Tuesday, 12 Jan 2021
It’s that time of the year again in Australia – back to school. Last year’s lockdowns saw home schooling become the ‘new normal,’ highlighting a stronger appreciation for our access to education here in Australia.
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 is working with our partners to ensure communities are equipped to provide education safely in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Matti is 14 years old and attends a CBM partner inclusive school in Cameroon. Due to her visual impairment, she found home schooling during Cameroon’s lockdown difficult.
“During the break I missed my friends a lot. I was happy to be home with my siblings; however, they do not know how to read braille, so studying was hard for me because when I had a question they could not quite help me. Here in school, my classmates understand braille and I am able to study together with them and get clarifications when I have a question. In class the teacher explains the lessons very well,” says Matti.
Matti is happy to be back at school and is currently preparing for her secondary school entrance exams. She dreams of learning several languages, like German and English.
Matti’s teacher Mr Rene noted that during the school shut downs, “Some of the parents could not assist, especially the pupils with impairments. For instance, those who use braille. It made it hard for me to follow-up the pupils with additional needs. I am glad that they are back in class and we are preparing for the exams. I can assist them better in the physical classroom setting.”
Teachers like Mr Rene, provide a schoolchild with the skills and support to equip them for the future. Donations from generous CBM supporters can provide training for specialist teachers. By providing a trained specialist teacher, children will be able to attend school, learn essential skills and transform their lives through education.
During a global pandemic, daily school routines look a bit different. Matti’s school has also adopted COVID prevention measures such as the wearing of masks, use of sanitiser and additional cleaning with disinfectants.
CBM’s work in Inclusive Education is based on the principle that all children should be able to attend school and that children with disabilities 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.