Tijara model management is the first agency in Croatia which promotes work with children with developmental disabilities by including them into its programmes and activities. The agency aims at enabling social inclusion of children with disabilities by involving them into work with other agency models, developing their creativity through fashion and fun, drawing and other creative and handiwork activities like creating fashion creations and learning how to walk like a runway model. Such conscientious activity is primarily intended to raise general awareness and bring a better understanding of persons with developmental disabilities and their needs as well as to enable their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. It is important to note that the main intention is not to teach children with special needs to adorn themselves and dress luxuriantly; the main intention for them is to learn the basic principles of personal hygiene and to acquire the sense of individual freedom of choice instead.
The first occasion in which this idea of introducing children with developmental disabilities into the world of fashion took place was back in 2006 as a joint effort of Tijara and the Pula School for Children with Developmental Disabilities. Since then, this cooperation has never ceased to be. We Are All Equal (“Svi smo mi jednaki”) humanitarian fashion show, held for the first time on 2nd of April, 2009 in Army House in Pula, was devised with the intention for the children with special needs to socialize and interact with other participants in the event. The aim of the project was to bring together into close cooperation children with disabilities and other deprived social groups with Tijara models. The general idea and motivating spirit behind it all was to provide an opportunity for those kids to experience live stage performance in front of a larger audience as well as to make them feel as “the most important persons on the whole world”.
These children were given the opportunity to present and give voice to their qualities, their interests and ambitions according to the general fact that, no matter the differences, we are all equally eager to see our dreams come true. Since 2009 Tijara has been connecting students of the Pula School for Children with Developmental Disabilities with Pula Children’s Home, Centre for Social Inclusion and Community Support and the Rehabilitation Centre. All the aforementioned are institutions with vast experience in successful social inclusion of their wards and students. This project has been conceived as a big humanitarian action joined by many local celebrities and persons from local public life.