We are not stickers

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A very wary girl. It was as if she was afraid of people. Family, godfathers, neighbors and teachers could not understand what kept her from living in peace with her equals. 

"But that is precisely the problem", she gestured, with her small fingers stroking the soft fur of her skinny, black and white, cat – “Bandidão”. "We are not equals, we are not equals, it’s all a lie. I look at Pati, Ivan, Ademir, Tata and only see differences."

The adults looked dejected at each other and asked for further explanation. "Different how, my daughter? We are human beings, we are people like you: two legs, two arms, two eyes, one tongue, a brain, ten fingers, ten toes..." 

Bandidão did not care about that always so obvious conversation. Bored, he gave a buck, leaving his owner's lap. But, still in the air, while he prepared his feet for a safe landing, he heard something that the girl had never said: "And what about those who do not have two legs? Or can’t hear? Or have two eyes, but one of glass? Or are very ugly? Aren’t they persons? Is it not enough, in order to be a person, just to be born? And what about the babies, aren’t they different? Why do you insist in convincing me that we are all equals? People aren’t the same as stickers, which we put in a row, leaving aside the crumpled or torn ones to decide what to do with them later". 

Bandidão was moved. Well, he understood everything. The girl was not afraid of people. Cornered, she suffered for other reasons. She lacked the courage to disagree with what adults thought.

Confident for finally being able to explain her anguish to her parents, she experienced a new sensation: she felt hurry, a lot of hurry to go to school. For the first time, she was pleased to be a person. She devoted a last look of love to Bandidão and headed to the street.

Claudia Werneck is a journalist graduated from UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), with a specialization in Communication and Health by Fiocruz. In 2002, she founded the NGO Escola de Gente – Communication for Inclusion, which has already touched about 400 thousand people in 17 countries for the cause of inclusion of people with disabilities through actions in education, culture, inclusion and youth.

"Stickers" is a translation for the term “figurinhas” in Brazilian Portuguese, which refers to the stickers that are collected and swaped in order to complete a “sticker album”.
 
©Rodrigo Mendes Institute. Creative Commons License BY-NC-ND 2.5. The copying, distribution and transmission of this work are free, under the following conditions: You must credit the work as authored by Claudia Werneck and licensed by Rodrigo Mendes Institute; the use for commercial purposes is forbidden; the change, transformation or building upon this work is forbidden, except with express permission of the licensor.

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