Marlene Le Roux chats to Frida Vesterberg and HRH Princess Sofia of Sweden. Video: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

WATCH: Sweden's Princess Sophia stages a visit to the Artscape Theatre

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Feb 26, 2020

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Cape Town - Princess Sophia of Sweden visited the Artscape Theatre on Tuesday to promote more awareness around persons with disabilities by encouraging an environment that would actively accommodate them.

Ten years ago, Princess Sophia and Frida Vesterberg established the Langa and Gugulethu-based Project Playground, which integrates disabled children with able-bodied children.

Project Playground provides programmes for children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities, which has led to the discussion of a potential partnership with the Artscape Theatre. The Artscape Theatre is known to be very inclusive towards persons with disabilities.

Artscape chief executive Marlene le Roux said collaborating and being able to host the Project Playground youth group on their stages was important because children with disabilities needed to be included in all facets of society. It’s about mainstreaming persons with disabilities and this starts at a young age.

Princess Sophia said: “Disabled kids are often stigmatised in society and the main idea to include disabled kids in our projects came about when a father asked whether his disabled child could join Project Playground but she was not able to get there due to the physical and intellectual challenges. We soon realised that disabled kids were being excluded far too often.”

Sweden's Princess Sofia and Artscape chief executive Marlene Le Roux at the Artscape Centre. The princess visited the centre to promote more awareness around persons with disabilities. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Pictured left to right is Princess Sofia, Marlene Le Roux and Frida Vesterberg. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Sweden's Princess Sofia and Artscape chief executive Marlene Le Roux at the Artscape Centre. The princess visited the centre to promote more awareness around persons with disabilities. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Pictured left to right is Princess Sofia and Marlene Le Roux. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

She said their organisation would fetch children from their homes to bring them to the Project Playground daycare centre.

The environment is safe and secure for them.

Each child has individual needs which are considered at the centre.

“The collaboration with Artscape is to create a fun and inclusive environment for children with disabilities because we know that they want what every other child wants to experience.

“Artscape has done amazing work with disabled kids,” said Princess Sophia.

Roux said that if a child with disabilities doesn’t get confidence at a young age then they will lack the confidence to seize certain opportunities in life.

“It was so important for us to make the Artscape building accessible to all people. The floor needs to be even for cerebral palsy individuals, the carpet needs to be different colours with patterns for someone who is short-sighted, and the signage is extra big and coloured differently for someone who is blind,” she said.

Roux emphasised the purpose of the princess visiting the Artscape.

She said the envisioned collaboration with Project Playground was to honour people with disabilities because she believed that without integration, the confidence of a disabled person would be degraded.

Pictured is Princess Sofia and Marlene Le Roux in a radio interview with Rodney Phillips. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Pictured is Princess Sofia and Marlene Le Roux in a radio interview with Rodney Phillips. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland (born Sofia Kristina Hellqvist; 6 December 1984), is a member of the Swedish royal family. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Pictured is Princess Sofia (centre) with Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa (yellow tie), Marlene Le Roux (blue dress) and Frida Vesterberg (white shirt) along with Artcape interns. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
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