TOKYO-2016 Editorial / Personality

Letizia – A Story of Unseen Lives

  • Prize
    Gold in Editorial/Personality
  • Photographer
    Danilo Garcia Di Meo

Letizia was born 32 years ago in Lecce. Lacking of oxygen during childbirth caused. cerebral palsy. She has a spastic quadriplegia. When she was 5, she moved with her parents to Monterotondo, near Rome, to get more cutting-edge treatments. As she attends high school, she develops a passion for computer. “I took a degree as a tourist technician”, she says, “I had nice friends at school, my school-mates were so close to me and helped me a lot”. She needs the wheelchair, she cannot speak and has no control of her body. What she controls best is the head, with which she activates sensors. “It wasn’t always easy to communicate, especially with those who did not understand my language, that is made of looks and nods of the head. Many gave up trying to understand me.” Eventually she comes to the Socio-Educational Daily Centre for disabled people of the territory, where she currently works in the Social Secretary. “Me and my colleagues are a nice team, where everybody respects everyone else’s times”. Letizia wants her story to be an inspiration and food for thought: “The ETRAN is now being used to help those who cannot speak like me. It is a board which widens communication potential through eye movement.” Up to that moment, one could only guess what she meant, interpreting her looks. But now, Letizia can speak her mind. The quality of her life is constantly evolving. Disabled people are often identified with their own disability. Letizia exposes this social blindness. She is a young woman living her life, doing everything that she possibly can and, sometimes, even more.

Danilo Garcia Di Meo is an italian documentary photographer. He was born in Rome, after graduating from Arts High School and Academy of Fine Arts. After his studies, he started a freelance profession in full. Currently working with several NGO, press agency and associations for the realization of reports, especially in the social issues; as a teacher for social photography workshops and seminars.