, explaining their photos in more detail and the meaning behind them.

Why We Did It


This project is important because The Convention on the Rights of the Persons with disabilities states that  young people with disabilities are among the poorest and most marginalised of the world’s youth. Estimates suggest that there are between 180 and 220 million youth with disabilities worldwide, and nearly 80 percent of them live in developing countries. All the issues that affect young people, such as access to education, employment, health care and social services, affect those with disabilities in a far more complex way. Attitudes and discrimination linked to disability make it much more difficult for them to go to school, to find work or to participate in local activities. In many communities, both rural and urban, they are often excluded from decision making processes due to low expectations of their capabilities and a lack of projects aimed at enabling inclusion. This has implications for self- management, impacting on abilities to carry  out self-care strategies (Greenly 2006). Through increasing coping strategies with their condition and related knowledge, there is a potential reduction in stress and anxiety (Bartholomew et al 1991. Lazarus and Folkner 2008).  The voices of disabled children and young people are rarely heard (Support and Aspiration Green paper 2011) but the UN Convention Rights of the Child Article 12 states that children have a right to be listened to and to be able to communicate their needs. There are additional benefits from gaining support of their peers when managing a disability  (Lazarus and Folkner 2008).

Wider Impact

‘We are Here!’ and Save the Children Visit

Following on from our successful ‘We Are Here’ exhibition prepared by some of the children and young people who access Stepping Stones, we were approached by Save the Children in Bangkok. They were so impressed by the exhibition and the young people’s work that they approached Stepping Stones to ask to spend some time with the team and to meet some of our inspirational children and families. Save the Children (Thailand) are currently running a project to highlight the importance of migrant children living in Thailand being able to access the same educational opportunities as all children. In particular, through their campaign, they had recognised that it was important for the voices of migrant children with disabilities to be heard. With this in mind they asked to come to meet with some of our children and to hear their experiences of growing up in Thailand, their experiences of the education system here and what their hopes were for the future.

Our physiotherapist, Catherine Lomas and our trainee, Yin Yin Aye took the representatives from Save the Children to meet with three young men who access therapy through our project and who had contributed to the ‘We Are Here’ exhibition in February 2017. Two of them have Cerebral Palsy and one has Spina Bifida, conditions which have lifelong impacts on their mobility, functional independence and in many other ways. The young men were keen to tell their stories and were interviewed by Save the Children over a course of 2 days. We have had some very positive feedback from all involved and hope to work collaboratively with Save the Children again in the future.

In the photo below are Aith That Khlein, his parents, the Save the children team and physiotherapist Catherine Lomas.

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