Unseen & Unspoken

To commemorate World Braille Day, the Commonwealth Youth Council launches “Unseen & Unspoken.” This is a segment of creative expression of the #iamABLE campaign through the art of poetry. The theme of the competition is “My disability does not define me.” The theme can be interpreted many ways – writers could focus on achievements and talents they have in spite of a disability, or positive traits they have or have developed as a result of their disability. The objective of the competition is to raise awareness of the experience and lives of young people with disabilities which are often unseen and not spoken of. Note that the CYC is taking a broad definition of disabilities to include visible and invisible disabilities such as autism and dyslexia.


Below are the guidelines for the poetry competition:

Who can apply?

  • Aged 15 – 29 years old
  • National of Commonwealth country
  • Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
  • One poem per person
  • Team submissions are permissible but restricted to teams of 3.


  • 15 – 17 years old
  • 18+ years old


  • Poem must include a title and must not exceed 30 lines in length (not including the title)
  • Poems cannot exceed/cannot be longer than 400 words
  • Entries must be based on the theme
  • Poems must be the original work of the applicant.
  • Entries must not have been published, published on a website or featured in as a winner in another competition before the 31st May 2017.
  • Entries must be written in English
  • Handwritten entries will not be accepted.

Guidelines for submission

  • For the hearing-impaired: Submissions can be made in written form or sign language that is video recorded. If submission is by video recording in sign language, then it must be accompanied by an interpreter (who does not count as a team member) doing a voice-over. Alternatively the video must have subtitles.
  • For the visually-impaired: Submissions can be made in braille level 2 (English) or audio and video recordings of the reading of the poetry.
  • All entries will be judged anonymously so the following information must be provided with submission email: Name of Author(s), Date of birth, Citizenship and Title of the poem on a separate sheet if posted or emailed.
  • Submission can be made by post to: Commonwealth Youth Council, Commonwealth Secretariat, FAO: Lawrence Muli, Room E101, Youth Division, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5HX
  • Submission can be made by email to: commonwealthyouthcouncilcyc@gmail.com

The deadline for the poetry competition is the 31st May 2017 at 1700 GMT.

For further information, contact: commonwealthyouthcouncilcyc@gmail.com

36 thoughts on “Unseen & Unspoken

  1. Please are people without disabilities allowed to participate… I do have an older person with disability at home. Is it okay to participate


  2. Nigerians are they allowed to participate in this contest.

    pls how will you know your poem have been accepted.
    would there be any feed back
    vie email or phone contact.


      1. Please is it required to make rhymes? I sent a message to you via email, I have not gotten any response all the while.


      2. Sorry to bother you but It is necessary to me to make full grip of what I’m going after if I must go after it indeed. I saw nothing concerning the reward or value of the scholarship, please is there nothing on it?


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  4. Reblogged this on Thoughtendom and commented:
    Hey amazing friends, as an optometrist in the making, i have come across a handful of people with visual impairment and dyslexia and i must say the neglection and tough “daily” experience some talk of is enough to literally make a heart bleed. I remember one who said she had to cry out to a neighbor saying “i’m can’t see but i breath the same way you do” so it is necessary for us through any means possible to create awareness and educate these individuals on how to properly care for one with a disability, encourage these individuals with disabilities to focus more on their strength, encourage those who already know their strengths and won’t let anything stop them and also create opportunities for them in any way we can in order to improve their quality of life. Dear friends, are you a poet? with or without a disability? Do your magic! Because you are able and of course a disability never defines a person. #iamABLE #mydisabilitydoesn’tdefine me

    Liked by 1 person

  5. if am to send through email,am i supposed to first write on paper then i scan and send or i can just compose it as a message through email.


  6. Good day,please are we restricted to writing on a form of disability or we are allowed to write on any form of disability?


  7. hello,….well concerning the 30 lines restriction,when I typed the poem,it was exactly 30 lines but when I tried to email it on my phone,it exceeded it….what can be done please???


  8. hello,….well concerning the 30 lines restriction,when I typed the poem,it was exactly 30 lines but when I tried to email it on my phone,it exceeded it….what can be done please???


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