The Association has
already been in existence for more than 30 years. How time flies!
Despite two failed attempts to found an association of little people in
the 1960s, I never felt discouraged, supported as I was by my spouse
and partner, Paul Hébert, and by some little people including Messrs.
Pierre Therrien and Jean-Paul Landry. We believed in this project and
in 1976 our efforts finally paid off.
At that time, Le
Club du petit monde du Québec (The Club of the Little People of
Quebec), as we used to call ourselves, had as its main activity
recruiting new members and organizing social gatherings to break the
isolation. Through our work in show business, Paul and I would travel
the province from one end to the other. By inquiring in the villages
and towns where we used to work, Paul would often find little people,
who we would then meet. We used to have Christmas dinner and one or two
meetings per year to bring us up to date. We had no meeting place, and
all the members of the administration worked in other jobs; in all we
were twelve to fifteen. During the first ten years, I was the
president. When the government awarded us grants, I left my position to
others who had more time to devote to our projects.
In the 1980s, a
lady, Mrs. M., came in a panic to the head office because she needed
help: her son of short stature was about to have hip surgery. That is
when we realized that we needed to help parents struggling with many
medical and social, as well as humanitarian problems. Between 1987 and
1989, the Club established its first headquarters, acquired a permanent
secretariat, and then became the Association québécoise des personnes
de petite taille (AQPPT).
outlook also changed: its main objective from then on changed to
promote and defend the rights of little people. At that time, a major
struggle was to gain recognition of dwarfism as a real disability.
Although respect for every individual is important because we are human
beings like everyone else, we need to realize we live in a world of
tall people. Therefore, we must find our niche and continually struggle.
Association continued to grow. Today, the AQPPT continues to advance
the cause of those affected by dwarfism. Every social gathering that I
attend, whether it is the Christmas party or the big provincial
gathering during the summer, I am touched to meet those who once were
part of the Association, to see new faces, and to realize our progress.
I take this
opportunity to thank all those who have worked hard for the success of
the Association. This is not always easy because we often walk a
tightrope, yet we all have our hearts set to continue, despite all
sorts of difficulties. Over the years many people have helped make the
Association what it has now become; however, I will not name anyone in
particular because I would be too afraid to forget anyone.
Long live the