At World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro this week, a group of Peruvian youth with disabilities are set to perform an inspiring musical based on the idea that goals and dreams can become a reality.
Students from “The Joy of the Lord” school in Lima will perform “I can: a dream turned into a musical” as one of 600 artistic presentations to take place July 23-28 during the event's Festival of Youth.
The musical's message is one of strength, faith and optimism, and at the same time is a reminder to those who often give in to the small challenges in their lives, while these handicapped youth fight and overcome much more serious and difficult problems, organizers said.
Students involved in the production have developed sharp listening skills, gestures and other creative expressions to communicate with the audience. For them the musical is a chance to say that with God's help, anything is possible.
“We are very happy to be able to present this show at World Youth Day,” Sister Elizabeth Sanchez, the school's communications director, said. “I think it is a blessing because of everything that it involves, because the effort it has taken. And it is even more of a blessing that the young people can be in Rio.”
Frank Salas, 18, who has needed crutches to walk since he was a toddler yet sings and dances in the musical, said that for him the experience has been “unforgettable,” enabling him “to show what I can do and to express what I feel.”
Andre Zambrano, 16, said, “I surprised myself with what I was able to do. Now I only have two dreams. One is to show that a person with different abilities can do a lot, and the other is a personal dream to meet the Pope and show him also what all people with different abilities can achieve.”
The group Servants of God's Plan, which is directing the musical, will also give a concert of their own during the Festival of Youth on July 23.
For more than 50 years, the “Joy of the Lord” school has provide education, formation and rehabilitation for children and young people who suffer from physical handicaps such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Spina Bifida or are amputees or burn victims.