The painting skills of a Maltese artist, who has a rare disease, did not disrupt his life and his experiences were published in a book by a teacher who believes that an individual should look at the person’s skills rather than the disability.
This is what Doris Schembri believes in as a teacher at the Mariam Al-Batool primary school, which has 160 Maltese students who profess the Moslem religion.
Diversity is for Ms Schembri the basis of teaching at the school, where children do not make distinctions on religion believes and in people’s abilities. With this concept in mind, she has published a book for children on the life of celebrated French artist Henri Matisse who, despite his illness, he continued to paint.
“The idea was to show abilities instead of disabilities. We decided on the book as a school – the publisher Miss Joanne, Miss Elaine the illustrator and Mr Etienne the designer”.
This is not the first time that Doris Schembri took the initiative to raise awareness on disability. Her previous publication concerned ‘Salvu ta’ Manini – rakkonti permezz ta’ poeżiji dwar il-ħajja ta’ Salvu Camilleri’ (photo), a Maltese painting who, despite his rare disease, he continued with his hobby of painting with a smile.
“I cannot stay bare-footed…cannot touch heated objects…because I suffer the consequences…it is a trial and error thing. You have to proceed with life and I try to make it as lively as possible”.
Salvu paints on a daily basis and everywhere….even when he was in hospital where he frequently goes for treatment.
He expressed joy that Doris Schembri took his experiences on board to raise awareness on the skills, and not disabilities, because he believes that other persons like him will look at life positively.