Education is a human right
Receiving an education is one of the primary ways people living in poor communities can break out of the poverty cycle. If children get an education, the benefits are lifelong with the potential to impact future generations.
CBM’s work in inclusive education is based on the principle that all children should be able to attend school and that children should not be excluded from this human right.
Our work aims to equip mainstream educational institutions to be accessible in all areas for students with disabilities.
The daily challenge of receiving an education
There are immense daily obstacles for a child with disabilities living in poverty to receive an education. We’ve found that every child has a unique story but there are common themes that can be addressed to help make a real, lasting difference. These are:
- Access to rehabilitation therapy and, for example, mobility or vision aids to assist readiness for school.
- The challenges of getting to school on time and on their own without the help of primary carers.
- Access to the classroom because the school doesn’t have a ramp or space for wheelchair access.
- Communication challenges in class, for example, teachers unable to use sign language or provide Braille teaching.
- Access to toilets as schools in poor communities are not typically designed to accommodate the needs of children with disabilities.
In the face of all these obstacles, many children with disabilities are left out of the education system with lifelong consequences.
What we do to help
At CBM, we want every child with disabilities to benefit from inclusive education. To achieve sustainable outcomes, we have found the following areas of focus to have the biggest impact in bringing about the required change.
Our broader community development work brings a key advantage in enabling early intervention so that children with disabilities can access therapy and assistive devices and are ready for mainstream school. For example, CBM supports the development of self-help groups of people with disabilities where access to education is a key concern.
We have developed education initiatives that promote inclusion within specific government schools. Such work ensures that community processes are in place to enable children with disabilities to be identified and have their learning needs met.
We support the training of teachers in inclusive education, responding to the reality that children with disabilities are amongst the poorest in their community with limited access to education and health services. We also encourage home-based education for children with severe mobility or intellectual impairments.
Many schools are not accessible for children with disabilities — either because there are no ramps or space for wheelchair users, and no accessible toilets and wash-rooms. We advise on inclusive facilities that enable children with disabilities to be able to participate fully in school life.
We influence governments to adopt policies and systems to ensure more inclusive education programs. We advocate for greater investment in teacher training, accessible infrastructure, and attitude and awareness programs so that more children with disabilities are able to attend a local school or school of their choice.
Together, all these programs and approaches will ensure that everyone benefits from inclusive education and that the world of children who have little hope can be transformed for the better.