Sabene Gomes, a Program Officer with CBM, takes us on a journey to remote India, where she meets an inspiring teacher.
On a chilly, windy day in February, I stepped inside CBM’s partner speech and hearing centre in Meghalaya India. This school is almost 45 minutes away from Shillong, a hill station in India’s north eastern corner. This centre is part of the CBM Australia supported RAISE Project, which is working towards enrolment, retention, and mainstreaming of children with disabilities into educational facilities and local government schools. It also aims to improve the quality of education for all children across five states in India’s north east.
Sabene meeting CBM partner staff during her visit to India.
The heart of this project is to see teachers learn inclusive education techniques to provide quality education to children with different learning abilities. This means developing learning materials to help teachers understand different approaches and models which will allow children with disabilities to learn alongside their peers.
And this is where I met one inspiring woman – Joyshree.
Joyshree, a teacher taking part in the disability inclusive training supported by CBM Australia.
Joyshree is one of two nominated teachers taking part in the CBM Australia supported RAISE Project.
I was instantly impressed and inspired by Joyshree’s enthusiasm, motivation and willingness to take part in the project. She was excited to learn about the different approaches she could use to ensure children with disabilities are included in her classroom.
Joyshree was also eager to share these new techniques with her colleagues and her local government. She wanted to ensure these methods were adopted by more teachers, which would mean more inclusive education opportunities for children with disabilities.
But what struck me most was learning that Joyshree herself has speech and hearing impairments, and that she herself was once a student at the centre.
She told me that when she wanted to go to school the centre was the only school that offered education opportunities for children with speech and hearing impairments.
Joyshree told me that her experience at the centre during her education and the lack of services available for children with disabilities is her source of inspiration for becoming a teacher.
Joyshree shares with me that she feels an ‘obligation’ to educate others who may have missed out on educational opportunities solely due to their impairments.
She also says that her end goal for this project is that not only for all children with disabilities to access quality education, but also that all mainstream teachers are equipped with the skills to teach these children in an inclusive setting.
Hearing and seeing Joyshree’s passion and drive to see change happen in her community inspires me, and I hope it inspires you too!