Twenty-seven-year-old Sabela Kedir is not a typical model. She is talented in more ways than one. In addition to being a model, she is an actor, director, and scriptwriter.
Kedir was born with a disability, but she doesn’t let that limit her dreams.
“There are many people who complain every day yet they have normal bodies. The rich grumble, the poor grumble, but I’m free from that. I’m so unique in this world and beautiful. I have a lot to do for this world. So I don’t care and worry about my disability status,” she said.
Kedir stars in the Amharic language film “Eslogn,” and has directed her own short film called “Comprehension.” She has also organized fashion shows to help raise awareness for people with disabilities in Ethiopia.
With clothes by designers such as Tigest Demesse, Kedir can find the right outfits for every occasion.
“When creating a pattern for her Sabela, I wanted to put in an artificial shoulder extension for her, because she has no shoulder on one side. But Sabela refused and said she is very happy with a design that will show her body as it is, and did not want to change her appearance,” said Demesse.
Kedir wore this outfit in Ethiopia’s first fashion show made up entirely of models with disabilities. The project was set up by the Ethiopia Fashion Designers Association. It showcased bespoke or custom-made clothes for people with disabilities.
Fifteen designers partook in the show that was funded by US embassy in Ethiopia.
Each garment is specially made to suit the wearer’s special needs.
“We are now designing suitable dresses for persons with disabilities. Before there was no designed outfits dresses for people with disabilities, so most of the time they had problems with dressing,” says designer, Tsedey Kebede.
On average an outfit by Demesse costs between $100 and $150. That is more than most Ethiopians can afford.
Kedir said she can only afford the clothes on her acting salary. However, most disabled people who do not have jobs cannot.
Still, a show like this is a step in the right direction to removing the stigma of disabilities in Ethiopia.