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Happy Hand, the better world

The eleventh edition of the event that breaks down the barriers of disability took place in San Lazzaro di Bologna. Two magical days: because everything becomes normal


There is a better world. It is located in San Lazzaro di Bologna, lasts two days, is called Happy Hand. When you enter you are enchanted: inside that world there are no barriers, no obstacles, no differences. 

Handicap, dysfunction, disability, impairment, handicap, retardation, disability are words that do not exist. Happy Hand erases them, resets differences to zero, channels the universe onto a single frequency: the one that leads to the normality of things.

From 26 to 28 May, in a triumph of colours, beautiful faces and beautiful people, the eleventh edition of the event was held, desired, supported and cemented by the Willy The King Group association. An association set up in 2009 when a group of friends decided to do something to help William Boselli, a shop boy from a famous Bologna clothing shop, who was very attached to the world of basketball, and who, at the age of 18, was diagnosed with an angioma in his marrow with an aneurysm that progressively prevented him from using his legs and arms.

From this desire to get together and raise funds to support a friend in difficulty and other solidarity micro-projects, the idea was developed to organise an annual happening to bring together disabled and non-disabled people in an open discussion, thus eliminating distances and differences. For some time, after all, the UN Convention on Disability, also signed by Italy, has shifted the focus from pathology to rights: it is society that creates disability, when it does not create equal opportunities, not physical or mental health.

“The basis of everything is always provocation” explains Lorenzo Sani, for decades a reporter for the Resto del Carlino, one of the founders of the association of which he is president. Hence the fashion show, which this year saw the girls of the Parents Association of Down Children held by the hands of professional or improvised models on the red carpet of the Parco della Resistenza; the free-throw competition between blind and blindfolded basketball champions - for the record, the blind won, as in 2019 -; the Life Frame, a dance show in which boys and girls performed to the notes of Jarabe de Palo, staging a choreography by Roberta Petti; the Pet Carpet Show, the parade of dogs with disabilities that concluded the event to the applause of the public. One of the most touching moments of Happy Hand that was intended to suggest a fundamental reflection: looking at disability without prejudice, just as animals do. 

Not forgetting the magic school, the fencing competition, the colour race, the cartoonists' table and all the other splendid moments of confrontation that took place during the 48-hour event.

“The fundamental fact of Happy Hand,' Sani points out, 'is that it is not, I stress not, an event for the disabled. Happy Hand is a party for everyone where something unexpected always happens.”.

Something unexpected this year was the magic that was created around the gazebo of the Massimo Riva music school, for the first time host of the event. The school's gazebo became the meeting point for all the participants who found themselves playing, singing and dancing in an atmosphere capable of sweeping away differences, distances, prejudices, even different languages, and living for a few hours in a different world. A better world.



Illustrazione di Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios 

Images Gabriele Fiolo