We’ve been working in China since 2001 although we do not have a permanent office in the country. Our very first project was in China, in an orphanage in Nanning, where we choreographed an integrated dance piece with the children.
Since then we have worked regularly in a number of provinces and cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. According to Handicap International, 6% (80 million) of China’s total population lives with a disability. Of this number, only 2% have access to basic health services, and 80% are unemployed. Among disabled children, only 2% go to school; most are placed in orphanages. Social stigma and exclusion surround disability and there is very limited state provision for special needs.
Among the NGOs we have worked closely with is Handicap International. Through a creative approach our projects have succeeded in transforming attitudes towards disability, and raising aspirations among those with disabilities and promoting disabled artists.
“The normal Chinese approach towards integration is to get people together in a room and lecture them. Epic’s approach was much more creative and radically different. This could be very effective if rolled out on a larger scale”Tang Yi