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Happy Hand, games without barriers

Interview with Lorenzo Sani, president of the Bologna association that puts everyone on the same level: through sport, art and, above all, the smile

By Giulietta Riva

Acrimònia has always believed that when something good happens, we need to talk about it. We met Lorenzo Sani, president of Happy Hand, by chance. A series of linked events led us to get in touch and faced with the story of his initiative that celebrates inclusive activities, we thought that, being something very beautiful, talking about it became indispensable. We are in San Lazzaro di Savena, province of Bologna: between a bar and another, in perfect Emilian spirit, the conversation begins. 

Lorenzo, tell us how Happy Hand was born.

In 2009 with a group of friends we founded the WTKG association, an acronym for Willy The King Group. Willy is a very dear friend who, because of an angioma to the marrow,  lost first the use of the legs, then the arms. He had older parents, and their concern was, "What’s going to happen to Willy?" We decided to give him a hand. This initiative meant being there. From WTKG was born Happy Hand, an event for all, an opportunity to meet people with disabilities and not. Knowledge is the basis of everything, only in this way will prejudice be broken down. 

What is your role in the project?

I am the president of the association since the first year of its foundation. But this means nothing, we are all for one and one for all...

After two years of pandemic, what are the difficulties in getting an event of this caliber back on its feet?

The very tight time. Only recently we got confirmation from the municipality. Two years without sociability was a low blow, the ok of San Lazzaro was a liberation.

What does it mean for you to work with and for the disabled? 

It was a fascinating discovery. We entered a mine of unexplored talent, talent that was under everyone’s eyes, but no one had ever had proof of it. Never trust the unique thought, you have to try to go further.

What is the most beautiful aspect of what he does?

The smile of people.

And the means by which he gets it?

Sport. It is a fundamental guide for the resurgence from trauma. Often the people involved in the project are victims of road accidents, remain traumatized and have not suffered the courage to get out of the shell. Sport imposes goals on you and in the concept of resurfacing goals is fundamental. 

Tell us about the parallel projects: the photographic exhibitions, the collaborations with cartoonists and the opportunities to grow Happy Hand.

We must understand Happy Hand, which this year will take place Saturday 11 and Sunday, June 12 in San Lazzaro di Savena, as a fair of which are part sport, music and the art of Happy Art, the creative space coordinated by a former basketball champion and cartoon enthusiast like Nino Pellacani. Let us try to widen our scope as much as possible.

What is Happy Hand’s goal?

Do the next edition (laughter ed.). Then, try to make the heroes next door protagonists. We don’t care about the character, trivially because the character doesn’t need us.

What about the message you want to send?

Everyone is part of Happy Hand and Happy Hand is part of everyone. 

How much time does an adventure like this take?

I don’t know, it’s not work for me, it’s passion. We’re a great team and Happy Hand is our constant thought.

What did you do in your first life?

I was a journalist, correspondent of the "National Newspaper". First sport, then culture, music...

Show us a small thing, a gesture, an action, a word, that each of us can put into practice in everyday life to combat exclusion.

It is essential to always put the term "person" first in the definition of disabled people. Attention to detail is essential. Some time ago we organized a basketball game where all the players' jerseys had on the back the number "1". The disabled person is not disabled in its entirety. Disability is a component that can be overcome.

What does it mean for you to win?

It means doing everything you have the ability to accomplish something. When you’ve done everything you thought was worthwhile to do, whether you win or lose, what matters is what preceded the end result. 

Do you consider Happy Hand your biggest win?

No, Happy Hand is simply happiness.

Final note: participation in the edition of Happy Hand 2022 is free and free: anyone can join.

All information can be found here: https://happyhand.it/.

 

IMAGES: Gabriele Fiolo