Solidarity amongst charities supporting people with disfigurements needed now more than ever
35 charities unite for International Face Equality Week
17th-24th May 2020
This week marks the second International Face Equality Week. Global charities, from Taiwan to South Africa through North and Latin America will join forces to continue campaigning for a better, fairer world for people with facial differences.
Despite the unprecedented times stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, 35 member NGOs of the alliance, Face Equality International, have decided to push forward with a week-long digital campaign. They will highlight the issues and prejudices people with facial differences experience, including health inequalities, online abuse and hate crime.
Campaigners worldwide have come together to provide a source of hope, a sense of community, and assurance that their rights are continuing to be fought for across policy, the media, education, and day-to-day life.
Facial disfigurement, whether congenital or related to trauma or an acquired condition, is a neglected global human rights issue. Members continue to identify amongst the people they work with feelings of low self-esteem in the global ‘look-perfect’ culture, isolation, bullying, staring and questioning in public places, low expectations in school, problems getting work, discrimination in the workplace, abuse on social media and stereotyping in the media. In many countries, disfigurement goes hand in hand with poverty, prejudice, and exclusion.
This year’s campaign will continue to reshape the narrative around what it’s really like to live with a facial difference right now, by telling real-life stories from across the globe and challenging misconceptions. With a series of films, and a social media based ‘Selfie Challenge’, the campaign for Face Equality strives for a world where differences are respected, valued, and celebrated.
Taking a selfie, and in turn, taking a stance by sharing it with the world, can be incredibly empowering for someone with a facial difference. Members want to use this year’s International Week to prove that selfies aren’t about ‘looking perfect’ or fitting in with the crowd.
By encouraging online communities beyond those who have facial differences to take part in the campaign, the alliance wishes to create greater understanding, awareness, and solidarity for the cause. In a globalised world that tells us we should look a certain way, the aim is to prove popular opinion wrong, and show the world that you can be confident, proud, and most of all, equal. No matter what your face looks like.
Members of Face Equality International will use the week-long campaign to run virtual events, online campaigns, workshops and community-driven activities to bring their communities together. Some members will also be publishing new research and gathering evidence to continue to influence policy and decision making to better support people with disfigurements across all aspects of their lives.
The Moebius Syndrome Foundation is delighted to announce that Face Equality Week 2020 will be taking place from May 17-22, with Face Equality Day on Wednesday May 20. We will be participating in the #FaceEquality selfie challenge, and promoting Face Equality week during that time.
James Partridge, founder and Director of Face Equality International, says:
“International Face Equality Week this year will be marked with many people around the world in lockdown, physically separated from their friends and loved ones. Our intention throughout the Week will be to make common cause with everyone as we endure this awful pandemic — those with facial differences and those without. All human faces should carry equal value and we hope that this Week will help to instil this ‘new’ face value as part of the new normal as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Dina Scalone, Executive Director of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation says:
“The Moebius Syndrome Foundation is proud to participate in Face Equality Week 2020. We hope that this campaign will inspire individuals, business, communities and our media to remove barriers and discriminatory practices that impact people with facial differences. Let’s celebrate our difference and end discrimination and exclusion.”
Steven Maldonado, Moebius Syndrome Foundation Board of Directors says:
“This year’s International Face Equality Week will be observed during extraordinary times. Many individuals with a facial difference, including myself, can attest to trials and tribulations in our life, but many of us also know that positive attitudes and rising to the challenge can help a troubling situation. Thus, let our two groups – individuals with and without facial differences – learn from each other and rise to another challenge as we navigate these times together.”
Notes to editors
Please contact Dina Scalone, Executive Director of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation with any media questions. Dina@moebiussyndrome.org or
+1-844-663-2487 x. 704
Remote interviews can be arranged with Dr Partridge and other spokespeople. Case studies and interviews available upon request.
For more detail on Face Equality International, please see https://faceequalityinternational.org
Support the campaign across social media by following @FaceEqualityInt
About Face Equality International
The mission of Face Equality International (FEI) is to mobilise the many groups and organisations, big and small, national and international, which support and represent people with facial differences and disfigurements and thereby to create the critical mass and solidarity needed to gain global attention for the campaign for face equality. The alliance acts as a powerful, collective voice for those affected by facial difference.
Face Equality International was created by James Partridge, founder of Changing Faces, with the support of nine founding members. The alliance was launched in November 2018 and now has thirty world-wide members.
Most member NGOs are condition-specific (ie: for people with clefts, burns, cranio-facial conditions, psoriasis and other conditions) and their members have very different medical and surgical needs and treatments. But their members also face very similar psychological, cultural and social barriers to living fulfilling lives.
Face Equality International advocates for people who have any condition which can affect their face – such as those which affect faces only like cleft lips and palates or facial paralysis and those affect faces and bodies like burns, vitiligo and alopecia.
FEI has member organisations in the following countries:
- Czech Republic
- South Africa
- The Netherlands
- The UK
- The USA