This profile was prepared when Gina Badenoch was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
Through Sight of Emotion, Gina is breaking down the psychological barriers that prevent blind and visually impaired people from achieving full integration into Mexican society. Her approach is changing the expectations of both blind and sighted people regarding what each is capable of accomplishing. As a photographer, Gina is especially interested in using the arts as tools for social change, although Sight of Emotion has grown to encompass a broader range of initiatives. Through comprehensive workshops, events, and professional support services, Gina and her team convince the blind that they can lead independent, fulfilling lives, while introducing sighted people to the many abilities and talents of the blind. Beyond simply finding jobs for the blind or building sighted people’s empathy towards them, Gina’s work prompts each group to rethink their assumptions and expectations of people with disabilities. Gina aims to not only integrate the blind into Mexican society but to change both blind and sighted people’s ability to believe in the blinds’ potential for success. Gina has held successful photographic workshops and exhibitions featuring blind photographers’ work in London and plans to replicate the Sight of Emotion model nationally and internationally through networks of associations for the blind. Her strategy to dismantle psychological barriers may be applied to many other disability groups.