Artists Use Ceramics To Better Integrate People With Disabilities In Their Communities

August 4, 2017
Jordanian artist Sufian Heilat is seen in this photo with students participating in his ceramics project (Photo courtesy of Sufian Heilat)

AMMAN — A Jordanian artist has conducted a study that seeks to better integrate people with mental disabilities in productive community-based projects.
As part of his master degree thesis, Sufian Heilat, a Jordanian artist, has developed a study on the effectiveness of training programmes, based on ceramic art, to develop vocational skills among students suffering from mental disabilities.
What makes it different from other studies is its focus on trainees’ production of quality ceramic pieces which can be sold, Heilat told The Jordan Times on Sunday.
The process of ceramic production was simplified to suit the abilities of trainees, enabling them to produce quality artworks, Heilat said.
“By being trained to producing something artistically beautiful, students’ self-esteem and confidence were enhanced,” he emphasised.
The training has also improved the students’ behaviours and social interactions at school, Heilat explained.
Their parents were “tremendously grateful” and “delighted” by the programme and urged that similar trainings should continue once the study is finished, he said.
“Those students receive education only until they are 16 years old, which leaves the productivity part missing” Heilat said, adding that those student should be trained vocationally to become involved in productive projects in their communities.
Heilat has also worked at Yarmouk University as a ceramic and pottery painting supervisor since 1998.
At the university, he also trained a blind student to produce pottery artefacts by using moulds.
Student Luai Daraghmeh told The Jordan Times how the opportunity to produce art has a positive effect.
“It was a great chance for me to prove that I am a productive person and I can develop a skill that would enable me to make a living”, Daraghmeh said.
The training is an opportunity to fill time with activities and to generate income for people with disabilities and enhance their independence, the student added.
Heilat called upon the concerned institutions to adopt his training programme to develop the skills of students with mental disabilities and enhance their independence.
He proposed establishing a specialised institution to take responsibility for preparing students with mental disabilities for post-school stage, and enable them to generate their own incomes. 
Jordan Times
August 6, 2017