Just a few weeks have passed since the dancing and singing ended at Latvia’s most beautiful celebration – the Song and Festival Celebration. Each subsequent celebration is more colourful, vivid and resonant.

© The Latvian Society for the Blind, 2018

A few years ago, it would have been unimaginable that visually impaired people would participate in this event. Now we can be genuinely be truly proud that the world has become much more accessible to such people and not just physically. We are finally becoming more empathetic and understanding, and are starting to accept people with special needs and learning to truly admire their courage.
Among the participants in this year’s Song and Dance Celebration Parade were the members of the youth choir “Nāc līdzās!” and the Strazdumuiža Amateur Theatre with their visually and mobility impaired companions. Whereas only a few singers from the Strazdumuiža Boarding School were part of the previous Song Festival Choir, this time their number was significantly bigger.

Nāc līdzās!

The TEODORS service dog association was extremely proud of Andris Ošāns and our guide dog Feja, who participated in the whole Song Festival Parade. Andris is an active member of the Strazdumuiža Amateur Theatre and is one of the true souls of this theatre.


In being brave enough to take part in the parade, Andris proved that although he is blind, he wants to enjoy the company of other people and can feel both excitement and joy. We were delighted by our guide dog Feja, who was not perturbed by either the noise or large crowds, and safely guided his master along the streets of Rīga. A dog cannot be trained to cope with a situation like this in advance, because the Song Festival Parade is something extraordinary.
We hope that in future an increasing number of visually impaired people and other people with special needs will be able to take in various events, be able to integrate, and that public objections will disappear and similar to other free countries, we will respect people with special needs.


Ligita Damberga
Riga, July 2018

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