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27 January, 2013

VCUQatar Students to participate in Message of HOPE events

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar students are set to participate in the Message of HOPE events scheduled for early February in Doha.

Apart from attending special sessions of the event, the students are also joining hands with the organizers to plan, execute and promote the event.

HOPE Qatar center for children with special needs has been organizing the Message of HOPE series of events since 2010 with the objective of creating awareness in society about the abilities of persons with special needs. This widely acclaimed annual event has made huge impact in creating awareness and motivating thousands of people including children, youth and adults, over the recent years.

While the 2010 edition of the event featured Sujeet Desai - an internationally acclaimed youth ambassador for disabilities who has down’s syndrome - who led workshops and joined in a performance with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra; the 2011 edition featured Nick Vujicic - the globally renowned motivational speaker who does not have either hands or legs - addressing thousands of youth at Qatar Foundation’s Education City and hundreds of corporate leaders at another ceremony.

The 2012-13 edition of the series will feature a team of five handicapped artists from the mouth and foot painting artists organization who create masterpieces in art by using their feet or mouth since they do not have hands or have lost the use of their hands. The artists are Ganesh Kumar (mouth artist), Manoj Bhingare (foot artist); Manji Lal Ramani (foot artist); Swapna Augustine (foot artist) and M. V. Ravindran (mouth artist).

VCUQatar students benefit from two special sessions of this year’s Message of HOPE events which will be held at the university and the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center Gallery. In the first session on 6 February, VCUQatar students from the advanced and intermediate Painting and Printmaking classes will interact with the artists in a session aimed at providing them the opportunity to understand various techniques from the artists, which can be adapted to their own works. The artists will do some live work while students also attempt to create paintings without the use of their hands.

During the Live Painting workshop at the Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center on 7 February, the artists will demonstrate live painting without the use of hands as students from Education City join them to create paintings, also without using their hands.  

Student work from these sessions will be showcased alongside the artists’ creations which will be exhibited at the HBKU Student Center Gallery from 3 to 14 February. The exhibition is being curated by the HBKU Student Center Gallery Committee and is open to the public.

HOPE Qatar center for children with special needs, the organizers of the Message of HOPE events, have also lined up various workshops for different groups of people including students, youth and general public. There will also be an All Qatar Painting competition for students who will create work of arts without using their hands. The key message of the event is that if given the right opportunities at the right time, children with special needs can become successful in life. No disability or challenge should prevent anyone from being successful – no matter whether it is at school, college, work, or in life.

“The students at VCUQatar are excited about the Message of HOPE program and looking forward to interact with and learn from the artists who have faced tremendous challenges in life to overcome their difficulties” said Valerie Jeremijenko assistant dean of Student Affairs at VCUQatar. “We have been inspired by the Messengers of HOPE in the past and we look forward to having some of them visit us and interact closely with our students this year, and we are sure that this will be a source of great inspiration to our students and staff as well.” she added.

More information about the event can be obtained from or from

Manji Lal Ramani (foot artist) participating in this year’s Message of HOPE event

M. V. Ravindran (mouth artist) participating in this year’s Message of HOPE event

Ganesh Kumar (mouth artist) participating in this year’s Message of HOPE event

Manoj Bhingare (foot artist) participating in this year’s Message of HOPE event

Swapna Augustine (foot artist) participating in this year’s Message of HOPE event